Texture and Pattern Make All the Difference: Interior Decorating Lesson #62

When people start taking the first steps toward designing a space, color always seems to get top billing. As important as color is, the right combination of textures and patterns can pull far more visual interest than color alone.

Texture refers to the surface quality of a material. What we are talking about are specifically visual textures, not tactile textures (though tactile texture is very important too). Every surface has a texture. It can be slick or smooth, rough or bumpy, matted or dull. One’s perception of textures can be greatly affected by the textures of surrounding surfaces. A rough surface looks so much rougher when contrasted with a silky smooth surface. When seen in full light, rough surfaces can be dulled. But when viewed by side light, the irregularities create deeper, more accented textures.

Textures contrasted

Take a look how the bristly texture contrasts with the smooth, wooden chair and floor.


The comforter, shaggy rug, and hardwood floors all reflect light differently, giving a lot of visual contrast to this space.


Check out how this flat woven ikat rug works with the button leather couch.


Patterns can be combined to create a whole new look too. In the same way that colors and textures can contrast, compliment, and blend, patterns can accentuate décor in a home. A pattern in this context refers to a repeated graphic motif on a material or surface. Patterns can be implemented into a room through wallcovers, tiles, furniture upholstery, carpeting, and rugs.


Here we see a number of different pattern designs and scales. When combining patterns, you should incorporate scale variety. Do not let all the patterns to be the same size. The rug can have a large scale while the pillows and upholstery have smaller scales.


Geometric patterns can be mixed with floral and natural motifs, creating a contrast between fluidity and form.

Pushing the boundaries between textures and patterns has been a technique used by the interior designers on the cutting edge of style. Blending small scale patterns with larger scale patterns, a room can be given new depth and interest.  Pin your favorite image above to share this lesson with others!

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