Here we share the different wall texture types including their benefits to help you choose the best one for your home’s interior design.
While a room’s color is often the first thing we think of when a room is feeling dull or lifeless, the texture is an effective tool for bringing life back into space. Texture has the added benefit of adding depth and dimension to a space, and even color-averse designers can benefit from it.
It doesn’t stop with your curtains, pillows, or rugs. Adding texture to your walls, such as sand swirl or slap brush, stimulates both the sight and feel, making it a desirable design element to add an engagement.
Dressing up your walls with natural materials like marble and wood, or even paint and wallpaper with perceived texture effects, will instantly liven up a room that’s falling flat without taking up any surface space.
Types of Texture Styles
In terms of interior design, walls are crucial in determining the general appearance and atmosphere of any space. Yet, plain walls may become boring after a while. Texture enters the picture here.
Your walls can be instantly transformed into a compelling work of art that adds depth and visual intrigue by adding texture. There are many different wall texture designs available, each with a special flair to transform your room into something stylish and show some personality.
There is a texture style to fit your taste and give your home fresh life, whether you want a traditional smooth finish or a more detailed design.
The combed texture is your perfect choice when you want to add a sense of movement and style variations. As the term implies, combing motions are used in a comb texture.
Using a brush or trowel, apply a combing motion just after applying drywall mud. The standard version has simple arc patterns. Another option is having an alternate pattern of your typical fan and shell-like pattern. Alternatively, you can use 3D Artex Comb Wall Texture.
A layer of dimpled texture is applied following the application and sanding of the first layer of thin drywall mud. This “orange peel” finish is probably the most popular wall texture.
It can be rolled on with a thick nap roller or sprayed on with a mud hopper and air compressor. The thickness of the texture can be changed to achieve a variety of effects.
As one of the simpler wall texture styles, it’s an excellent option for modern homes. This additional texturing is perfect in breaking a monotonous wall finish or to fill in the long stretches of wall and create a focal point or backdrop for wall art.
This is a traditional drywall texture that is frequently used by people who want to add depth to the appearance of their paint. It is a popular style in the southwest, particularly in New Mexico and Texas, and is especially prevalent in homes with that aesthetic.
The application is straightforward. The texture is applied to the wall and then smoothed over with a wide drywall knife shortly afterward. This is referred to as ‘knocking down” the texture, hence the name.
This texture can be created by stomping star patterns across the wall with a brush. You’ll need a roller and stomp brush to make the design.
To create this texture, gently press the brush across the wall as if it were stamped, then smooth out any peaks or high spots with a knockdown knife.
Compound mud is recommended for this purpose because it adheres well to the surface. This allows for simple design and, as a result, a neat appearance. Although more popularly used on ceilings, the stomp knockdown is an attractive wall texture.
If you want a fully dimensional texture, the sand swirl is your perfect option. These types of drywall textures have been popular in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the U.S. and are more commonly found on ceilings, but they can also be found on the walls of apartment buildings.
As the name implies, a swirl texture leaves a swirled pattern of half circles across the wall surface.
The pattern generally moves across the wall as a collection of circles laying on top of one another until the circles end up at the opposite end of the room. A variation of this texture uses silica sand to give the swirled drywall mud that rough look.
This classic texture is an excellent way to hide away imperfections and is considered one of the easiest and simplest texturing you can do. Because of its random application, any DIYer can create this attractive wall texture. It is also termed as “mud trowel knockdown,” “Santa Fe,” or “Spanish Knockdown.”
The skip trowel drywall texture is created by “skipping” a thin drywall joint compound as it is pushed across a wall or ceiling with a trowel. Trowel strokes are applied in a random, arching pattern, resulting in a distressed and uneven finish.
But don’t be fooled by what appears to be an ad hoc application. When applied correctly, skip trowel texture creates a stunning, professional drywall finish.
Also termed as “crows feet” or “stomp texture,” “stomp brush,” or “stipple,” the slap brush is simple to apply to drywall surfaces with basic drywall compound or “mud.”
The resulting texture has a fan-like or sunburst effect due to the texture brush’s fanned-out bristles.
The technique is simple, and you can create different textures by overlapping the stomp pattern more or less, changing the thickness of the mud, or using a different brush than leaves a distinct imprint. The depth of the ridges in the joint compound is usually determined by the stiffness of the bristles.
