skip to main content

Biophilic moodboards: natural textures

in biophilic moodboards

Textures add dimension and depth. Nature-inspired textures – those preferred in biophilic design – make the space feel richer and more stimulating, recalling the experience of being outdoors.

This episode of Biophilic Moodboards looks into the impact of natural textures and their use in design…

Biophilic design moodboard depicting natural textures in interiors: 1. A wood coffee table with textured accessories. 2. Wood flooring close-up. 3. A textured wall.
Credit (from top left): Colin King, Marazzi, Wonderwall Studios. Moodboard: anooi studio

the impact of textures

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.

Textures stimulate the most ancestral of our senses and the first one we develop: touch. Tactile stimulations cause a strong response that makes the experience of a space more compelling. Rich textures also create light-shadows effects that are particularly interesting to watch, thus adding to the sensory vibrancy of the space.

Besides adding depth and sensory richness, a curated and intentional selection of natural textures can build a stronger local identity in the space as well as enhance its connection with seasonal changes.

Plain walls enriched with plants.
Credit: Labotory

natural and designed elements

Texture can be introduced through all the elements that make a space, from finishes to furniture and decorative accessories.

Real natural elements bring their textures with them. Wood and stone with their rich grain, greenery to add interest and dimension to a plain wall, a water feature to introduce a new layer of liveliness with its moving texture, and more… Whenever using a real natural material is not possible, natural textures may be reproduced; what biophilic design calls natural analogues.

A wooden ceiling made with overlapped planks of wood.
Credit: BIG – Ph: Rasmus Hjortshoj
A textured rug made of tiny petals.
Credit: Nanimarquina

interactive natural textures

Writing on the sand, caressing the grass… Taking inspiration from how we interact with nature, interactive textures can make a space even richer and more engaging. In this context, interactivity refers to the extent to which textures engage the 5 senses and how actively one can relate to them.

Zen gardens are a good example, as they recreate the act of playing with sand within the built environment.

Zen garden close-up.
Credit: Dirk Ercken

Textures engage deeply with our senses, bringing the mind back to the present moment. Incorporating them in designed spaces makes for more interesting and grounding spaces, while restoring a stronger connection with the natural world.

Biophilic design resources by anooi:
A Biophilic YearApplying Biophilic DesignVisual Library of Biophilic Design