Sep 20th 2017

5 Ways To Use Natural Products In Design

John Stein

Whether you’re a minimalist or love all things bold, today’s interior design landscape spans across a variety of styles. There’s an ongoing industry shift toward using natural products that makes the planning process even more exciting, eliminating the need to choose between sustainability and pleasing aesthetics. Picture it: a beautiful layout that’s also environmentally friendly. You really can have it all!

Thanks to modern technology, we have the ability to use natural products in ways we only imagined. Feeling inspired? Check out these five ways to use natural materials for your next dream design.

1. Natural Wood & Bamboo

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Walls, floors, furniture, you name it—the look of natural wood is back and better than ever. While our eyes have been trained to look past “imperfections” like knots and inconsistent grain patterns, using natural wood as a focal point teaches us that so-called “flaws” can be beautiful.

Allow this natural material to stand front-and-center – you can use it in custom cabinetry, countertops, and statement art pieces (it’s not just for frames!). By incorporating the look of natural wood into your space, you’ll bring a feeling of warmth and craftsmanship to any room, no matter how modern the styling may be.

To get the natural wood look while reducing impact on forests and landfills, consider an environmentally friendly wood substitute like bamboo. Both fast-growing and durable, bamboo is incredibly renewable and can be transformed into a product that offers a similar visual interest to wood grain. Use textured bamboo panels to achieve a midcentury modern look and mix different shades (light, medium, or dark) to create a multi-dimensional space that’s both striking and classy.

2. Copper Accents

It adds just the right amount of sheen to any design plan, but don’t let this natural element fool you. Functional as both a neutral and a metallic, copper is a chameleon when it comes to design.

Incorporate exposed copper pipes into your space, hunt down a great copper light fixture, or go big and have a large centerpiece professionally plated. This will help cut costs from using solid copper and give you unlimited options when it comes to adding some extra flair to your design.

3. Decorative Tile

From fireplaces to front desks, decorative tiles add an element of polish to any basic surface. Whether you’re a fan of clay-based terracotta or reclaimed coconut, there are plenty of natural options out there to fit your style preference.

Choose a small, rounded pattern to create a beach-like feel or a matte, brick-like pattern for a more earthy look. Experiment with colors to create a bold contrast or a more demure, natural vibe—you’ll be amazed at the different impact each accent can make!

4. Geode Crystals

From lamp bases to bookends, geode crystals have been popping up everywhere in interior design for the last several years. The natural sparkle these “fancy rocks” provide can instantly transform a stark space into a design fit for royalty.

For optimal visual interest, try incorporating crystals into unexpected areas (used as a colorful tabletop or mounted directly on the wall are great places to start). Get creative with your placement and have fun—the extra color and sparkle are sure to instantly upgrade any design.

5. Organic Textiles

Cotton, wool, hemp, silk, and linen—organic textiles are too versatile to keep locked inside your wardrobe!

Adorn interior spaces with natural woven blankets, rugs, wall hangings, and other woven materials to bring warmth and comfort into your room. Mix bright colors to spark energy in high-traffic areas or stay within a neutral palette to tone down a bedroom or bathroom. The combination of different textures and fabric weights are also great eye candy in spaces that revolve around monochromatic color schemes.

Forget the Rules

Whether you’re updating an existing design or performing a complete remodel, the style and materials you choose should be a reflection of the space and people who use it on a day-to-day basis.

Toss aside preconceived notions (renewable materials aren’t just for specific “types” of design trends!) and use new products in ways you never thought of before. By “breaking the rules” and planning a space you love with materials you trust, you might inspire a few new design trends of your own!