Biophilic Moodboards: Natural textures

in Biophilic Moodboards

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!

Moodboard depicting natural textures: a wood flooring, the close-up of a tree trunk, an expanse of sand and the detail of a stone texture.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit (from top left): DforDesign, Sumner Mahaffey (via Unsplash) (opened in a new window/tab), Bolefloor (opened in a new window/tab)

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.

1. Finishes

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.

A contemporary bathroom with smooth wood panels on the wall as well as around the bathtub.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Erinn V. Design Group (via Houzz) (opened in a new window/tab)
A contemporary living room with huge fireplace cladded in dark stone.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: ALTUS Architecture + Design (via Houzz) (opened in a new window/tab)

2. Accessories

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.

A modern glass vase with wooden bottom.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Elevated vase by Muuto (opened in a new window/tab)
Minimal stone vases with various stems inside.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Jono Smart (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

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.

Bathroom wall with textured tiles recalling the wavy shape of sand moved by the wind.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Close-up of textured wall tiles recalling the wavy shape of sand moved by the wind.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credits: Absolute White by Marazzi (opened in a new window/tab)


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.

Plain wall at the end of a corridor given new life with a big planter full of greenery.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marek Sikora Photography (via Houzz) (opened in a new window/tab)

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.

Birch bark home items: a floor lamp and a small basket.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Korob basket and Svetoch lamp by Moya (opened in a new window/tab). Moodboard by DforDesign

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!

Mini-zen garden.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: mellsva (via Etsy) (opened in a new window/tab)
Red armchair on a rug made with little individual wood felt flowers.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Little field of flowers by Nanimarquina (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also want to take a look at the previous biophilic moodboards:

* Sources

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