Adding texture and life to your home - a few easy ideas
I've talked recently about how I've been reassessing our home and making some refreshments to it now we've been living here about three years. Wandering around our home and making notes on the aspects I wanted to improve, and seeking out inspiration from other people's homes on Instagram and Pinterest started me thinking about the importance of creating texture in the home, both for its aesthetic and functional value.
The homes that I am always most drawn to manage to acheive multiple layers of depth and interest, without feeling cluttered, and this is what I aim for in my own home too (still a work in progress!) After all, our homes are reflections of our personalities and passions, and it feels right that should be complex and evolving spaces filled with curiosity and contradiction. I read once that the biggest mistake you can make in decorating your home is to play it too safe, and I agree. Creating a highly textured, fascinating home needn't be difficult or costly. It's simply about being brave, trusting your instinct and using the space and the objects you already have in a smart way.
Here are some of the things I do to introduce texture and life into my home:
Embrace textiles. An easy way to immediately create texture is to combine different types of textiles in one place. Layering throws and cushions in the same or complimentary colours on a sofa or armchair, making sure that there is a good mix of different materials, makes it feel a million times more inviting than if it was bare. Wool, crumpled linen and sheepskin feature heavily in my home because they are effortless and have obvious texture already. Moroccan or Turkish kilim cushions and throws immediately add depth and interest, as does anything with tassels or fringing. Patterns don't need to match - as long as you stick to a similar colour pallet, a range of different patterned cushions and blankets can look amazing together. On the floor, multiple rugs of different sizes and materials layered on top of each other look wonderful. Jute and sheepskin together is a favourite of mine. Floor cushions also add perspective and interest, especially if draped with a blanket.
Create levels. Utilise all of your wall space including low down unexpected areas where you wouldn't normally think to hang a picture or poster, and the space above doorways. We installed cheap bookshelves high up on our walls above the doorways and it was one of the best decisions we made. The books are out of the way but create a visually interesting level above people's heads, and add height to the room. By creating distinct levels, you draw the eye all over your home and introduce little surprising features which add interest. Hanging plants from the ceiling or in windows has the same effect of making the eye travel and creating shadows and movement. Grouping pictures together on the same wall creates complexity and depth. Hooks are great for displaying beautiful clothes or hanging hats and bags which add instant personality and life. Hooks hung low on a wall can also be useful for household tools or kids coats and bags. Don't forget the floor. Make it visually appealing by using crates and baskets for storage, and floor cushions for lounging.
Use furniture and features wisely. Consider incorporating an unexpected piece of furniture into your home, such as an old antique chair or a modern coffee table, even if it doesn't match the rest of your decor. By including something completely incongruous, you are adding surprise and contrast, which can completely lift a room. Bold colour in one spot can achieve the same effect. Although coherence is important, texture is difficult to achieve if everything is matchy-matchy, so don't be afraid to buy something a bit unusual or out of keeping with the rest of your furniture, as long as you love it. Items made of wicker, leather, velvet or antique wood have inherent texture and don't be put off by chipped paint or worn out leather - a little patina packs alot of punch. If you're lucky enough to have a home with period features, take full advantage of them. Make exposed beams, wooden floors, sash windows and original fireplaces the focal point of the room, building up everything else around them. If decorating, think about leaving mottled plaster or paintwork exposed - you can always paint over it later if you hate it!
Display your treasures. Mementos from holidays, books, records, stamp collections, natural treasures, pairs of shoes, paintings and pictures, even jars of spices and herbs all say something about you and the things you love, and deserve to play a part in your home. I always find it strange when I go to people's houses and there are no books or trinkets to look at - I wonder where they are! Of course, this is all about finding a balance - I find it equally a little unsettling when people turn their homes into a shrine for baked bean memorabilia - but carefully displayed objects can add so much interest and playfulness. We stayed in a house in Greece last summer whose owner had cleverly displayed her collections of trinkets in groups all over the house - tiny tinkling fragments of broken china in a bowl on a windowsill, a wall hung with embroidered samplers of all shapes and sizes and sizes, a shelf of antique terracotta jugs, a wall of hats. Displaying items like this imposes much needed order on what could otherwise be a mismatched jumble of objects, and allows them to be appreciated properly.
Finally, be brave! Don't hide your treasures or be afraid of introducing colour and depth. Experiment until you're happy with how things look and feel. Introduce layers into your home so that your rooms tell a story about who you are and what you are passionate about. Embrace a bit of disorder and don't feel the need to make everything match.
How do you create texture and depth in your home? Are you, like me, forever trying to find the balance between adding interest and avoiding clutter?!