The Psychology of Texture: Creating Multi-Sensory Experiences

Texture is essential in helping our brains make sense of our environment. Here are some basics to consider when incorporating them into your home.

Being an ardently tactile person, a lot of my design (fashion and interior) decisions are made after I’ve had the chance to touch something. Texture is one of my favourite elements in design because of the multisensory experience it provides. As it can be seen as a subgroup of the pattern category — it is basically a 3D, mono-coloured version of a pattern — this lesson is more of a short addendum to our last lesson on pattern.

Nainoa Architecture & Interiors
Newlab Co-working space designed by Civilian

You might have a favourite texture—the soft shag of carpet, the glaze of ceramic wall tiles, the sheen of silk wall coverings, the coarseness of brick walls, and so on—or you might love them all. Some textures are great at communicating luxury while others convey simplicity. The following images are just some of my current favourite ways to create dimensionality within designs.

Gossier Flagship Store NYC by Gachot Studios
Grotto designed by Kim Haddou & Florent Dufourcq, Photography by luc Bertrand
IO Beauty Gallery designed by Asthetique Design Studio
Studio Paolo Ferrari

Psychology Insight: Constructing a 3-Dimensional Reality

In order for a baby’s vision to develop, touch is essential. Babies use touch to combine tactile with visual information to understand the world in three dimensions. Without this touch, the images in our eyes would be meaningless patterns.

Lesson 1

Texture In An Environment

As with everything, texture doesn’t exist within a void. To use texture in the most space-enhancing way it is important to get to know the room in which you intend to use it.

Texture And Light

Understand how daylight works in the room, as our eyes need light to identify texture. Texture also impacts how light is spread in a room and should perhaps be used sparingly in an already dark room unless of course, you are trying to enhance the moodiness of the room.

    Avalon Hotel by Kelly Wearstler
    Burberry Store Oxford Circus

Texture And Sound

Remember that different textures, especially texture used for flooring, will affect the sound of a room.

  • If listening to music in your lounge is paramount to your well-being you might want to forgo a thick, shaggy rug.

  • If you use your lounge for regular HIIT workouts, then a carpet might come in handy and might keep you from falling out of favour with your downstairs neighbours.

How To Combine Different Textures

  • The first key to combining textures is to go by family resemblance. For example: linen curtains, hemp or jute rug, unglazed ceramics, wool pillows, oiled wooden floorboards, etc. are all part of the “nature” family.

    Quinta Comporta by Manolo Yllera
    Restaurant Mo de Movimiento designed by Lucas Munoz
  • Another major key to combining textures is to balance them. For example: Shiny vs. matt, hard vs. soft, etc.

    Tadelakt-look wallpaint 'Marrakech Walls' by Pure & Original
    Breadway Bakery designed by Sivak+Partners
    Fig Face Facial Bar by Scott and Scott Architects

Need some help incorporating texture into your home? Hit me up on Instagram and I'll try my best to help you!

Share On

Continue Reading

Lets Stay connected

Sign up to my newsletter and be the first to know about new posts.