Biophilic Moodboards: Natural textures

in Biophilic Moodboards

Imagine a room without any texture, just plain smooth surfaces…it would feel pretty sterile, wouldn’t it?
In fact, textures do wonders in enriching a space, making it feel warmer and more welcoming. Recalling the outdoors, natural textures – the ones preferred in biophilic design – can also benefit human wellbeing.

So let’s explore natural textures in this episode of Biophilic Moodboards!

Biophilic design moodboard depicting natural textures in interiors: a wood flooring, a wood coffee table with textured accessories and the detail of a wooden fireplace wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit (from top left): Marazzi (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab), Colin King (opened in a new window/tab), Wonderwall Studios (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

Natural textures and wellbeing

Even if the reason is yet to be fully explained, people have a general 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. Tactile stimulations cause a very strong emotional response that goes straight to the brain!
Rich natural textures also create more light-shadows effects. This makes them particularly interesting to watch, stimulating another one of our senses.

Read more on how to incorporate the 5 senses in interior design

Below are some ways to include natural textures in interiors

1. Finishes

Walls, floors and ceilings are the biggest surfaces in a home, and dressing them up with a textured finish makes a huge difference.

The 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. Indeed, accessories really do give identity to a space.

Vases, frames, baskets…all of these items are occasions to bring natural textures in. They also can help to enhance the connection of the space with the changing seasons or build a stronger local identity.
Plus, accessories are accessible to everyone, renters and owners alike.

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 of bringing a natural texture in is using the real material indoors. But this is not the only way.

Reproducing a natural texture on other materials is also an option and it’s still beneficial in terms of wellbeing. This is what biophilic design calls natural analogues and it suggest – among the rest – to introduce fractal patterns in interiors and build a stronger local identity.

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, real natural elements also bring textures with them.
For instance: a plant in front of a plain wall will somehow add a natural texture to it, while introducing a vertical garden will literally dress the wall up.

Also, a water feature will add a rich natural texture and it comes with a number of other wellbeing benefits!

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)

Taking the example of a rich wood texture, there exist numerous home design pieces – 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!

For more sustainable design inspiration, you’re welcome to take a look at SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab), the platform where I curate a selection of sustainable interior design 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

5. Interactive natural textures

By interactive natural textures, I mean things like writing on the sand or caressing the grass. All very relaxing activities that – if brought indoors – could make our spaces more soothing.

Some good examples would be a small zen garden, or 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)

The power of textures lays in their ability to engage deeply with our senses, bringing the mind back to the present moment while restoring a stronger connection with the natural world.

* Sources

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Don't be shy, let me know what you think!

On Rawan Ita-Diaz said:
Beautiful content! Thank you for creating an enjoyable and informative article about bringing the natural world closer to our homes.
On Silvia - DforDesign said:
Many thanks for your lovely words Rawan! So happy you found it inspiring! Bringing the essence of nature closer to our everyday lives and homes is such a crucial point and, hopefully, my content can inspire more people to move in this direction! Silvia


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