Texture affects color schemes

Textures can radically alter the choices you make with color schemes. You need to see your rooms in different lighting conditions so you can appreciate the possible effects.

A room viewed in morning sunlight can appear drastically different when lit at night by a couple of table lamps. There are different finishes you can use on walls; paint, wallpaper, brick, plaster, an infinite variety of wood finishes, cork, etc. etc.

Floors can be of wood, marble, rush matting, deep pile carpet, rugs. Even confining yourself to fabrics give a choice of linen, cotton, twill, tweed, leather, velvet, moire, silk.

All these different materials have their own look and feel, and because they all reflect light differently, they have a subtle effect on color. A wall painted red will look completely different if a similar red colored wallpaper is applied.


Put it all together

Putting these different finishes together is a matter of taste and judgment.


texture room with marble floor

The colors in this modern room are very soft and muted.

Much of the effect is achieved by the use of different surface finishes. The marble floor, fabric and rug, wall and stone fireplace all provide interest.

Different materials reflect light in different ways. The soft, natural fabrics on the sofas and the positioning of the rug counteract the reflective qualities of the marble floor. The glass table brings a limited amount of this shiny texture back into the seating area.

Find out more about home lighting

Generally speaking, if you were choosing a fabric to go near a brick wall, you would probably find a cotton or linen better than a velvet or silk.

Although smoother than brick, cotton or linen are like a toned down version of brick, whereas a very smooth silk could appear too 'grand' for such a situation. (That's not to say you couldn't use silk - for every guideline there is always a situation where you can successfully ignore it.)

In the same way that you can use small areas of strong accented color in a room to create interest, you can use areas of contrasting finishes. Examples are sisal matting on a smooth wood floor, or an occasional chair upholstered in a quilted plain fabric.

By the way, would you like to know how to do your own plastering for your walls? (opens in new window). This web site is full of helpful and practical information on all aspects of plastering, and is well worth a visit.

blue colors and textures

Plain walls, simple fabric, venetian shades, polished floor and rug combine to give a restful effect.

As with colors, you can contrast different surfaces to good effect, as here the rug contrasts with the polished floor.

Don't confuse texture with other features of materials. We automatically accept that certain materials have their own reflective qualities. For example, marble is normally quite reflective, and a marble topped table can be used in many situations.

But because marble is heavy, it normally looks best when placed alongside more substantial pieces of furniture. A heavy marble table may look out of place next to a delicate Bergere suite.

Click here to learn about proportions, another important subject in home decorating.


Think about textures from the start

texture decorating samples

Don't wait until you've decided on your complete decorating scheme before wondering if everything will go together.

Get samples of all the different items together, such as wood, fabrics, paint, wallpaper, carpets and so on.

Placing your samples next to one another will give you a good idea of how well they will blend.

It's much better to have second thoughts during the planning stage than when your scheme is completed!

Use the planning stage to make sure all your textures compliment one another.




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