Texturing Your Home: How To Get The Look For Less
Over the years, I've moved away from the idea of fitted carpet and well and truly towards hard flooring such as wood or tiles. In all of the houses that Joe and I have lived in, only the first one was fully carpeted. It was a new build Barrett Home in Tilehurst, our first home together and we got to choose everything that went into it off plan. In the flush of young love and decorating inexperience, for reasons unknown we opted for cream carpet throughout rather than wood flooring. Rookie error. We both worked in London and didn't have the time or energy to put much work into the decision making, which is why I ended up with mint green distressed laminate kitchen cupboards and a part carpeted kitchen diner. What was I thinking?
We were working hard and partying hard in those days. Everyone who lived in our Close was young, footloose and family free - dinner parties with our neighbours started with tequila shots and rarely finished before the sun came up. On my 30th birthday I had a fancy dress party which was memorable mostly for the finale, whereby Joe, dressed as Ali G and spurred on by at least six slammers, lit a huge rocket outside the front door at 1.00 am without taking the plastic wrapping off. The firework imploded and all hell erupted. It was mayhem. My bedroom was like an episode of Casualty and hugely unprepared for such trauma, I had only Hello Kitty plasters in stock. My sister Annabel was dressed as Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan and her tutu was singed beyond repair. There was talk of suing the firework company by blissfully unaware injured people who were too drunk to realise that Joe was to blame. To top it off, whilst all this was going on somebody dressed as a Union Jacked Geri Halliwell knocked over a full bottle of red wine in the cream carpeted kitchen diner section. To say it was a night to remember is putting it mildly.
Anyway, this episode only served to prove to me that fitted cream carpets should not be used in kitchens and that the only way forward for me was hard flooring and rugs. Our next house was a Victorian terrace with all wood floors and we've continued with this style from that point on. Much more practical, easily to clean and adaptable to any style of decor that I am partial to at the time. Rugs were the way forward with bare floors, but I have always been drawn to particular types. We were brought up in Hong Kong where fitted carpets weren't even an option and my parents used to buy huge flakarti rugs for the floors. Aside from the fact that you risked permanent or even fatal injury by foot slippage, they were really practical. When we moved back to the UK, my mum cut them up to make smaller rugs for our bedrooms, perfect multi tasking.
When I started buying rugs for my own home, flakarti was my first point of call but cowhide, jute and Persian have always been at the top my list. One of the reasons I am drawn towards these particular styles is the ease of layering and covering floor space. Different textures, overlapping materials, not sticking to any standard rules. Last year, Dee Campling and I went on an Abigail Ahern Masterclass and the main learning that I gained from it was the importance of texturing your home furnishings. Mixing natural materials, faux or otherwise, such as wool, leather, fur, wicker and jute really looks great. To me, it says informality and because nothing matches, you can move it all around, perfect for a transient decorator like myself. And it doesn't have to stop at rugs. Cushions, wall hangings, accessories, window blinds, greenery - mixing up those textures is hugely effective. It's a really flexible way of decorating your home and you can be as individual as you like.
So how do you do this and who's good at it?
Mix Up Those Textiles
Varying your fabric textures and colours gives your space a really individual feel. Try using throws and cushions in different types of materials. Think outside the box - use rugs on your furniture rather than just on the floor.
Sheepskin rug, fur cushions, satin and cotton all hang out together on Tina Archer's sofa.
Create Focal Points of Textures
Arrange different types of textured accessories in one area. Mix it up - for example, put glass, wood and wicker together and see how effective it can be.
This beautiful corner of Megan Schlachtenhaufen's bedroom of Undecorated Home mixes dark walls with bamboo, greenery, textured throws, wall hanging and metal accents with brilliant effect.
This perfect selection of different textures makes Megan's hallway somewhere you would want to sit for awhile.
Layer It Up, Baby
I'm talking rugs. Overlap them, put them on furniture, put them under furniture. Use different types of material - this doesn't have to be expensive either. Cow hide, sheepskin and jute look fantastic next to a worn Persian style rug. I picked up an amazing Persian runner in the charity shop this week for a tenner.
Gorgeous home belonging to Tanya of House Of Six Interiors. Perfect rug layering and wonderful combination of textures and greenery.
Texture Those Neutrals
Texturing doesn't have to be colourful. Using natural materials means this look fits easily into a neutral environment.
Knitted throws and calming, botanic colours mixed with wood and leather pillows make Mirjam's living room somewhere you'd like to sit with a glass of wine.
Bring The Outside In
Plants are a fabulous way to add greenery and texture to your environment. Use hanging plants or huge palms to give your room colour, character and individuality. Just try to keep them alive a little longer than I do.
In Liz Kamarul's home, plants are used creatively to their best effect and are mixed with handwoven fabrics, natural materials and metals.
Want To Get The Look?
Here's some ways you can get the look without spending a fortune.
Texturing is a brilliant way to add an extra dimension to an otherwise bland space and can really make your room shine. Personally, I'm obsessed with it and I really think it can give your home the edge. Give it a go! BTW, I'm having another fancy dress party in a couple of weeks and I'd like to reassure everyone it will be a firework free zone. Although I can't say the same about the tequila slammers.