The Look and Feel of Texture in Your Northern Virginia Kitchen

What makes a kitchen feel like home? Is it the design? The color? The appliances? Personally, we don’t think that any of those are what make the difference. At Foley, we believe that the difference lies not just in what you see but in what you feel. 

The Secret Psychology of Texture

Image from Shutterstock

Image from Shutterstock

Textures give visual depth to any room, but more than that, they carry a deep psychological connection. Believe it or not, textures affect not only our physical sensation of touch but our emotions, as well. Soft and smooth textures are associated with luxury, daintiness, refinement, and positivity. Rough and unpolished surfaces, meanwhile, are associated with harshness and are often—but not always—perceived more negatively.

But the desire for certain kinds of textures can be a bit of a double-edged sword. For example, think about a room that is composed entirely of smooth surfaces. Polished stone, stainless steel, leather, hardwood, and others are all lovely to see and feel, but they can come across as cold and impersonal without a touch of softness. Likewise, a room full of unfinished edges and rough textures feels industrial and unwelcoming, and a room full of soft, plush fabrics can seem overstuffed and chintzy.

The Textured Kitchen

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Image from

It turns out that tactile stimuli have a lot more to do with our moods and emotions than you might think. So how can you adapt these psychological and aesthetic principles into your own home? 

Fortunately, your kitchen has plenty of space to introduce various textures, from rough to smooth to soft. Let’s look at the kinds of materials you can use to achieve certain looks while creating the perfect homey atmosphere.

The kitchen is one of those spaces that can easily become overwhelmingly shiny and smooth, and of course, that makes sense. With all the activity that your kitchen sees, it needs to be practical and easy to clean, and smooth surfaces often fit the bill. But to achieve the right balance, you might want to introduce some texture to give it a little depth.

The Feng Shui School of Texture

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Take a page from the book of feng shui interior design and use a range of different elements. In feng shui, the five elements are water, fire, earth, metal, and wood. By borrowing from each of these elements, you can get a well-rounded result. While feng shui promotes the use of these fundamentals to promote good energy and growth in the home, it also makes for a balanced textural aesthetic.

Here are a few ways to use feng shui in your textural design:

  • Water: mirrors, glass-front cabinetry
  • Fire: a gas-burning cooktop, abstract sculpture
  • Earth: clay/terracotta dishware, unpolished tiles, potted plants, or an indoor herb garden
  • Metal: stainless steel appliances and faucets, light fixtures, metal racks and shelving, industrial bartop stools
  • Wood: wooden cabinets, hardwood or laminate flooring, wooden table and/or chairs

Feng shui also loves to use natural fabrics, like silk, cotton, wool, and linen. Try incorporating these into fabric seat covers, curtains, blinds, area rugs, and light shades.

The Balancing Act

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The trick to accessorizing your kitchen with patterned and colored accents is balancing visually impactful pieces with complementary simplicity. And what’s more textural than a good pattern? 

If you want to include a bold, punchy, tiled backsplash, keep things sleek with more subdued countertops and cabinets. Tiles tend to be quite smooth, but if you use smaller tiles broken up with grout, it creates a fun, dimensional look that keeps your backsplash from looking overly sleek. If you include a patterned fabric, like paisley chair covers, keep the rest of the room relatively toned down, but try to have another small pop of texture, like a unique light fixture and a bright bowl of fruit on the counter.

You can also achieve different textures depending on glazes and finishes. Wood cabinets may be smooth, but you can change things up with thick, heavy-handed paint, giving the surface new depth. Likewise, adding polish to a rough stone countertop can turn it sleek and glossy. Even without changing your kitchen’s bones, you can easily change its appearance just through the use of finishes and furnishings.

As with all things in life, the key to decorating with textures is remembering to mix things up. After all, variety is the spice of life—and where better than the kitchen to spice things up? At Foley Companies, we want to bring spice to your kitchen and your life. Connect with us today, and let’s talk about the possibilities.

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