I came across a fantastic article on brain science - no stay with me here. Scientists conducted a study to see how our brains react to words when we read fiction.
Among other things, they discovered that when we read a sensory word or phrase such as 'leathery hands' or 'velvet voice' the sensory part of our brain is activated.
As writers, descriptions like these can bring our manuscripts to life for the reader, make them more interesting, and make the reader feel as though they are a part of the story. Of course, our high school English teachers told us to do this, but now we have scientific evidence that it works! If only science had been this interesting in high school...
The article also mentioned that phrases like 'he had a rough day' are so overused they do NOT produce the same response. Therefore, it is up to us as writers to keep it fresh. Look for new ways to describe old objects.
Pairings need to make sense. I can't write that the dog had fur like a cow - doesn't work does it? But I could say someone had hair as thick as a bathroom rug. (What woman wouldn't want to hear that, right? :-)
So in the end, make your descriptions count by using sensory words to stimulate more than one area of the brain and you'll have your readers involved in the story on a whole other level.
Here's a link to the story in case you wanted to read it.