Consider the texture, not just the colour

In light of the contemporary look of today, I feel it is important to talk a bit about texture. Design used to incorporate loads of texture and layering, yard upon yard.

Patterned wallpaper with even more pattern on windows, bed linens and often carpet made for a vibrant room.

Now, we scarcely know how to hang a picture on a patterned wall. Even the most carefully designed homes often end up sterile, neutral cubes of perfection and I think it may be time to shake all of that up a bit.

There is no doubt that colour blocking and solid fabrics are in, big time. It is rare to find a whimsical pattern on furniture or even in bed linens and pre-made drapery.

The world of design is one huge block of colour, so let it be. Even if you are designing with solid chunks of colour it is important to layer texture and a variety of materials in a room to avoid the finished product being bland and flat.

The popularity of leather furniture has driven our interiors to a very neutral place. Because leather is a long term investment it is rare to choose this product in a hot, vibrant colour.

Instead we default to black, brown, tan and sometimes white.

Furniture is a big part of the decor and we are already starting from a very safe platform but I have seen miraculous things come from even the most colourless interiors.

Texture is key, especially when working with a monochromatic design theme.

If we are starting with hardwood floors (brown or grey) and leather furniture (brown, black, grey or white) and flat painted walls (i.e. no wallpaper or paint faux finishes), 80% of that room is already designed in flat, hard surfaces.

Bringing additional texture, even if it’s in the same colour is very important.

Make sure when you are purchasing accessories that you are considering the texture and not just the colour. Items such as drapery and area rugs are important elements for sound absorption and general acoustic properties of the room so choosing those items that have multi-level surfaces or raised patterns (such as corduroy) will enhance the design and round out the room.

Carefully consider your art work and accessories and try to juxtapose shape and texture as well. More than likely your room is square or rectangular and your furniture, fireplace and area rug all follow suit.

Opt for circular, oval or paisley shapes when purchasing mirrors or artwork.

Embellished framework on mirrors and paintings may add that necessary curve rather than choosing a smooth and flat perimeter. You can also add rounded shades to a square lamp for a controversial and fresh look.

Consider all shapes when designing a room and try to add circles, ovals and triangles to your square-filled rooms.

Also, make sure these shapes are mix and match, varying from hard and shiny to soft and velvety. I have combinations of shiny steel candleholders and wicker and leather chachkis all which work to vary the texture and feel in my home.

Layering textures and shapes will add interest and fun to even the most square interiors.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.