Thursday, September 29, 2011

Layering Texture: A Design Primer

Texture refers to the tactile or visual character of an object or surface. In reference to texture, we use adjectives like soft, hard, smooth, rough, sleek, scratchy... And because the brain is a mega-library of catalogued information and past experiences, even just the visual perception of texture can clue us in about:

a) How the surface will physically feel, even before we touch it

b) Our emotional response to a surface and how we might feel and interact within a space

Some universal truths about the way we interpret texture are as follows: smooth surfaces immediately seem cold (even though we’ve all heard of radiant floor heating, right?), and sleek, shiny, reflective surfaces tend to appear in modern or formal settings more often than not. In comparison, rough surfaces seem warm and approachable, and natural materials are favored in traditional or casual settings.

But what about the home-owners who like a little shine, a little sleek, a little gloss? Does that mean they have to forego “warm and inviting” altogether? My lands, no! The fast track to beautiful, balanced design is simply awareness of texture and choosing to layer, layer, layer! Mix it up! Beautiful things can happen with a little juxtaposition.




And we know you’re loyal to that shiny silk fabric, but what if you paired it with a rougher fabric in the same color? And don’t be afraid to pull in pattern. Pattern heavily contributes to the perception of texture, so that even in a monochromatic room, you can keep things interesting. Here are some fabric groupings pulled from the showroom, revealing that layering textures creates dynamic design.









So layer up, and bring your ideas to the surface!





















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