As previously mentioned this is the same as slap brush. A distinct feature of stipple texture is the noticeable raised points that look like valleys or stalagmites. There are variations of stipple texture with varying densities. A modern version would have much flatter or even subtler raised valleys.
The common method of creating the stripper texture is by using a round or oval textured brush against a wet plastered wall and then pulling the brush to create the valleys. This motion is called “stomping.” Stipple is mostly used in ceilings, but the texturized finish is also common for feature or perimeter walls.
A popcorn ceiling, also known as a stipple ceiling or an acoustic ceiling, is a ceiling that has been treated with one of several spray-on or paint-on treatments.
It is characterized by having a bumpy surface created by tiny particles of vermiculite or polystyrene, which provide sound-deadening properties to the ceiling.
Fine, medium and coarse grades of mixtures are available. It was popular in the 1970s, but it is now more commonly used for external walling. Visit our guide on ceiling texture types for more ideas.
The term “Italian Plaster” refers to a plaster material made of slaked limestone. Marble dust or other natural materials may be present in the Venetian texture. To achieve the look, use a trowel in very thin layers to create a rich, three-dimensional look with depth and movement. It is perfectly smooth to the touch while also providing a lovely visual texture.
It can gleam with a high shine after being burnished. Some of our clients prefer a matte finish, which, while not the traditional look, can be quite stunning in this application. After completely drying, the plaster undergoes carbonization and transforms into stone.
The texture of a crow’s foot is very similar to that of a stomp brush. The difference, and the source of the technique’s name, is in the brush itself.
A crow’s foot is made up of two oval stomp brushes that are mounted side by side.
If you want a slightly more orderly ceiling texture, or if you want to texture a ceiling in half the number of stomps, this is a good option.
The rosebud drywall texture is named after the likeness of a single, round stomp to a flower, with the center bud and petals radiating out.
The rosebud drywall technique is similar to the brush stomp technique, but it is applied evenly so that each stomp is visible and does not overlap the others significantly.
Rosebud Stomp drywall texture is popular on ceilings in the Midwest of the United States. Rosebud derives its name from the appearance it creates of an opened rose flower with petals rolling out in a circular pattern from the center.
The spray sand ceiling texture looks exactly like it sounds!
Sand is mixed with primer, water, or very thin mud before being sprayed onto the ceiling with a hopper gun.
When done correctly, it results in a textured surface that does not crack and separate like an orange peel texture.
Spray sand is commonly used as a subtle accent on ceilings, but it can also be found on walls.
This type of wall texture is achieved by passing a thin-edged tool like a chisel vertically or picking along a drying plastered surface. The technique is basically an etching motion producing vertical scratches on the surface. A dragged texture has a rustic or vintage appearance with uneven vertical striations.
Dragged texture creates a visually dynamic and textured appearance on walls or other surfaces. The linear or striated patterns produced by the dragging technique add visual interest and can complement different design styles, from contemporary to traditional. The choice of colors, textures, and dragging tools can further enhance the overall effect.
A signature finish during the Arts and Crafts movement where the texture is distinct on the use of small pebbles or aggregates that is embedded into a cement or mortar-based wall. The small bumps of the pebbles produce the textured surface. Pebble dash is often used outdoors.
Pebble dash should be distinct from roughcasting as both have different application techniques. Pebble Dash uses pebbles thrown on the wet plaster and securely embedded into the surface compound. On the other hand, roughcasting will have the pebbles mixed with mortar and then applied to the wall.
Santa Fe Texture
Considered a lighter version of the skip trowel texture, Santa Fe’s texture appears to have a rough, uneven surface, usually resembling the traditional adobe or stucco finishes with subtle ridges and irregular patterns.
Santa Fe texture refers to a type of textured wall finish commonly found in Southwest and Santa Fe-style architecture.
After the texture is applied, it may be left as is or further enhanced with additional details or decorative elements, a perfect alternative to a flat surface.
Santa Fe Texture may also use such as faux painting techniques, color washes, or glazes to enhance the desired Santa Fe aesthetic.
The Spanish lace is beautiful wall texturing that offers intricate visual details but not as pronounced as the plain knockdown or California knockdown. The process starts by creating knockdown patterns by applying joint or texturing compound spatters and flattening or knocking them down with a drywall knife.
However, converting a basic knockdown pattern into Spanish lace requires some skill. When the compound is the right consistency, and the knife is handled correctly, the individual spatters are interconnected by fine lines to create an overall effect resembling a lace veil.
