Texture is an integral part of any room—and as Boston-area designer Sarah Trumbore says, “Every space needs to have a number of different materials to give it movement.”
Integrating various textures can add major intrigue to a monochromatic space. “Living in Rhode Island, we have many requests for coastal design,” designer Nicole Martel explains. “We take a more naturalistic and modern approach and textures play a big role in creating that look. Texture is critical, especially when you are designing with a neutral palette and lack of color.”
Below, designers weigh in on the best ways to incorporate texture into a living room specifically—and the good news is that the options are limitless.
Vary Furniture Finishes
“For a living room space, you need to think of all the pieces that make up the space,” Trumbore explains. “If you have a tufted sofa, you can use lacquer on the side tables.”
So, if you love many different furniture styles, now is your chance to embrace variety. “You don’t want to have everything in one note,” Trumbore adds. “You need tension in materials, that’s what makes it interesting. Every single piece in a room can’t be the star, so it is the mix of the flat materials and textured elements that makes the design successful.”
Dress Your Windows
Don’t ignore your windows when considering ways to add texture to your living space. “These woven wood roman shades by Urban Loft Window Treatments add a layer of warmth and texture which breaks up the flat planes of the walls and ceiling,” Philadelphia designer Larina Kase says of the space above.
Go ahead and treat yourself to some new wall décor. “Art is a great opportunity for texture,” Kase notes. “Wall sculptures and other décor can bring a cozy feeling to any space.”
Mix It Up
Worried about combining natural and man-made finishes? “Don’t be afraid to combine the two,” Minneapolis designer Martha O’Hara says. “Focus on natural finishes like woods with a definite grain, stones with rough texture or natural veining, and metals that incorporate texture such gold leaf, smooth glass, brushed brass, and more.”
Get Plant Happy
Houston designer Meg Lonergan says that incorporating a touch of green is the way to go. "Adding plants and greenery to a space is a very inexpensive way to add warmth and texture,” she explains.
Love boucle, velvet, and sheepskin? Well, you’re in luck. “Fabrics are an easy way to create texture by mixing smooth, wovens, fur, shiny, nubby, colors and patterns, which creates a dynamic and visually interesting space,” Sarah Randolph, a designer based in the Minneapolis suburbs, notes.
Layering rugs can also be a simple solution that makes a major impact, as seen in the space above by designer Stephanie Swander.
“One of the easiest ways to welcome texture into your home is through accent pieces like pillows, throws, artwork, drapes, or even lamps,” Houston designer Laura Umansky notes. There are several benefits to going this route, Umansky adds.
“Because these pieces are smaller, their texture is less likely to become overpowering and more likely to complement the softer elements of a space,” she says. “They’re also easier to switch out from time to time when your mood desires it.” Serial redecorators, you can take a deep breath.
“If you're wanting to add a little interest and texture to a space, consider layering an element such as old dishes, books, feathers, or old book pages,” Courtney Hinton, a designer in Asheville, NC, says. This tactic is excellent for those who love the vintage hunt or are on a tighter budget—such pieces are incredibly easy to source on the cheap.