Can’t decide what’s missing from your latest design project? Chances are, it’s texture. Texture is an all-important—and sometimes overlooked—element in transforming a space from flat to multidimensional, adding layers of depth and richness. Be it via countertops or flooring, creating the right atmosphere is all about the choosing the right surfaces. Below, we feature nine trending surface textures and where to use them.
Industrial charm doesn’t have to be reserved for the factory-turned-loft space. Concrete is a low-maintenance (and economical) way to pour on some industrial chic when it comes to your space. Flooring is a particularly savvy use of the material, as concrete tends to require minimal upkeep, and any dings, dents, and chips will only add character.
Quartz is quickly gaining popularity as a low-maintenance alternative to sought-after surfaces like marble or soapstone. As a nonporous and stain-resistant material, quartz is ideal for kitchen countertops that see lots of entertaining. Comprised of parts of natural minerals bonded together with resin, it’s also one of the more environmentally sound options on the market, taking a greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts approach to delivering a beautiful end product.
With extraordinary, one-of-a-kind natural veining, marble in any space creates a striking, elegant effect. While the exterior of this surface is undoubtedly strong and beautiful, it’s important to keep in mind that marble has a soft side. A porous material, it’s possible for marble surfaces to be stained from acidic liquids (white wine, lemon), meaning a degree of maintenance is required. For those who love the look without the worry, consider using the material for bathroom countertops and flooring where acidic liquids are less likely to be used.
The 1950s and 60s were a heyday for parquet flooring, but the origins of this mosaic method of arranging wooden planks in a geometric pattern dates back to the 16th century. Nowadays, parquet flooring is synonymous with elegant European interiors and Haussmann-era Parisian buildings. The more traditional parquet floors are usually arranged in chevron and herringbone patterns, cut in a range of different types of wood from oak to walnut. Despite its luxe look, parquet often surprises with its manageable options for installation and moderate price point.
Carpets are an easy way to add a layer of warmth to your home, particularly in the bedroom where it can be comforting to wake up to something soft underfoot. Unlike their predecessors, the best modern carpets are stain, dirt, and water resistant, thanks to new advancements in manufacturing. When selecting the right carpet for your space, be sure to take traffic into account: plush, high-pile textures tend to work better in lower-traffic areas, while close-cut piles are hardier and easier to keep clean.
When it comes to textures in the home, why should walls be neglected? Wood paneling may have gotten a poor reputation during the mid-century era, when it covered everything from basements to bathroom walls; today, it’s the purposeful approach that makes a statement. Go all out with floor-to-ceiling paneling and tons of natural light to create a warm, modern effect, or play with thinner wooden planks in smaller proportions for geometric visual interest.
It’s important to consider strength, crack-resistance, and temperature-retaining properties when selecting natural stone as flooring. One of the strongest natural stone options available, slate is an ideal choice underfoot as it is durable enough to go decades without needing to be replaced, providing proper maintenance is given. While this natural beauty is great at transmitting heat and cold, it is not so good at retaining it, making it ideal for homes in warmer climates or with radiant floor heating.
Whether for backsplash or flooring, tiles are a fashionable way to elevate and add luxury to a space. Some of the most well-crafted options emanate from Morocco, where the art of zellige—a process of fabrication using individual geometric pieces—is still employed today. These pops of pattern are surfacing in homes as a vibrant alternative to neutral tiles and floors.
For a rustic environment full of cozy charm, consider using ledgestone. This technique of stacking stone to showcase its edge as opposed to its face creates loads of rough texture, establishing a gritty focal point that works particularly well for a statement wall, backsplash, or fireplace treatment. The variating tones and raw edging of ledgestone adds stacks of visual interest to even the most minimalist modern of spaces.
When it comes to great design, it’s all about what’s on the surface. From glossy countertops to cozy fireplaces, inspired surroundings start with the right textures.
Article originally appeared in the Extraordinary Living Blog, Sotheby’s International Realty