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How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

by | Jun 24, 2014 | Decorating Inspiration, Details, Style Tips

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How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

Welcome to The Inspired Room! Before I dive into my secret to decorating tip, I’m SO excited to be a part of this fun How to Decorate summer blog series, hosted by my friend Beth at Home Stories A to Z. I participated the last time this series graced the internet and it’s very fun to be a part of it again. There are 25 talented bloggers joining the series this time sharing all week long, so be sure and follow along and see what each of these bloggers have to contribute!

Today’s lineup is as follows:

1. The Inspired Room, you are HERE!
2. Four Generations One Roof
3. Beneath my Heart
4. The Creativity Exchange
5.  Finding Home

Today I thought I would talk about how to decorate with the secret ingredient every room needs. I know often when we think about decorating our home the first thought in our mind is getting a new fun accessory, hanging pictures, choosing colors, or maybe even adding a new rug. They are all a fun part of decorating!

But there is a little hidden secret to decorating even with those basic elements that will result in more than just a collection of pretty things. It is an important piece of the puzzle but you may not even realize it is missing if you aren’t aware of how significant it is. Recently we talked about How To Create a Meaningful Home. And while adding meaning is an essential element a home you’ll love, the puzzle piece I’m referring to today is perhaps a bit more designy although both are touchy feely :), so stick with me!

The good news is this design secret doesn’t cost any more money. It doesn’t require you to buy anything fancy from a designer showroom. In fact, it can be acquired from just about anywhere. Once you open your eyes to what you are looking for, you can find it at a thrift store. You can find it in your own garage. You can make it yourself. You can find it outside! Honestly, creating a beautiful home is not about how much money you spend. You just need to be aware of this one little secret, open your eyes to it, and then start having FUN with it!

So what is the decorating secret?

Layers of texture.

Did you guess it? When a room lacks layers of variation in texture, it can fall flat and feel one dimensional even if your home is filled with the cutest, craftiest or sadly, filled with the most expensive accessories. The key to a beautifully warm and comfortable home is adding layers of texture in every room. You can vary the colors and patterns as you add texture. The result doesn’t have to be busy or jarring, so don’t worry that fussy layers or bold colors or patterns are not your style.  Combining different layers is what makes a space interesting, no matter what your personal style of decorating is!

A good dose of texture is the key ingredient that finishes off a space. A room is best designed so your eyes are able to dance around the room, delighted by a variation of elements that work together beautifully.

This is the point where many people panic and get that deer in the headlights look in their eyes. I’ve seen that look before. LAYERS? TEXTURES? COLORS? That work together beautifully? Thus the whole concept of bed in a bag was born. That was a sad day. Not because bed in a bag is a bad thing (my profuse apologies if that was  your idea, it was brilliant, really) but because you don’t need someone to put together a room for you in a pre-assembled bag or collection. YOU CAN DO THIS.

There is no need to rush a room. You can take your time (check out my post on Decorating Slowly Over Time).

You can have a colorful home or an all white home (if you must) and still have layers of texture. White rooms are not the answer, nor is an explosion of every trendy pattern or color.

Your home doesn’t have to look like mine. It doesn’t have to look like any of the other bloggers on the tour. Armed with this secret ingredient, you can boldly and bravely mix and match until your home feels exactly like you want it to!

Are you ready for a few pointers on adding texture to your home?

5 Ways to Incorporate Texture:

1) Rugs.

Whether you prefer the simplicity of a neutral rug or the liveliness of a patterned colorful one, rugs are a great way to add texture. The rug itself is texture, no matter what kind you choose. But take it up a notch with the more obvious texture of jute, fur, animal skin or a beautiful wool or silk. You can layer rugs over carpet or other rugs, too, or decide to forgo rugs altogether if you already have beautiful wood or tile floors.

2) Accessories.

Mix up your accessories so you have a variety of finishes. Think about adding glass through display dishes, lamps or bottles, sparkle or shine with mirrors and metals, natural textures like sticks, plants, antlers or shells and rugged texture like baskets, nubby or silk throw blankets and pillows, and woven trays. Group some like textures together or mix them up around the room. No rules, just add layers of detail!

3) Furniture finishes.

Mix things up according to your own preferred style so you have a variety of wood pieces, painted furniture, upholstered pieces, shiny or metallic items. Use different textures even on the same piece! Try fun metallic or sparkly pulls on an antique wood dresser. Mix up texture even further by pairing up antiques with modern pieces, thrift store finds with new purchases and heirlooms with discount store deals.

4) Wall finishes.

Are all of your walls the same flat drywall? Go beyond paint color changes to add a splash of interest with wallpaper, wood or painted paneling, tile, wainscoting or other types of textured surfaces.

5) Window treatments.

You can add layers of texture at your windows too! Consider the addition of flowing drapery fabrics, texture on blinds, the softness of roman shades or sheers, or the chunkiness of plantation shutters. Beautiful windows with amazing trim and an equally amazing view can be left undressed and still be beautiful, but most windows can benefit from a little added texture!

Finally, play a little game of “I spy” with the photos of my own house in this post and see if you can spot mixed layers and textures.

Then walk around your home and see if you have the mix you want! If not, have fun going on a texture treasure hunt!

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

Now check out the other bloggers in the series (see our host Beth at Home Stories A to Z for the lineup!)

