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If These Walls Could Talk

Decorating with Texture

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03/01/2011 - We usually think of choosing colors and patterns to create a theme when decorating a room. Using texture as the key component instead creates a subtle and elegant effect.

To let texture be the dominant element in your decor, you must choose a monochromatic (single color) or subdued neutral-toned color palette. Although texture is an element in any decorating theme, its subtlety can be lost in a complex mix of colors. When color is minimized, pattern and texture are more easily observed.

A textural decorating theme works by using contrasts. Hot and cold, hard and soft, smooth and raised,--- when these are placed side by side, the difference between them comes pleasantly into focus. Try using stone and fur, suede and silk, rough plaster and polished metal.

Textiles are a natural source of varied textures. Trappunto and stuffed-work quilting techniques depend totally on texture to create their designs. Other textiles like matelasse', jacquards, velvet, and tone on tone embroidery also work with texture alone. A velvet or fur throw with a pile of cushions in contrastingly textured fabrics of similar color tones, adds an instantly sensuous aesthetic to a room.

Upholstered furniture with button tufting, pleats, cording, and other tailoring details, make a smooth leather or linen into a textural focal point. Likewise, turned or carved elements in a subtly grained or painted wood furniture add a wealth of textural interest.

Light within a texturally themed room is quite important. First of all, the light itself is a decorative element. It forms pools, reflections, and shadows. It also brings out the textures of the other elements in the room--- especially when used in a strongly directional way. Window light, filtered through lace or patterned sheer treatments projects subtle patterns onto the walls and floor. Artificial light brings out the textural patterns of the glass or fabric shades it passes through. Mirrors or shiny metal or glass objects work to multiply the effect of these light patterns.

Embossed paper or metal designs and silhouette art like Japanese cut paper designs, are perfect artwork within a texture themed room. Painted tin ceilings, sculptured carpeting, and single toned tile laid in an interesting pattern are also texturally decorative elements.

A textural theme works within any decorating style--- modern, classic, ethnic, traditional, or high-tech. The keys are to simplify color and place varied and contrastingly textured elements side by side.

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