Interior design picks up the cards fashion lays down. Before grey became such a big color for kitchens and bathrooms, it was all over the runways and fashion magazines.

One of the windfalls from the sartorial realm has been the use of textural contrast, diversity, and layering.

This image from Vince demonstrates it perfectly. The sweater itself has three different textures: the dominant weave, the thick bands alternating height and depth along the oversized neck, and a similar motif running in thinner bands along the bottom of the sweater and its wrists. Contrasting the warm organic texture and tone of the beige sweater is a dark leather miniskirt. Completing the look, black leggings, probably a cotton-polyester-spandex blend. The body is layered and draped with contrasts of texture, scale, and color. 

Here's a few more, continuing the theme. Knits and leather are both so textural and their contrast just works.

Clockwise from top left: Barney's, FIGTNYHer New Tribe,  Style Trove

Today, we have our eyes on computer screens and the glassy sheen of smartphones and tablets close to our face. What we’re looking at, by definition, doesn’t have any dimension to it. It’s a flatworld, with blue light blotting out the finer sensitivities of our eye.

The use of texture on our bodies and in our homes calls us back to the world, back to the glories of our senses. Or, as The Stones would put it, it pulls us out of our heads

All of which makes it perfect for the home. 

Interior design is about the spaces you live in. And you are a being possessed of five senses. Textural heterogeneity, elegantly executed, pleases the eye while also offering more to the sense of touch.

In this room, white brick walls, bare wood floors, an area rug, smooth pleather seats, a rough hewn wooden table, floor-length windows with metal beams, and our Fenwater's layers of hooked glass panels all work together to create a room of elegant simplicity. The key to this elegance is the diversity of textures and the quality of the objects chosen. Fenwater's panels are rough, in addition to champagne-hued. This textural detail is apparent to the eye, helping to make the space pop, adding dimension.

In this bedroom, the rich crinkled texture of the blue curtains contrasts with the soft white textures of the bedding, chair, and rug, as well as the hard mirrored surface of the bedside dresser. Our Arietta (available soon) brings it all together, its acrylic outline of a crest and crystal central column bringing the final bit of textural diversity to make the space pop.

Concrete walls, a gorgeous bespoke bed of reclaimed wood, a sturdy coarse rug, inviting smooth bed linens, and, above it all, square metal arms bending out and ending in hard-backed silk conical shades in our Patten make this room a textural tour-de-force. 

Using a diverse mixture of materials and textures in a room creates an immediate perception of depth and dimension to the person walking into a room.

Selecting elements that have some pronounced textural quality is of great service in rooms that are white, beige, or otherwise neutral. Just look at this one from Katie Hodges Design:

Here, color and texture combine in the beautiful textile draped over the end of the chair. When one strong texture is layered atop another, the eye and the mind are engaged. Done artfully, there's a beauty to it.

The carpet's weave and the wood-straw material of the shades make an immediate textural impression on the eye, while the woven piece at the foot of the chair and the diamond-patterned pillow almost ask you to run your hands over them. 

We also love what Sita Montgomery Interiors did with layering rug upon carpet in this gorgeous greige bedroom. Again, textural variety helps make a neutral room anything but boring. Our Travis chandelier hanging down from that magnificent black-beamed cathedral ceiling adds acrylic to the textural diversity of the room. It also pulls its sense of effortless grace, poise, and ease together and up. 


Texture is an important part of what we do here. We love texture and we love contrast.

Clockwise from top left: Blackwell, Dartmouth, Pomfret, Anson 

The glass work of a light fixture is a wonderful opportunity to add an unexpected touch of textural richness and diversity to a space.The ripple of our Blackwell's diffuser, the threaded and woven mirage of our Dartmouth, the supple and blousy ribbing of our Pomfret's sinuous curves, and the vintage glamour of the cut glass on our Anson are all inviting examples. 

Clockwise from top left: Chesterfield, Gaines, PalmdaleBleecker

But glass is only one place where lighting can accentuate texture. Inert textured black iron, visible in the upper left above, contrasts beautifully with a fine metal finish, as it does in our Chesterfield, Roundout, Glendale, and Vestal. Perforated metal contrasts with solid thick bands. The backplate, arms, and candlecup of a sconce all offer another subtle opportunity to inject a space with texture.  


Featured Image: Alpine Ski Condo with our Basking Ridge, from Alister & Paine: The Digital Magainze for 21st Century Executives

Want some extra fun? Go to (the new!) Instagram and do a search on #texture. What are some favorite textural items or tableaux around your home?