Seducing textures make bedroom special

The bedroom is a tactile space; we are undressed and vulnerable, in a good way, to experience what’s around us. Texture is something we see and feel, and sometimes even hear. In such an intimate room, it’s worth thinking about how all the materials will blend to produce just the right mood. The journey begins with how fabrics and patterns look. Do they draw you in, so you want to touch them? The seduction of comfort and softness is what makes a bedroom special.

If you have a limited budget, I will always suggest you spend first on a comfortable mattress and the best-quality sheets you can afford. But the story doesn’t end there.

More than ever, texture is playing a huge role in decorating. New technologies have introduced complex fibers and weaves that become the most stunning fabrics. Both synthetic and natural materials go into the weaving process, and by varying the width, texture and composition of each fiber, new patterns are formed. Fabrics sparkle with silver, copper, gold and colored metallic threads. You can see magical effects in upholstery, including the look of shimmery water, liquid metal or a sandy beach. Traditional leather continues to be a favorite, but now we are seeing patterns stamped into the leather.

The calm bedroom in the tiny condo shown in the accompanying photograph is a tribute to textured fabrics new and old. The bed is layered with the softness of Egyptian cotton sheets trimmed in dark brown. A handmade blanket in the softest brown faux fur is backed with a layer of burnt-orange cotton, an accent color that was also chosen for the crushed-velvet throw pillows.

The partition behind the bed backs onto the bathroom. In order to allow light into the windowless space, sheets of glass were installed. To offer privacy without blocking the light, glass sheets were covered by panels of sheers that have a threaded weave reminiscent of rice paper, with shredded fibers that hang down softly. Light plays on the sheers, and the shadows create the look of layers of palest beige and white.

These fabric panels are an ingenious idea that you can replicate simply in your own home. Rather than adhering fabric directly onto a wall, which is very difficult to remove, construct a wood frame or use panels as we did. You can change the mood of your room by replacing the fabric.

Although there are many different textures and materials in this bedroom, they are all soft and tactile. The lamps are painted chrome, and the floors are rubbed-white wide wood planks. There’s nothing rough to break the peaceful spell.

I will be writing more on the luscious patterns and textures that are available in the newest embossed wallpapers in a future column. This classic decorating tool offers another way to build layers of appealing texture to your rooms. This thicker paper with a raised design has always been an excellent solution for covering up cracks and minor flaws on walls. Today’s new patterns add a modern twist to this versatile wallcovering. The textures are highlighted simply with a favorite color of paint.

Successful decorating is accomplished in stages. It helps to have a vision, then add texture and colors over time to augment the perfect mood.

Debbie Travis is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. E-mail questions to her at

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