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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.
Credit (from top left): Marazzi (via Instagram), Colin King, Wonderwall Studios (via Instagram). Moodboard: anooi studio

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

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.
Credit: Erinn V. Design Group (via Houzz)
A contemporary living room with huge fireplace cladded in dark stone.
Credit: ALTUS Architecture + Design (via Houzz)

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.
Credit: Elevated vase by Muuto
Minimal stone vases with various stems inside.
Credit: Jono Smart (via Instagram)

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.
Close-up of textured wall tiles recalling the wavy shape of sand moved by the wind.
Credits: Absolute White by Marazzi

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 rewild the wall.

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.
Credit: Marek Sikora Photography (via Houzz)

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.
Credit: mellsva (via Etsy)
Red armchair on a rug made with little individual wood felt flowers.
Credit: Little field of flowers by Nanimarquina (via Instagram)

The power of textures lies 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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