Have you checked out my How to Decorate page lately? This page is filled to the brim with decorating ideas in many categories, as well as ideas that I specifically use in my home. Check it out if you need some inspiration! And don’t forget my Home Inspiration Galleries that round up some of my favorite posts here on The Inspired Room.

Sources: You might have noticed a couple of new items in my photos I haven’t even talked about yet! Not to worry, I’ll be showing you what’s new, how the rooms are coming together and where it all came from soon!

Meanwhile, be sure to follow me on Instagram and sign up for my 100% FREE email newsletter to stay in the loop on some upcoming very exciting news!

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

Click here to shop my house and latest decor finds!

How to Decorate {The Secret Ingredient Every Room Needs}

Click here for information on my decorating, organizing and homemaking books!


  1. Beth@HomeStoriesAtoZ

    I was excited to learn the secret ingredient and couldn’t agree more with you! This is the key to pulling off any room but especially a tone on tone room. Fantastic tips Melissa! I’m waiting for your book :). Thanks so much for joining in on the How to Decorate series!

  2. elizabeth

    so pretty! I see some new furniture in the front LR? ;0

  3. cyndy@thecreativityexchange

    Love this Melissa! So many great ways to layer texture in a space. Such a beautiful and warm home. Thanks so much for sharing all your fab tips with us!

  4. teresa

    Love this advice…we just sold our Catheys Valley Home =( but needed to down size. Now we are looking to build a smaller home…I’m going to pin this to help me as I prepare a new home…wished you lived next door.

    • Stephanie

      My husband and I are at the stage where we want to sell the big house and I think I want to get a smaller house and make it my own. Would like to hear more on this topic.

  5. Carolyn

    Great post. Indeed, “texture” is the magic ingredient!

  6. Marie@The Interior Frugalista

    Melissa, the little vignettes you created in your home are beautiful and definitely full of eye catching textures. Very warm and inviting! Love the pops of blue scattered about – so pretty and fresh. Thanks for sharing your home with us :)

  7. Amber

    This is so true! I can’t wait to go home and rearrange my pieces and add more texture to the living room especially! This post just made my Tuesday morning a little happier!

  8. Lynn

    Great article. I really enjoy your blog!

  9. Jenny Bowman

    Your room looks great. I love the wall color in the room in the first photo with the chair. What color is it?


    I was wondering where I can find the “Serve One Another In Love” print. I LOVE that!

  11. Susan

    I need to keep this in mind. I don’t like lots of small things and I tend to clear away layers instead of purposely create them. It’s a work in progress isn’t it?

  12. Jill @Still Keeping On The Narrow Way

    The texture secret is something I’ve become more aware of in the last year. I’m still working on it around our house. I loved seeing how you’ve incorporated it around yours. Thanks for the tips and inspiration photos. Lovely as always!

  13. Karen

    Hi Melissa, Do you have a larger picture of the light gray wall with the starburst mirrors and gray cabinet? I am so curious to see how it all works in the room. I love that color, too. It’s so beachy and serene. What shade is that? Thanks!!

  14. Catherine Padilla

    I feel like my eyes were just opened! I’m decorating my room in the apartment I just moved into. Painted the walls yellow, moved in white furniture, and got a bed in a bag (sorry ;P) but am only using the comforter from it! I still need to add some wall decor, but I noticed a huge, HUGE difference just by added in the headboard I made myself that had a textured gray fabric. This totally makes sense now!

  15. Lucy Parsons

    Love this post! I totally agree with you and always have. Texture gives depth to any decorating scheme. That’s why loads of cushions are so important – and cushions are my passion! It’s also why I love quilts and knitted throws as the finishing techniques, fabrics, stitches and yarns all add different types of texure. Great post.

  16. Sue Lambrix

    Beautiful pictures! Could you possibly tell me where the blue pillow on the white couch came from. It looks like it is felt and has tufted flowers.
    Thank you so much!

  17. Ally S.

    This post is so helpful!! I have been struggling with trying to add texture into my space, and this seems to make is so much easier. I just feel like it should happen overnight when in reality it can’t. Thank you so much for the info!!

  18. Justin@Magnificently Modern


    It’s my 1st visit to your blog. I look forward to following along.

    I guess my tastes lean toward the “minimalist” style. So I might use a few bright accessories to add texture.
    Never thought of window treatments. Thanks for the idea.

  19. Sofia

    Hi Melissa,
    I truly love your blog! Your simple ideas but specially the good taste of the images/photos which are soooooo inspiring! Congratulations!

  20. michelle

    can you share where you got the pillow that is in the chair?

  21. Heidi

    Hi Melissa,
    I am enjoying your blog so much. Thank you for sharing! Can you tell me where you got that neat wood and iron table, the one that is wide but skinny…has three pots sitting underneath it?

  22. Sally Smith

    Hi Melissa, I love your armchair. Please can you share where you purchased it from? Thanks

  23. Fran W

    I enjoy your content. However, the multitude of distracting pop up ads make it impossible to read. I won’t be trying any longer as I cannot read and enjoy your photos while trying to tune out and ignore the 2, 3, or 4, videos playing simultaneously on my screen.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      That doesn’t sound enjoyable, I have a minimal amount of ads and I’m unaware of any thing like that popping up on my blog posts. But if you wouldn’t mind taking screen shot what you’re seeing that would be helpful! Then I can certainly check into where they might be coming from or how they could be adjusted! Thanks!


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