As the term implies, a sponge is dappled against a plastered wall while curing, and the result is a textured surface with a cloud-like appearance. Paint is sometimes added to create a gradient look due to the varying amounts of paint during the dappling motion on the surface. The result is a richly textured surface with minimal bumps.
The technique used with the sponge can be varied to achieve different effects. Experiment with different sponge sizes, densities, and textures to create varied patterns and textures. Also, the technique can have different outcomes depending on the pressure, angles, or twisting motions while applying the sponge to the surface.
A bark texture simulates the look of natural wood bark and can be achieved by any DIYer using a textured roller with bark patterns to stamp along a compounded wall surface.
Skilled masons can create the bark texture by using natural wood to transfer the pattern by using the wood planks with texture as formworks during concrete pouring. The said textured wood planks can also be pressed against wet compounds and removed after 24 hours.
Artists may use painting or airbrushing techniques to mimic the colors and patterns of bark on different surfaces. Texture stamps or molds can also be used to create bark-like impressions on materials like concrete or plaster.
A smooth finish is a wall surface with no bumps or valleys. The leveled surface is achieved by typically adding a skimming process where a thin layer of compound fills the wall, eliminating any lumps, dents, or other irregular contours.
Applying paint directly without a compound on a sanded drywall or skim-coated bricked or poured concrete wall can be considered a smooth finish, given that the surface does not show visible texture.
Smooth walls significantly collect less dust and other allergens making the wall finish a preferred option for busy areas such as the kitchen or bathroom area.
Moreover, molds and mildew are less likely to grow as there are no clefts or nodules for grime and water to get trapped. This also makes the surface easier to clean, and regular wiping can maintain the look of a smooth wall.
Spaces that receive less natural light can benefit from smooth walls as they allow light to bounce off the surface, easily distributing light throughout the room, especially for a glossy finish.
There are a number of different finishes with different degrees of sheen. An eggshell finish, for instance, has a low amount of luster but is shinier than a flat finish and is often used in high-traffic areas as it provides just the right amount of gloss and is easier to clean.
A brushed texture is created using a brush tool with stiff bristles and applying strokes on a wall surface evenly applied with wet compounds or mud. Parallel strokes of the brush are usually applied in one direction.
A brushed texture will appear with fine striations where the most common are in horizontal, vertical, or diagonal directions. The tufts’ amount, fineness, and shape depend on the brush used, angle, and pressure. The most common brush use is skip float.
The linear pattern makes it great for modern and contemporary themes, as it conveys a sense of order and consistency. Fine brushed linear patterns are also featured in an industrial or modern pattern.
Drywall Mud Texture
Also referred to as compound or drywall texture, a drywall mud texture is a general term referring to a textured finish on drywall surfaces made by spraying a compound with a thick consistency.
Usually, a hopper gun is used to apply the plaster on the drywall. A drywall mud texture can be harder to apply level compared to a pre-applied wall compound. Premixed drywall compound can also be used.
Hawk And Trowel
The tools used to create the texture are referred to as the hawk and trowel. The hawk is a flat plate with a handle on the underside.
Plaster is placed in a mound in the center of the hawk, and a flat rectangular trowel is used to apply the plaster to the hawk’s wall.
The Hawk and Trowel interior wall texture have more straight-line designs and several layers of texture rolling over one another as a result of these tools. See our plaster shower walls guide here.
How to Choose a Texture for the Wall
For this question we asked professional interior designer Giezl Ilustre her process for choosing a wall texture and here’s her answer:
A wall serves as the blank canvas of any part of a home. It plays a more significant role than one might think as it can set the overall tone and mood of your space. Even a simple change in a color undertone of a room will completely affect how it looks. Add that to other factors such as natural light, artificial light, and other surrounding elements.
In most cases, especially in contemporary interior designs, walls are kept plain: they are easy, cheap, and will basically never go out of style. Aside from that, some people have other restrictions, especially renters renting properties that they are not allowed to repaint or refinish.
For the people with the freedom to do so, though, changing your wall color and texture would give your room a totally new look for less (at least compared to changing furniture or upholstery!)! For example, if you’re looking into revamping any space in your home but would like to keep your existing furniture pieces, wall textures can totally transform your space.
It’s an easy way to hide imperfections and add more dimension to your space. Some other benefits (depending on the texture) include soundproofing, additional durability, and extra depth.
