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DECORATING : Textured Touches Gain Feel Appeal

June 19, 1993|From Associated Press

Texture can cure a sickly room as much as color can, and it is being prescribed in ever-larger doses particularly for furniture, upholstered and otherwise.

The beauty of some of the more popular finishes and materials, such as chenille upholstery fabric, sisal carpet, twig and bark accessories and textured patinas on metal furniture, is in the feel as well as in the look.

"Adding more texture definitely warms a room," said Karol DeWulf Nickell, editor of Traditional Home magazine. "It's like putting on a cardigan sweater."

While faux finishes create the illusion of texture, Nickell said a growing trend is to mix textures on a single piece of furniture--say the roughness of rattan with the smoothness of metal in a table or chest. This creates a one-of-a-kind look, even though it is mass-produced.

"Furniture today is much more heavily textured than it used to be," said Linda Jones of Masco Corp., furniture manufacturers in High Point, N.C. "The flat shiny surfaces formerly found on most new furniture have given way to a much greater variety of surface textures in wood, metal and upholstered pieces."

Materials as diverse as coconut twigs, woven rattan peel, bamboo, natural and faux stone, antiqued brass, iron and leather are now included in furniture made by Masco's 15 subsidiaries, including Drexel Heritage and Henredon. Upholstery fabrics such as chenille, burlap, linen and textured silk are gaining as customer choices.

"Across the board . . . we're noticing that chenille is a popular upholstery fabric," Jones said. "The pile is deeper than Lucille Ball's old bathrobe, and now plaid or striped designs are woven in."

While a heavily textured look is preferred for the living room and bedroom, clients still want highly polished surfaces in the dining room, Jones said. But even in this formal room, she says, buyers will probably select a textured Jacquard fabric for chair seats.

Every kind of texture found in fabrics is also available in wall coverings, said Ann Leheny, director of residential product development for GenCorp Polymer Products of Hackensack, N.J., maker of Essex and other brands of wall coverings.

Choices run from a rather smooth silk look to heavier grass cloth, linen and burlap. Moire and slightly iridescent finishes also offer textural interest, according to Leheny.

"With a bright multicolor floral pattern, it's the color that makes the decorative statement," she said. "When different textures in the same color family are used together, the decorative effect is more subtle."

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