The rough with the smooth – using textures on your interiors

Posted 5 October 2015 by Richenda Oldham

Mixing different textures can create some surprisingly pleasing and highly effective results. There’s a wealth of materials to experiment with, so why not give it a go? You may be wondering what all the excitement is over texture. And even whether you should be bothered. After all, what is texture?

Everything has a texture, which is to say, a physical composition or structure - even smooth plastics and shiny metal have their own texture.

Great interiors have many elements, from furniture to lighting and accessories. But the one thing that takes them to a different level – and one that professional interior designers know how to maximise really well – is texture.

Using texture to great effect doesn’t have to be complicated. Things that have pattern and movement, or an inviting, tactile finish will all help bring a room alive. This could be something as simple as wooden floorboards, a rattan chair or a velvet embroidered cushion.

The trick is knowing what combinations work and creating the right balance. Texture will help generate a cosy, natural atmosphere and stops a room from being too sterile. But it doesn’t have to mean messy or cluttered. Some of the best really classic interiors combine a feeling of tranquillity with wow factor, by mixing textural elements in a structured and carefully planned way.

Here are some texture ideas to help get you started:


Natural fabrics such as linens, cottons, silks and wools can all be woven with different finishes from flat to open weave and used as curtains, upholstery, cushion covers or even wall-hangings.

Try: quilts, linen bedding, kilim rugs, tapestries, velvet or silk cushions, woven wall-hangings, sheepskin rugs, Merino wool throws.

Flooring and floor coverings

A wooden floor with wide, open grained planks will create a warm feeling, while smooth marble tiles will be cooler. However, when you add a coarsely woven jute rug to the tiles, for example, the dynamics are changed. 

Try: plain ceramic tiles with a geometric patterned wool rug for impact, or a deep pile fitted carpet in a neutral colour for serenity.


The rich patina of antique wood is a perfect way of adding texture to open, plain spaces. A carefully chosen piece of furniture provides a grounding effect and will allow the item’s qualities to really shine.

Try: a worn leather sofa and velvet cushions, modern glass/chrome/brass coffee tables with coarse ceramic accessories.

Architectural elements

Original plaster mouldings if you are lucky enough to own a period house are features to be treasured as they add instant definition and structure to a room.

Try: plants - but not too many - to complement the plasterwork. Custom built bookcases and of course books, will add definition to a featureless room.



1 White Glass Mosaic Bubble candleholders, £37 for a set of three cylinder or ball candleholders,

2  Reversible Midnight Stripe Flat Weave Cotton rug, £34,

3 Handcrafted luxurious Alpaca Fur cushion covers, £140 each,

4 Fun Lovetwo Rattan sofa, £460,

5 Geometric design Woven Wool wallhanging, made to order, 

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