How to Use Patterns & Textures in Interior Design: Learn the Differences, Mixing Rules & More

Creating a well-designed space requires the right balance of color, light, size, and scale. Texture and pattern are key design elements in this process that can help define a room. But what are the differences and how can they be put to use? This article will explore the difference between texture and pattern, and discuss how to enhance your interior design with patterns and textures using materials like grasscloth wallpaper.


Spacious bedroom featuring a large bed and a decorative rug

What is texture in interior design?

In interior design, texture is an object’s feeling and visual surface effect. The materials incorporated in any space bring unique types of textures to interior design and work together to create the overall mood and feel of the room. Beyond just a surface feeling, visual texture in interior design affects how light interacts with the space and, therefore, how we perceive color, pattern, atmosphere, and more. Materials like velvet, wood, bouclé, linen, and marble each bring contrasting textures to a space that establish harmony and visual style in the room. 


A colorful assortment of patterned wallpaper and grasscloth samples

Floral wallpapers by Kelly Ventura

How is texture different from pattern?

Playing with texture in interior design is one of the most sophisticated ways to bring a space to life with subtlety. While combining different types of materials and surfaces is an art form, here are some ways to enhance the textural elements of any space:

• Layering: Place contrasting and complementary textures next to each other to emphasize the effect of each surface. For example, place a basket-woven bowl on a smooth glass surface, or contrast a thick rug or carpeting with sleek and streamlined end tables.

• Play with furniture and accessories: Incorporate texture in the objects you place around the space for decoration, as well as with the more permanent items like couches, the paint finish on the walls, wallpaper, or flooring. Some people also use their grasscloth overage to envelop a small piece of furniture such as an end table. You can search online for help with making this a DIY project, or getting a professional to cover the piece.

• Use lighting to your advantage: Various light sources and fixtures will bring a different angle of light to the space and emphasize various material aspects of every element of your interior design. Experiment  with natural light, floor lamps, and overhead lighting to make the most of all design choices.


An image of grasscloth wallpaper and a patterned fabric on a table


How to use pattern in interior design

There are many different types of patterns in interior design, and striking the balance of a well-curated space–without it becoming too busy–can be a challenge. In interior design, mixing patterns requires some planning and experimentation. Here are some rules for mixing patterns in your decorating process to keep in mind as you design a space:

• Play with size: Choose patterns with motifs of different scales to bring visual variety.

• Stick to a color palette: This can be a unifying factor behind a combination of differing patterns.

• Choose a select few: Work with a limited number of options in any given room.

• Focus on balance: Step back and check for contrast, make sure the eye doesn't get stuck in one spot and ensure the patterns are placed in a way that feels natural with the movement of the space.



    Side by side pictures of a foyer with an ornate mirror and bedroom with blue grasscloth wallpaper


    Elevating texture in interior design with grasscloth wallpaper

    Grasscloth wallpaper can serve as an ideal backdrop in any room, bringing a strong textural effect while also playing the role of a supporting actor amongst a highly-patterned design. With a variety of paper types, grasscloth offers various textural effects that can enhance the relationship between other design elements in a room.

    For an enhanced, natural look, a thicker jute like Coast or Caraway, or smoother paperweave options like Prairie and Spectator retain a strong wood feel in their color and weaving, even when combined with a contrasting paper backing in the case of Coast and Spectator.


    A minimalist shelf with two vases and bead necklace against a textured gray wall.

     Jute, Rex

    If you want a surface that will play with light to provide an illuminated look, tightweave jutes such as Dungaree, Abalone, or Halyard, have a beautiful natural sheen that catches the light. Alternatively, a thicker jute like Grackle, Rex, or Hessite will provide a high level of visual variety as the natural range of fibers comes through in the weft (horizontal fibers) of the paper, even when rubbed with a metallic surface.

    Finally, the inherent seams that appear between grasscloth panels when installed create a beautiful texture in any interior design. This traditional effect is one of the ways the natural look of grasscloth wallpaper brings a unique visual story to any space. For those who prefer to avoid the traditional seam look, options in our paperweave collection such as Coquina, Moxie, Ermine, and Dune feature a basket weave in both directions which help conceal the seams in the final installation.


    Assortment of fabric swatches in various textures and neutral colors, each labeled with "twenty2 grasscloth" on a white background.
    From left to right: Tonic, Puka, Spectator, Nimbus and Inkwell

    How to use patterns to inspire texture choices

    If you’re playing with the difference between texture and pattern, the patterns you choose can inform your grasscloth wallpaper choices. With large and bold patterns, consider using a finer, more subtle grasscloth. When designing a room that uses smaller, more detailed prints, try using a  thicker weave in your wallpaper. When decorating with patterns and textures, choosing wallpaper that matches colors within the pattern can lead to beautiful outcomes. Or for a more neutral wall backdrop, consider choosing from some of our options that match any color scheme:

    Whites: Such as paperweaves Salt, Puff, Nougatine, or Stellar.

    Neutrals: Such as paperweaves Sycamore and Dune, sisal Tonic and Malt, or jute Puka.

    Darks: Such as sisal Pitch or Flint, paperweave Jet, or jute Maritime.


    As you play with texture in interior design, explore the ways the grasscloth can help you achieve a sophisticated and elegant space. Explore our collection, request samples, and speak to a member of our knowledgeable team if you have any questions.