There are a lot of wall textures that you can choose from (see the different wall texture options here). Although that could be a good thing, that can also be pretty overwhelming! Don’t worry though, here’s an easy guide to help you decide.
Let’s start by helping you filter the general texture category you want for your walls.
Check your existing wall condition
Are there any wall imperfections that you want to cover? Is your existing paint/wall color dark and do you want to paint it in a lighter color?
If you answer yes to any of the above, coarse wall textures would be a perfect choice. They tend to have better coverage and tend to hide imperfections.
So if you are going lighter from dark walls, or if your wall has been through a lot of wear and tear (drill holes, minor cracks, etc), coarse textures will help hide them with less effort.
For major/obvious imperfections, orange peel, sand swirl, popcorn, and spray sand textures are great options.
- Your wall is in a good condition
- Your wall is painted in a fairly light color
If this is your room, then you can basically choose any type of wall texture you want: coarse, flat, or even glossy!
Your budget & DIY skills
One of the most significant determining and limiting factors of your wall revamp would be your budget. Will you DIY? Will you hire a professional?
Some wall textures require more professional equipment, and some simply need a brush, roller, or towel. For example, spray sand texture and popcorn texture requires extra tools/equipment, while comb texture just requires a trowel to achieve the texture.
If you’re on a DIY budget and have little to no experience, the best options would be:
Comb – a trowel or a special comb tool, and a steady hand is all you need
Sandswirl – can be applied with simple swirling motions to a mixture of perlite and a texturing primer
Knockdown / Stomp knockdown – easiest texture even for the inexperienced
If you have some advanced DIY skills/experience, you can try the following:
Orange Peel – best for covering flaws and for soundproofing
Slap brush – can be done with a variety of stiff paint brushes, but requires some good technique
Venetian – requires some experience and skill, but gives a gorgeous classic look
These are some general suggestions if you have a limited budget. But there are a lot of wall texture varieties and you just need to choose depending on your confidence in your skills, and your existing tools/equipment.
If you have more room in your budget, then you can just choose according to the look and function that you are interested in. As a general rule, smoother wall textures are usually more expensive as it is more labor-intensive.
Depending on where you are and the intricacy of the style, texturing walls can cost you anywhere between $.80 to $3 per square foot. If there is an existing wall texture that you want to paint over, the cost will start higher (around $1.50 to $4) because the original texture will need to be stripped, primed and re-textured.
Benefits of Texture
We’re always looking for new ways to improve our homes, and the walls are a great place to start as it takes most of the whole visual space in a room. You can experiment with different paints, colors, murals, lighting, and other design elements when painting your walls.
However, a little texture on your walls can sometimes be just what you need. Here are a few compelling reasons why textured paint is the way to go if you want to add a little flair to your rooms.
While redecorating a room can entail purchasing new furniture and decor, painting is frequently the simplest and most cost-effective option. But rather than sticking with the usual plain finish, textured walls allow you to transform your space in a matter of days without breaking the bank.
Creating a textured accent wall with kitchen utensils such as spoons and stamps can be a fun project.
As almost all decorative wall options can be customized, using a textured wall is the easiest way to add some personality to your space. You can retrace a picture from a magazine on your wall or experiment while painters are at work; textured walls are a great place to add a personal touch.
Remember that wallpapers, murals, and even accent walls do not provide you with this level of freedom. See our accent wall colors guide to get more ideas.
With the many variations of textured walls, you can create different looks for various spaces.
While murals, wall decals, and other decorative wall options require more tools and expertise than textured paint, textured paint requires fewer materials and labor, making it a more cost-effective option.
Furthermore, you can reduce the cost of your textured paint by selecting something less glossy and less expensive because when the paint is applied to provide texture, the gloss of the paint does not matter as much as the gloss of the base paints.
Reduces Moisture Build-Up
Although paint is not waterproof, texture coating can help prevent mold and mildew growth in humid environments.
Water cannot enter your home through the texture coating from the outside, but moisture produced on the inside can escape as a vapor, allowing your home to breathe.
Textured paint is a low-cost and straightforward way to update and redecorate your space. One advantage of using textured paint is that redecorating does not always necessitate redoing the paint job.
You can instantly add some freshness to your walls by simply adding or scraping off a layer (depending on the wall conditions).
Check our free design software guide to help you visualize your home designing projects.