Texture Talks – Fabric and Feel
September 6, 2022
Fabric and Feel in Commercial Design
When we begin to imagine reinventing a commercial space, we tend to let our eyes – and our mind’s eye – take over. As a starting point, we visualize certain furniture pieces, room layouts and especially color combinations. But vision, as important as it is, is only one of our senses. The touch and feel of the finishes in a space are key to a successful design also, and have their own impact on its appearance as well.
Textures in commercial design vary widely, and that’s perhaps the most important point: Employing a variety of textures adds both visual and tactile interest to a finished space. Just as you probably wouldn’t finish an entire room in the same exact color, you should look to vary the textures as well. And just as with colors, the right combinations can both balance a space and add variety, quite literally changing the feel of a space.
There are multiple ways to incorporate textures in commercial design, including wall and ceiling finishes. For our purposes, though, we’ll focus on fabrics. Texture is determined by every single step in the production of a fabric, and manifests itself not only in how rough or smooth a given material is, but in how firm or supple, how sheer or substantial the finished product is.
In planning textures, the first consideration might be practical rather than aesthetic. For example, you probably wouldn’t choose a gauzy, delicate fabric for chairs in a preschool classroom. The weight and durability of any material should be compatible with its intended use.
Having made those determinations, textures can be planned in ways that are very similar to choosing color schemes. Just as you might choose a main color for a space, with brighter colors or patterns as accents, so it is with textures. Most of the furnishings might have a common texture with a few accent pieces that offer variations on that texture, or contrasting textures.
And while we’ve largely focused on furniture here, a typical commercial space offers other opportunities to incorporate variations fabric textures, from divider walls to acoustical panels for walls or ceilings. The possibilities are literally endless.
Interestingly, the term ‘run of the mill,’ which now refers to anything common or ordinary, has its origin in weaving mills and the mass-produced fabrics they began to turn out in the early 20th century. A little attention paid to not only color selections but texture variations will help make sure you don’t end up with a run-of-the-mill interior space.
Questions about textured fabrics for successful design? Contact Douron.