Rough with the Smooth

I’ve been working with a lot of highly saturated colours recently so I now feel more than ready to pare down my palette and experiment with less weighty hues.

However, when I use colours which display only subtle contrasts I like to introduce an extra dimension to the room through texture.

Generally speaking, the more light reflected from a surface, the lighter that surface will look, not just in colour but it will appear physically lighter as well. A rough surface which absorbs a lot of light will appear “heavier” than a smooth surface which bounces much of the light back into the room. It is therefore easy to make textural contrasts by placing rough (heavy) surfaces next to smooth (light) surfaces.

rough and smooth textures

Textural contrast definitely adds a new layer to a room and the more layers you include the more interesting the space appears. However, it’s a relatively new concept to mix textures. If you visit a museum of a mansion house you will not see many textural contrasts in the interior but you will see plenty of colour contrasts. Textural contrasts is something that was introduced at a time when monochromatic colour schemes were popular and it became evident that the space require another layer of interest.

The “texture tool” is also great for changing a room’s ambience from a summer to a winter season. Rougher (heavier) textiles can easily be added to create some winter warmth and weight while lighter sheers and silks help to lighten a room for summer.

The recent trend for paler, cooler, less saturated colours looks likely to carry on past the Summer Solstice and through into Winter 2011/12 so make sure you add that third dimension into your interior and start experimenting with texture.