Visual Feast: Rough and Smooth Textures Together

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Design & Image: McAlpine Takersley Architecture

The idea for this post began – as so many things do for me – with an image. I won’t even try to be mysterious. It was the image above of the simple but captivating entry of a very nice lake house. I saw the photo and I really, really liked it. And the more I looked at it, the more I liked it, and the more I began to wonder why. Turns out, I’ve been visually seduced by the mixture of rough and smooth textures found in the above space.

Variety is the Spice…

Yep, it’s true; variety is indeed the spice, not only of life, but of interior design. Think about it for a moment—when you see a space that is a lot of the same things over and over, it’s really boring. Am I right? But when you see different kinds of things—like different kinds of textures—mixed together in a space, it makes everything more interesting.

Spice up the Kitchen

Visual Feast: Rough and Smooth Textures Together

Design: Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects; Image: Roger D’Souza on Dwell 

This kitchen has some beautiful smooth finishes – from the floor all the way up the cabinet to the counter top. But, even though they’re smooth, the grain of the woodwork and the veining in the counter surface start to break up any sense of sameness. Then—bam!—your eye gets to that rough concrete ceiling and the space feels energized.

Spice Up the Living Space

Visual Feast: Rough and Smooth Textures Together

Design: Jennifer Hanlin; Image: Bruce Buck for The New York Times

There’s a similar story going on here – nice smooth walls and rough ceiling – but with a lot of extra notes (if you’ll allow me to mix my metaphors). The narrow slats making up the floor add a lot of visual texture. The grain of the table and even the texture of the paper lampshade bring in more texture. But it’s the slatted screens in the upper walls that make this space sing.

Spice Up Outside

Visual Feast: Rough and Smooth Textures Together

Design: Bbats + Tirado; Image: Francisco Nogueira 

This entry is a masterpiece of mixing rough and smooth textures together. It’s almost unnecessary for me to point out the progression from the roughest texture—the white rock—to the smoothest: the window glass. But see how the materials get smoother and smoother?

Are you using a mixture of textures to keep your spaces spicy?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.