The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Most Popular Drywall Texture

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Most Popular Drywall Texture


Drywall texture is an essential aspect of interior design that adds character and depth to your walls and ceilings.

As a versatile design element, it not only conceals imperfections but also adds a tactile dimension to your living spaces.

When selecting a drywall texture, homeowners and designers often look for styles that blend aesthetics with practicality.

Among the plethora of options available, certain textures have risen in popularity due to their visual appeal and ease of application.

The quest for the most popular drywall texture leads many to consider factors such as the room’s purpose, the home’s overall style, and the level of durability required.

In the dynamic world of drywall finishes, understanding the various types of wall textures and their application techniques is paramount.

From the subtle art of smooth wall texture types to the bold statement of heavy hand textures, each style offers a unique ambiance.

The decision between knockdown vs orange peel textures or the choice of a level 5 finish, for example, can drastically influence the mood and lighting of a room.

As DIY wall texture projects become increasingly popular, homeowners are empowered to personalize their space with textures ranging from the classic orange peel to the more intricate Santa Fe drywall texture.

Whether opting for a professional drywall texture sprayer or a simple drywall texture roller, the transformative effect of these textures is unmistakable, offering endless wall texture design possibilities.

Different Types of Drywall Texture

Absolutely, exploring the different types of drywall textures can be a thrilling journey through textures that can set the tone of any room.

Each texture type has its unique appeal and method of application, ranging from subtle to dramatic effects.

  1. Smooth Wall Texture Types:
    • Level 5 Drywall Finish: The pinnacle of smoothness, this is perfect for areas with bright lighting as it shows the least imperfections.
    • Skim Coat: A thin layer of drywall compound is applied to create a smooth surface.
  2. Textured Drywall Finish:
    • Orange Peel Texture: Named for its resemblance to the skin of an orange, this is a light texture applied with a sprayer.
    • Knockdown Texture: A step above orange peel, this texture is sprayed on and then “knocked down” with a knife to create a mottled texture.
    • Santa Fe Texture: A smoother version of knockdown with a more southwestern flair, featuring a two-tone texture with a very light skim over parts of the wall.
  3. Hand-Applied Drywall Textures:
    • Skip Trowel Texture: A hand-applied texture that gives a rustic, artisanal look with a Mediterranean vibe.
    • Heavy Hand Texture: This provides a highly tactile surface, often found in more traditional or rustic settings.
  4. Drywall Ceiling Texture Types:
    • Popcorn Texture: Often used on ceilings, this heavy texture also helps with sound dampening.
    • Swirl Texture: Circular patterns that add a classic and formal element to the ceiling.
  5. Specialty Textures:
    • Drywall Art and Custom Textures: Created by artisans who can craft unique patterns and designs.
    • Old World Texture: A term for a variety of hand-applied textures that offer an antique European look.

Each drywall texture offers not only a different aesthetic but also practical considerations such as ease of repair, the ability to hide imperfections, and the level of skill required for application.

When considering how to texture walls, factors such as the room’s function, the desired ambiance, and the overall interior design theme are critical.

Adding texture to walls is not just a stylistic choice but also a practical one as certain textures can be more forgiving and easier to maintain.

Whether you’re reaching for a drywall texture roller or a hand trowel to achieve your desired finish, remember that each texture type contributes uniquely to the style and feel of your space.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Drywall Texture

When choosing a drywall texture, there are several factors to consider to ensure that the final result aligns with your design goals and practical needs. Here’s a structured approach to help you navigate through the decision-making process:

  1. Aesthetic Appeal:
    • Consider the style of your home. For instance, a modern minimalist design may call for a Level 5 smooth finish or skim coat, while a heavy hand texture or knockdown could complement a rustic lookheavy hand texture or knockdown.
  2. Room Usage:
    • High-traffic areas or spaces prone to dirt, like hallways and children’s rooms, may benefit from textures that hide imperfections well, such as orange peel or knockdown textures.
  3. Lighting:
    • Natural and artificial lighting can dramatically affect the appearance of the texture. Lighter textures like orange peel or a light hand trowel can be more forgiving with variable lighting conditions.
  4. Acoustic Properties:
    • For spaces where sound dampening is desirable, such as home theaters or bedrooms, a heavier texture like popcorn ceiling texture can be advantageous.
  5. Ease of Application and Repair:
    • DIY enthusiasts might prefer textures that are easier to apply, such as orange peel or roll-on textures, which can be achieved with tools like a drywall texture roller or sponge.
    • For easy repairs, simpler textures like smooth finishes can be more manageable.
  6. Comparison of Popular Textures:
    • Orange Peel vs Knockdown: Orange peel is subtler and easier to apply, while knockdown offers a more pronounced look but requires a bit more technique to “knock down” the texture.
    • Hand Trowel vs Spray Textures: Hand trowel textures like skip trowel provide a more artisanal and custom finish, while spray textures offer uniformity and are typically faster to apply.
  7. Durability:
    • Some textures can be more durable and hide daily wear and tear better than others. Textures with more depth, like knockdown or hand textures, can mask dings and scratches effectively.
  8. Cost:
    • Textures requiring professional equipment, like a drywall texture sprayer, or more labor-intensive techniques, such as hand-applied textures, can be more costly.
  9. Maintenance:
    • Consider the long-term upkeep. Textures that are more intricate, like heavy hand textures, may gather dust and require more cleaning effort.
  10. Trends and Resale Value:

In summary, the best drywall texture for your space will balance aesthetic preferences with practical considerations such as durability, maintenance, and application methods.

Reviewing these factors can help you make an informed decision that complements your home’s design and fits your lifestyle.

Popular Drywall Texture Options

Let’s delve into some popular drywall texture options, highlighting their unique characteristics and the execution process for each.

  1. California Knockdown:
    • Appearance: A milder version of the traditional knockdown texture with smaller peaks and a more subtle look.
    • Execution: After the initial texture is sprayed onto the wall, it is partially smoothed down or ‘knocked down’ with a knockdown knife, creating a mottled texture with a soft, stucco-like appearance.
  2. Popcorn Texture:
    • Appearance: Also known as acoustic texture, it is recognized for its heavy, puffy look that resembles popcorn or cottage cheese.
    • Execution: This texture is applied using a hopper gun and contains a styrofoam or polystyrene aggregate that gives it its distinctive “popcorn” look. It’s excellent for sound dampening and hiding imperfections but is less popular in modern designs due to difficulty in cleaning and removal.
  3. Swirl Texture:
    • Appearance: Elegant in design, swirl patterns can be either smooth or rough, with circular loops creating a consistent, patterned surface.
    • Execution: The compound is applied with a brush or trowel in overlapping or non-overlapping circular motions. It requires a skilled hand to ensure the swirls are uniform and aesthetically pleasing, often used in ceilings for a classic decorative finish.
  4. Slap Brush Texture:
    • Appearance: Known for its random pattern, this texture creates a wild, stippled effect that brings a dynamic look to walls or ceilings.
    • Execution: It involves slapping a brush loaded with drywall compound against the wall and then pulling it away, leaving behind a pattern. The process may be repeated with various motions to create the desired effect. Also referred to as “crow’s feet” or “stomp brush” texture, it’s a choice for those wanting a unique, handcrafted finish.

These drywall texture options offer a variety of looks, from the subtle sophistication of California knockdown to the bold statement of slap brush.

Each texture not only brings its visual impact to a space but also has practical benefits, such as sound absorption with popcorn texture or the ability to hide wall imperfections with knockdown textures.

Designers should consider not just the final look but also factors like execution complexity, long-term maintenance, and compatibility with their overall design vision when selecting a texture for their home.

Drywall finishes types below.

Pros and Cons of Each Popular Drywall Texture

Each popular drywall texture option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the textures we just discussed:

  1. California Knockdown:
    • Pros: Adds depth and visual interest, adaptable to various styles.
    • Cons: It can be time-consuming to apply properly.
  2. Popcorn:
    • Pros: Excellent for hiding imperfections, provides acoustic benefits.
    • Cons: Challenging to clean, can date the look of a room.
  3. Swirl:
    • Pros: Adds elegance and sophistication to a space.
    • Cons: Requires skilled labor, more expensive than simpler textures.
  4. Slap Brush:
    • Pros: It creates a rustic and handmade look.
    • Cons: Can be difficult to achieve consistently, may require additional coats for the desired effect.

How to Choose the Most Suitable Drywall Texture for Your Project

Choosing the right drywall texture is an integral part of creating the aesthetic and functional atmosphere of a room. It not only adds to the visual appeal but also conceals imperfections and contributes to the overall value of your property. Here’s a detailed guide on selecting the most fitting drywall texture for your project:


When planning a renovation or a new build, the selection of drywall texture can significantly impact the room’s ambiance.

Drywall textures range from smooth finishes that offer a modern look to more artistic and tactile options like knockdown or orange peel textures, each providing a distinct style and feel.

The choice of texture should align with the room’s purpose, complement its design elements, and meet your personal preferences.

Detailed Steps for Choosing Drywall Texture

  1. Identify the Purpose of the Room:
    • Bedrooms and living areas often benefit from smoother textures for a refined look.
    • High-traffic areas or those prone to damage, like playrooms or garages, may do well with more durable textures.
  2. Consider the Style of Your Home:
    • Modern and contemporary homes may look best with a subtle or smooth finish.
    • Traditional homes can be enhanced with more textured options.
  3. Understand the Impact of Texture on Space:
    • Lighter textures can make a room feel larger and more open.
    • Heavier textures add depth and character but can make a space feel smaller.
  4. Research Drywall Texture Options:
    • Smooth finish for a sleek, modern appeal.
    • Orange peel for a subtle yet tactile feel.
    • Knockdown for a rustic, more traditional look.
    • Popcorn (usually for ceilings) for high noise reduction.
  5. Gather Samples and Test Them:
    • Apply small sections of different textures on drywall scraps.
    • View them under different lighting conditions to see how they interact.
  6. Evaluate the Maintenance Requirements:
    • Smooth textures are easier to clean but show imperfections more.
    • Heavier textures hide blemishes but can be harder to repair.
  7. Consult with Professionals:
    • A drywall contractor or interior designer can offer insights based on experience.
    • They can advise on trends, application techniques, and longevity.


Selecting the correct drywall texture for your project is a decision that should be made with both aesthetic and practical considerations in mind.

By researching and understanding the options, considering the room’s purpose and your home’s style, and consulting with professionals, you can choose a texture that enhances your space and suits your lifestyle.

Remember to view samples in various lighting conditions and consider the long-term maintenance of your chosen texture.

With these steps, you can confidently choose a drywall texture that you’ll be satisfied with for years to come.

Tips for Achieving the Most Popular Drywall Texture

Drywall textures can dramatically change the look and feel of a room. They add character, depth, and can even play a role in camouflaging minor structural flaws.

Whether you’re aiming for a subtle orange peel or a more dramatic knockdown texture, the application process requires careful attention to detail.

Below are some expert tips to ensure your drywall texture is applied beautifully and stands the test of time.

Expert Tips for Drywall Texturing

  1. Impeccable Surface Preparation:
    • Clean walls thoroughly to remove dust and debris.
    • Repair any holes or imperfections to create a smooth canvas.
    • Apply a high-quality primer to ensure even texture adhesion.
  2. Consistency in Texture Mixture and Application:
    • Use the same batch of texture mix for an entire wall to avoid color and texture variations.
    • Regularly stir the texture mix during application to maintain uniformity.
    • Apply texture uniformly, whether using a sprayer, roller, or trowel.
  3. Practice Makes Perfect:
    • Experiment with application techniques on a piece of cardboard or spare drywall.
    • Adjust the consistency of your texture material to find the best application thickness.
    • Time your techniques to ensure the texture has the right amount of time to set before manipulation.
  4. Layering for Richness and Depth:
  5. Tools and Technique Mastery:
    • Select the right tools for the desired texture—different knives, brushes, and sprayers create distinct effects.
    • Maintain consistent pressure and angle when applying texture.
    • For hand-applied textures, perfect your stroke technique to ensure a uniform pattern.
  6. Environmental Considerations:
    • Control room temperature and humidity to promote even drying.
    • Avoid texturing under direct sunlight or in a draft, as this can cause the texture to dry unevenly.
  7. Finishing Touches:
    • After the final coat, inspect the texture from different angles and lighting to catch any inconsistencies.
    • Sand lightly between coats if necessary to maintain a smooth finish.
    • Seal the texture with the appropriate paint or finish to protect your work.


The application of drywall texture is a nuanced process that can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your spaces. With diligent preparation, consistent application, and a willingness to practice, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the craft.

Remember to give each step the attention it deserves, from mixing your texture to the final coat. By following these tips, you’ll achieve a professional-looking texture that enhances the charm and character of any room.

Drywall smooth texture can be achieved with some regular old tools. It’s the hands who hold them.

Hiring a Professional for Drywall Texture Installation

Deciding whether to embark on a DIY drywall texture project or to hire a professional depends on several factors including cost, time, skill level, and the quality of work you’re aiming to achieve.

Let’s explore both avenues to help inform your decision:

DIY Drywall Texture Installation


  • Cost Savings: Doing the work yourself can save on labor costs.
  • Learning Opportunity: You can acquire a new skill and gain hands-on experience.
  • Full Control: You have complete creative control over the project’s timeline and the final look.


  • Time Commitment: It may take longer to complete the project yourself, especially if you are learning as you go.
  • Quality of Finish: Without experience, you might not achieve the same quality as a professional.
  • Tools and Materials: You’ll need to invest in or rent the proper tools, which could offset some cost savings.

Hiring a Professional for Drywall Texture Installation


  1. Expertise:
    • Professionals bring a wealth of experience, ensuring a high-quality finish.
    • They can handle complex textures and techniques with precision.
  2. Time and Efficiency:
    • A professional team can complete the job more quickly and efficiently.
    • This allows you to redirect your focus to other tasks or projects.
  3. Tools and Equipment:
    • Professionals have the right tools for any texture you choose, saving you the hassle and expense of acquiring them.
  4. Warranty and Guarantee:
    • The work often comes with a warranty, offering peace of mind and protection against future issues.


  • Cost: Professional services will be more expensive than doing it yourself.
  • Scheduling: You will need to work around the availability of the professionals.


Your choice between DIY and hiring a professional for drywall texture installation will ultimately hinge on your priorities. If the budget is tight and you’re eager to learn, DIY could be rewarding.

However, if you’re looking for a guaranteed high-quality finish, efficiency, and peace of mind, investing in professional services might be the way to go.

Weigh the pros and cons in the context of your unique situation to make the best decision for your project.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

In concluding the discussion on drywall texture installation, it’s essential to weigh the options between the hands-on DIY approach and the expertise of professional services.

Your decision should consider factors such as cost-effectiveness, the complexity of the texture, personal experience, and the quality of the desired finish.

If you have the time and are keen to develop your DIY skills, taking on the project yourself can be a satisfying and potentially cost-saving endeavor.

However, the expertise, efficiency, specialized tools, and the assurance of a warranty that professional installers offer can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project.

Whether you’re updating a single room or undertaking a full-scale renovation, the texture of your drywall is a crucial design element that contributes to the overall aesthetic and feel of your home.

Remember, the beauty of a well-textured wall lies in the subtleties of its finish and the craftsmanship behind it. So, choose the path that will best achieve your vision for a beautifully textured space.