Natural Facts For Your Rooms
Wood, stone, linen, wool and hemp - put nature back into your home. crack
Natural materials are all the rage with wood, stone and organic fabrics featuring in homes that embrace eco principles. Check out the ingredients for naturally stylish homes.
This refreshing home trend is all about simple and unadorned settings. By contrast, it celebrates the beauty and neutral tones of materials such as unvarnished wood, stone and hand-cast ceramics, and complements them with ‘touch me’ texture fabrics such as bleached linens, pure cottons and slubby wools.
The key to pulling off the uncluttered and under-stated neutrals and naturals fusion is to
create a palette mimicking skin tones and the natural ‘cosmetic’ shades. Think in terms of ‘highlighting’ rooms with foundation and blusher shades - muddy pinks, browns and taupes for furniture and floors, and a ‘base’ of ivory or pearly cream on walls.
Use personal touches such as rich, wool throws and cushions trimmed with sequins or lace. Alternatively, make a sharp contrast with splashes of colour in accessories like vases.
So stripping-off this summer couldn’t be easier - just dress rooms in flattering, space-enhancing shades teamed with nature’s best materials and wait for the compliments!
Wooden furniture adds real impact and character in a neutral room. Showcase the material a piece is made from, and appreciate its connection to nature demonstrated by raw, unfinished surfaces and the blemishes that can only enhance its character.
“We’re tiring of clinical, sterile modern environments and want to put the heart and humanity back into homes,” explains Russell Pinch, who with his wife, Oona runs Pinch Design, specialising in imaginative furniture made from sustainable British woods.
“There’s a growing demand for pieces that aren’t bland and boast unique knots and grain.
People want pieces that will grow old disgracefully because wear and tear - like laughter lines - adds to both patina and visual charm.”
Natural beauties: A new modular seating system called The Terrace Loft is made from carved, reclaimed teak and upholstered with generous, squashy cushions. Prices start from £4,795 from Raft, a company offering eco-friendly traditionally crafted furniture.
Laura Ashley’s chic rustic-style Milton range is another winner and the furniture’s oak finish is easily enhanced by occasional oiling. Extending dining table, £800.
Turn on the texture
Hard surfaces and raw materials, no matter what their beauty, need to be balanced by the softness and contrast of textured fabrics.
“Awareness of how and where things are made is integral to this trend. Handmade things have an authenticity which is ultra fashionable currently,” says Anita Kohn at interiors specialists, Living In Space.
“Wool, hemp, jute, linen and even horsehair are some of the natural materials that featured in the Summer collections of the major fabric houses.”
She advises layering fabrics of different textures together to add interest, such as wool with silk, or silk with satin for a glamorous sheen. A pure wool Bergen throw with a silk satin border comes in silver or dusky mauve, £125. Aid sweet dreams by dressing a bed in crisp cotton lightly textured, Hutton Stripe bed linen. A double duvet cover is £45.
Back to basics
Wood and stone are enduring choices for interiors – particularly kitchens and bathrooms - as they’re hard-wearing, especially with the advancement of sophisticated, protective finishes which don’t mask their good looks.
“Designers are marrying nature with inspirational sculptural design in stone,” says Cheryl Gurner at Bathrooms International.
“Sinks and baths are being crafted from a single boulder of stone, leaving the exterior sides in a natural raw state, while the interior surfaces are polished and glossy. We’re also seeing bamboo - one of the planets most sustainable materials - featuring in furniture.”
Natural beauties: Meridian, the latest range from Kitchens Direct cleverly combines the key materials - tongue and groove doors, a beechwood work surface, and glass splashbacks. Kitchens start from £4,995.
Complement the look with wooden utensils. Designer, John Rocha’s wooden platter, £15, and serve bowl, £22, from Debenhams.
Nice ‘n natural
You can still branch out into this look even if your budget’s tight.
Floors, all too often considered last in a scheme, can have enormous impact on a room, and a little DIY sanding and varnishing bare floorboards could transform them. Alternatively, explore the ranges of carpets in natural fibres such as seagrass, sisal or coir. Crucial Trading has an excellent selection.
Accessorise with wooden pieces, such as a Hudson cube nest of wooden tables, £99.99, from Dunelm Mill, or invest in some of the quirky pieces from Pedlars.
Go the top of the class with its vintage American school chair with polished wood seat, £55, or a back-to-basics with a utility storage solution, a French crate complete with original makers label, £19.50.
Natural beauties: Get to the root of the style with nature- inspired homeware from John Lewis. A sheesham wood Stowaway stool, £109, and a stunningly hand- carved Bark vase, £23.