At various points in the web’s history, it’s been seen as fashionable to see just how much of a web design you can create with just HTML and CSS — including images in the design only where absolutely needed, such as icons. It’s a great exercise for honing your skills: how far can I go with just code? But in the real world, some of the most gorgeous sites are created with multiple layers of textures, requiring the inclusion of many images by necessity.

Here are 30 web designs that make heavy use of textures, whether they’re trendy noise textures, now old-fashioned grunge textures or something else entirely. One thing they all have in common? They look better than half of those fast-loading but image-free designs.

The Seen

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Carlos

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Solid Giant

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Vector Stories

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Cognition

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

All Star Lanes

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Six11Ink

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Carbonica

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Jeroen Homan

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

SimpleBits

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Hugs for Monsters

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

AdFlavor

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

The Brown Corporation

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Bern Unlimited

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Edgepoint Church

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Schepps Design

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Sundance Institute

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Infinitum

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

e-One

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

I Am Todd

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Salt of the Earth

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Jeff Sarmiento

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

David Hellmann

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Jambalaya

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Reklama Audio

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

MapBox

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Toby Powell

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

MacTarnahan’s Amber Ale

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

Rockatee Design

30 Brilliantly Textured Web Designs for Your Inspiration

It’s worth noting that with the advent of CSS3, tools such as Patternify have started springing up that make it possible to include PNG patterns in your CSS code as Base 64 text. It’s impractical to try and cover the full range of textures and implementations this way, but it’s perhaps the coolest, most performance-conscious way of handling images in CSS since sprites.

What are some of your own favorite textured web designs? Let us know about them in the comments!

Want to submit some cool web designs? Enter a web design contest online.