Decorating Your Apartment Using Contrast and Texture

in Small Space Ideas on by

Decorating your apartment, though one of the more exciting aspects of moving into a new place, can be a challenge. Unless you have an eye for design, you may not know where to begin. Begin the design process by examining how contrast and texture can add flair to your rooms.

Know the Basics First

Contrasted decorating is all about making big impact with distinctly different elements not limited to color, pattern, shape or silhouette. For instance, placing a stark white sofa against a bright red wall is a way of decorating using contrast. Another example is hanging curvilinear frames on the wall all while placing very angular furniture in the room. You can do more with less when it comes to decorating using contrast because extremes make a big impact.

Texture is also an important basic in decorating and is another great way to add contrast in a room. If you think about interior decorating like you would cooking, texture is like a spice-it gives a room that added pizazz and flavor. Texture is also one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add interest to a room, as accessories come in all kinds of textures and can be changed without much design upheaval. Rugs, pillows, throws, wall hangings and artwork are the most common ways to add texture.

Start with One Element First

When it comes to decorating using contrast and texture, your best bet is to pick one element to use as a starting point and work from there. Color is the easiest element to use first. Other forms of contrast are best demonstrated with accessories. For the most tasteful design, choose three colors: your main color, a complimentary color and a neutral. Say you choose a deep dark blue for your wall color. You’ll probably want to select a neutral color sofa (like beige) and then toss some burnt orange pillows on the sofa. The point is that you don’t want to end up with red walls, a green sofa and purple pillows. It’ll contrast for sure, but will not be aesthetically pleasing.

Patterns are a similar element to color and also make for a good design starting point. If you have striped bedding, some floral or paisley print window hangings would look nice. Same goes with other rooms in your place. A patterned sofa would accent striped walls if the colors are similar.

Add More Contrast and Texture with Accessories

Let accessories give your room that extra personality. A sleek lamp placed next to some ornate home candles, a shag rug complimented by some silky pillows or a large framed poster clustered by smaller images all illustrate the use of contrast in decorating. You’ll find that texture is the fool-proof method of using contrast correctly. The contrasting textures of a weathered coffee table against a sleek leather sofa looks deliberate, whereas a huge coffee table in a room of otherwise small furniture simply looks odd (a misuse of contrasting sizes).

When in doubt, start with color and texture first. As you gain an eye for design, begin experimenting with other elements, such as size and shape, to give your room dimension.


Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *