To follow on from the physical experiments I tried out creating environments in photoshop. I got as far as the experiments below, struggling a fair bit as I went. I then realised it might be easier to create a big old list of objects and junk easily found within an attic and redesign those objects with several texture environments in mind. Like the image of the lamp below.
When I eventually decide on the texture theme I would like (possibly as a result of these experiments) I can continue to create the objects in that style and when I complete the list, assemble the objects in a photoshop scene (or block it out in Maya) until the environment is as I like it.