Imagine a room without any texture, just plain smooth surfaces…it would feel pretty cold wouldn’t it? In fact, textures do wonders in enriching a space, making it warmer and cozier. Natural textures in particular, can bring a bit of the outdoors in, which will benefit our wellbeing as well.
Biophilic design relies on natural textures a lot as a way to make indoor spaces stimulating, more enjoyable and – in turn – better for our overall health.
So let’s talk about natural textures a bit more, starting with the Biophilic Moodboard of this month!
The first question to be answered is:
How do natural textures influence our wellbeing?
Even if the reason is yet to be fully explained, people generally have a preference for shapes, patterns and textures that recall natural ones. Studies* have also observed positive effects on wellbeing, from stress reduction to increased concentration. Additionally, textures stimulate our touch, the most ancestral of our senses and the first one we develop. And tactile stimulations cause a very strong emotional response that goes straight to our brain.
From a design perspective, natural textures can really elevate a space. The richer the texture, the more light-shadows effects it creates. The movement of light on the surface will make it immediately more lively, which in turn will give more character to the whole room.
There are plenty of ways to bring natural textures at home and below are my favourites.
Walls, floors and ceilings are the biggest surfaces in a home, and dressing them up with a textured finish will make an immediate statement.
Options are endless, from wood floors and walls to natural stone cladding.
Some people say that a home without accessories is a home without personality. I kind of agree, as accessories can really bring our own identity in a space. Vases, frames, figurines, baskets…all of them are an occasion to bring natural textures in! Plus, they apply to everyone, whether you rent or own, as they’re the easiest to move in and out.
3. Imitating nature
The most obvious way to bring in a natural texture is using the corresponding material indoors. But this is not the only way. Reproducing a texture on other materials is also an option and it’s beneficial in term of wellbeing too. One of my favourites in this sense are these tiles by the Italian brand Marazzi, that recall the movement of sand.
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4. Natural elements
Besides materials, natural elements also bring textures with them. For instance: putting a plant in front of a plain wall will somehow add a natural texture to it, while introducing a vertical garden will literally dress up the wall.
To introduce a rich wood texture, there exist numerous items – from wall panels to floor lamps and baskets – that are made out of real birch bark. These are also sustainable designs, as the bark can be harvested without damaging the inner layer of the trunk, thus not damaging the trees!
If you're interested in sustainable design, take a look at SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab), my curated selection of sustainable home products.
And what about water? As we saw in a previous post, introducing a water feature indoors also comes with a number of wellbeing benefits!
5. Interactive natural textures
When I say natural textures can be “interactive”, I mean things like writing on the sand or caressing the grass; all very relaxing activities that – if brought indoors – could make our spaces a bit more soothing. Some good examples would be a small zen garden, or maybe a rug that mimics a beautiful expanse of leaves and flowers!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to take a look at the previous biophilic moodboards:
- Joye, Y. (2007). Architectural Lessons From Environmental Psychology: The Case of Biophilic Architecture. (opened in a new window/tab) Review of General Psychology, 11 (4), 305-328.