You’ve probably been heard about the advantages of decorating with natural materials like marble, wood, metals, and clay. Chances are, you’ve also wandered what exactly counts as “natural”. It’s okay, you’re not alone. In the world of interiors, “natural” is a broad term that encompasses any renewable resource that is harvested from the earth for use.
These days, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the quality of the products that they use – and rightly so. Products that are less processed are better for you and the environment. As people add more organically-farmed whole foods into their diets and start to DIY chemical-free versions of household products, taking a similar approach to interior design is the next logical step.
If you’re still hesitant about jumping on the bandwagon, listen up. You’re missing out. Read on to find out why renewable resources are the way to go when it comes to your décor. You might just change your mind.
Renewable Materials are Durable:
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “They don’t make these things the way that they used to” and it’s true. Think about the family heirlooms that have been given prominent places in your parents’ living rooms. They are probably in relatively good shape compared to the commercially produced furniture you bought just a few years ago. One reason for the longer lifespan of those pieces is the builders’ reliance on natural products.
Building materials that have beem harvested from the earth are extremely durable. Cork, which is made from the bark of cork trees, is incredibly springy. (Picture the way a wine cork retains its shape after being released from the bottle.) and unlikely to dent no matter what gets dropped on it. Granite is the hardest and densest natural stone, which helps maintain its luster and resist staining for longer than comparable materials.
Of course, for maximum durability these items require proper care. While each should be handled per the manufacturers instructions, but here are a few things to keep in mind: Always sand wood before staining or sealing it. Avoid acidic cleaners when wiping down stone and metals.
Your Interiors Will Be On-Trend:
Nature had a huge impact on our list of interior design trends and we’re not the only ones. When it comes to creating a trendy interior, using green materials is definitely the way to go.
Designers are practically jumping at the chance to create products that bring nature into your home, which means you have the chance to incorporate them into nearly every aspect of your décor. Go big and make a statement with a copper bathtub. For a subtler feel, consider buying furniture made from eco-friendly fibers. Smaller still, add bamboo shades to your windows to keep out the afternoon sun.
Don’t be afraid to mix materials either. Lighter bamboo flooring will really help a your large, wooden dining table to make a statement. Metal light fixtures will give a touch of glamour to nearly every style of design.
They Ensure A Timeless Decor:
Embracing a timeless style is key if you want your interiors to last. Who wants to redo their décor every few years as tastes change, especially if they’ll circle back around into favor in a few more years? Sustainable materials tend to top the list of timeless styles since they’ve been around nearly as long as the concept of interior design itself.
Your first step is to choose a material that fits best with your personal style. If you love the relaxed feel of the Mediterranean style, go for clay and terra cotta. For a classical look, think about incorporating marble into your design. Those who prefer rustic surroundings know that those rooms should be all about wood.
Once you choose which material works best for you, think about how it should be worked into the space. Your best bet it is to go natural in the areas that you want to stay constant through trend cycles – usually the high-cost purchases. Flooring is a good bet, as is furniture, and even window shades.
They Give Your “Neutrals” Personality:
Ah, neutrals. These pieces are the backbone of any interior design project. Are they the most exciting element of your décor? Probably not, but, are they essential to your project’s success. Every room needs a neutral element to make the bolder aspects of the décor pop and it should be sustainable.
Each aspect of your design that is harvested from nature will feature small, naturally occurring differentiations that give them less of a uniform (and less boring) look than, say, a tan painted wall. Every stone countertop has a different marbling pattern that varies by the area from which it was harvested in the quarry. Similarly, every wood floor will have in-grown imperfections that occur within the grain.
As you incorporate these materials into your design, embrace these quirks as part of the design. Using a lighter stain on your wooden furniture pieces will allow them to shine through. Consider picking up on the natural shade variation in your terra cotta flooring and incorporating it as an accent color in your design.
You’ll Get Better Quality, For Less:
Let’s be honest, when people complain about an interior design project, they usually bring up the same two issues: the cost of the project and how long it will take to complete. If you are trying to keep to a tight budget, using reclaimed, renewable materials is the way to go.
Older pieces – from an era before deforestation and mass production – are often higher quality than the product we get today since there was a larger, healthier sample to from which to cherry pick the best product. In some cases, like mahogany wood, it may be next to impossible to get today. If you look in the right places, it’s possible to get these high-quality pieces for a fraction of the cost of buying new.
Almost every area has a store of sustainable materials that are begging to be repurposed from old design projects. You just need to know where to look. Thrift stores and vintage websites, and freecycling groups are a great place to start. Those who are looking for a larger amount of material may want to place a call into their local historical society or even contact someone in a salvage yard.
As for how to use these pieces, there’s no shortage of options. You could shape old barn wood into a mantle for your fireplace or turn a collection of broken ceramic dishes into a creative tabletop collage. Turn to design collection sites like Freshome to find your inspiration.
It goes without saying that using renewable materials in your interior design is good for the environment. Beyond that, it’s also easy for your wallet and sense of style. There’s really no downside. Take a look at our argument before you start your next home improvement project and we’re sure you’ll be a convert. Before you know it, these materials will have a prominent place in your interior design.
Are you a fan of sustainable materials? How have you incorporated them into your interior design?