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The importance of texture in design

I'm a perfectionist, always have been. But I'm also a great believer in instinct. That's why I'm all about teamwork when it comes to working with a client. A few months ago, a client came to me and told me she didn't like her living room and wanted a new one. I asked her what she wanted, she grimaced and said she didn't know anything about interior design or architecture and would prefer to 'leave it to the experts'.

This isn't what I'm about. She thought she lacked vision, she didn't. She lacked confidence. So by working together, we created an amazing living space. We opened up the odd shaped walls and quirky corners by swapping dark colours for light, and picking pieces that worked with the room, instead of trying to make the room work with pieces that simply didn't fit (like the wrong size shoes).

Except, there was something missing. Everything looked right, everything fit. You know how sometimes you can just look at a room and know that something is missing? All the components of a complete design were there – colour scheme, furniture, and accessories. My client was thrilled, but to me, it was missing a key component, one which we all to often forget about when 'doing up' our homes. And that is texture.

For some reason, texture seems to always to be an afterthought when it comes to interiors and we’re here to change that. Our reasoning: Texture is the thing that makes a room pop. It makes the perfect room real, and gives it that essential tactility that makes you want to be in it. Live in it, as in my client's case.

Texture is a must in all designs, and this season textures are abundant, so it's a great time to experiment, from 3D art to well worn, well-loved wood. To give you some inspiration (but only if you need it!) below are a few of the latest trends to make it onto my own mood boards…

Intricate decor

The key word here is ‘elaborate’ and bold. Elaborate ornamentation is featured in ceiling patterns, silk rope braids, lace-effect incisions, and upside-down urban landscapes. Urban cityscapes inspire intricate pinnacles and tridimensional lace-like structures, as in McNabb & Co.'s Metro wooden collection, as seen here. And could you ever imagine a tyre looking beautiful? Hot tip now, perhaps!

Wooden Cityscape

Wooden cityscape sculpture by McNabb & Co.

Rich, touchable veneers

Inspired by the 1970s, rich brown hues are used in tone-on-tone layering’s. Beautiful mahogany, walnut and ebony wood grains are either real or reproduced with lacquers and hydrographic transfer.

Retro steel and veneer chair

Danish Tulip Wooden Chair from Wharfside

Mixing cultures

I love this trend especially, as it brings so many interesting textures to life, and in the same room they can look wonderful. Ceremonial masks, traditional African patterns, and classic motifs are decontextualized to blend into a fresh and futuristic approach to design.

Zebra patch pouffe

Handmade zebra patch pouffe by From Africa

Decorative Spanish Tiles from Alhambra Home & Garden

Decorative Spanish Tiles, Alhambra Home & Garden


From art to furniture, optical illusion rugs, wallpapers and various other surfaces are getting the 3D treatment. If love to experiment with texture, this trend will fascinate you as much as it does me!

3D White Photo Frame from IN-SPACES

3D White Photo Frame from IN-SPACES


Nature inspires once again with its rich array of tactile, textural pieces than from Mother Nature herself? We’re not suggesting you relocate your lawn to your living room (although that is an interesting proposition) but look to grass-like rugs, faux fur throws, textured wallpaper, faux bamboo paneling.

Genoa Cream Fur Throw from Sweetpea & Willow

Genoa Cream Fur Throw, Sweetpea & Willow

Sea Grass Wallpaper Scroll from Digitex Home

Sea Grass Wallpaper Scroll from Digitex Home

There are no rules… OK, perhaps two. First, you’ve to like it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if you don’t think ‘ahh’, then it’s not going to work. The second rule is similar to the first; you have to have the overwhelming urge to ’feel it', in every sense of the phrase. Your perfect space should be a place that you want to reach out and touch and not just stand back and admire.

Categories: Hints and Tips