Smooth vs. Textured Walls: Which Is Better to Refinish Walls?


Smooth vs. Textured Walls

When people think about giving their walls a makeover, they usually think of all the beautiful paint colors they could throw on them. Or, maybe they think of the posters and paintings they want to hang up on them. Or maybe they want macrame knots all over the place. They think of a lot of things.

What most people don’t think about is the texture of their walls—but they should. Interior design incorporates a huge number of variables that can add or take away from a place’s overall look. Over the years, the trend oscillated between smooth and textured walls.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not you should opt for a textured look, we’ll say it right now. Smooth walls are, by and large, the better option. Here’s what you need to know about the textured wall trend and why you want to skip on it…

An Introduction to Smooth And Textured Walls

Before we get into a comparison, it’s a good idea to know what you’re dealing with and why. Here are the basics of each wall type and why they have their appeals…

What’s The Deal With Textured Walls?

Textured walls have been an “on and off” trend for the better part of the last century. The idea behind having texture on your walls is simple: it adds dimension to a home’s design.

Over the past couple of decades, there have been several iterations of the trend that have really stuck out, including:

  • Orange Peel Walls. Remember when everything had that crepey, orange peel texture, including walls? This look can still be occasionally found at gastropubs and the like; but is mostly an early-2000s trend.
  • Textured Wallpaper. Perhaps one of the oldest trends in textured walls, the use of textured wallpaper was popular in the 1960s, then in the 1980s, and at times, even in the 1940s.
  • Popcorn Walls. Often including a popcorn ceiling, this was an 80s trend known for highly pronounced bumps.
  • Faux Stucco. This trend, popular in several decades, is known for giving homes a stone look.

Why Do People Get Textured Walls?

Aside from being very trendy (when they’re trendy, anyway), the biggest reason why people get textured walls is because it makes a serious statement. Texture adds a unique splash of style that can stand (for the most part) all on its own.

Textured walls can give an otherwise drab room personality and also make it easier for you to work a design without too many art accents. Smooth walls, on the other hand, can demand extra artwork or specialty lighting to get the same “pop.”

What’s The Deal With Smooth Walls?

Smooth walls are exactly what they sound like. They are walls that are made to look smooth—or at least, standard in texture. Most homes have smooth walls. You can get them in any color paint you want, but smoothness can vary from a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the smoothes.

Why Do People Get Smooth Walls?

If you’re looking for a timeless ambiance, smooth walls are for you. People adore this wall texture category because it works wonders in every room and can work with almost every style. Smooth walls are versatile and can be paired with almost any kind of decor. It’s up to you to make the statement you want, though!

Now that we know a little bit about each wall type, let’s talk about the major aspects of each and figure out which wins.

Smooth vs. Textured Walls: The Comparisons

Now that we know a little more about each wall type and how they’re used in designs, it’s time to talk about the other factors that can impact your choice.

Which Is Cheaper?

If price is your primary concern, then smooth walls are going to be a quick and easy win. Textured walls are notoriously expensive to install and remove regardless of the texture that you choose. Smooth walls, on the other hand, can be accomplished with a standard paintbrush and paint kit.

Even if you choose to get level 5 smoothness n your walls, you won’t spend as much as you would for most textured wall styles. That alone makes them a better option for people who need to watch their budgets.

Which Is Easier To Do?

Textured walls are notoriously difficult to install, especially when you’re talking about textures like popcorn or orange peel. Smooth walls can be difficult in their own ways, but it’s easier to correct an error with a smooth wall than it is to correct a mistake done on a textured wall.

It’s worth pointing out that the ease of painting smooth walls tends to be reflected in the price tags construction companies need. If you have to turn a textured wall into a smooth one, expect a very high price tag compared to a standard color switch.

Which Is Easier To Clean?

Technically, this could be an even tie depending on what texture you choose. Textured wallpaper is pretty easy to clean, after all. However, that’s where the tie stops being a tie.

With all the dips and dents that come with textured walls, grime builds up quickly. Smooth walls are fairly easy to clean as long as you have high-quality paint. All you need to do is add some dish soap to water and wipe them down. Most textured walls tend to be harder to clean, even if they can be cleaned with dish soap.

Think about the mechanics here. With smooth walls, it’s one simple wipe up and down. Textured walls are more involved. The bumps make scrubbing difficult, and to make matters worse, textured walls don’t always react as well to soap. If you have porous walls, they might become borderline impossible to clean.

Which Is More Versatile?

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Textured walls are mostly a “trendy” matter. They look great with a very precise set of decorations, most often linked to a very specific period of time. Once that period of time is over, rooms that have textured walls have a tendency of looking dated or just downright retro.

If retro’s what you’re going for, then great! Textured walls could be for you, as long as you don’t expect your taste in interiors to change. Otherwise, sticking to a smooth wall might be your best option. Having smooth walls is the easiest way to prevent your home from looking dated.

Is It Possible to Have Textured Walls In A Modern Home?

Though it’s not easy, it’s always possible to use textured walls in a modern setting. After all, there are no laws that say you can’t use texture in a new way. However, it’s not easy to do. You will have to be very creative to make it happen.

How Hard Can It Be To Get Rid Of Textured Walls?

A lot of people tend to feel “stuck” with them because they can be so difficult to work with. Depending on the wall type, you might have to do anything from sanding down your wall, to replacing the wallpaper, to removing the drywall just so you can refinish it.

Our Final Take

If you’re looking to update your walls at home, textured options might look attractive right now…but they won’t be that hot six months from now. If you want to make sure your walls have the versatility, low maintenance, and elegance you want, smooth is the way to go.

Otherwise, you might be in for a bumpy ride.

Isaac Atia

I am a home improvement enthusiast who enjoys sharing my tips and latest projects with other homeowners. When not working on the house, I enjoy playing soccer, hiking, traveling, and retail therapy!

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