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Eco Style

Designing with Natural Materials and Elements

 

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Kara Eads - Unsplash image of wooden triangular shelf and ivy
Kara Eads – Unsplash
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By Annette Brooks

Natural is in, including using natural materials and elements in interior design. Versatile and appealing, they fit with almost any style, from cozy boho and comfortable transitional to minimalist or relaxed opulence. Below are a few ideas to kick-start your creativity and find new ways to enhance your home with wood, stone, and organic fibers.

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Wood

Using rough-cut and reclaimed wood remains popular, but don’t shy away from finished wooden pieces. Place a low, polished live edge bench at the end of a bed instead of an upholstered piece by the fireplace, or use it as a coffee table instead of a large, tufted ottoman.

Another way to use finished wood is with a gorgeous hardwood dining table. If you’re into sustainability, find one you like at a consignment shop or an estate sale. The wood you select depends on the look you’re going for. Mahogany, for example, is luxurious and elegant. Walnut, known for its vibrant, rich color, has tight grains, often with swirls and wave patterns. Maple is light-colored with a smooth, even grain unless you splurge for birds-eye maple, which has swirling eyes within smooth grain lines. Soften it and add color, if you wish, with upholstered chairs.

And remember hardwood flooring. Sure, luxury vinyl that simulates wood is a popular choice for its ease of maintenance and durability, but there’s nothing like the eye-catching appeal of real hardwood floors.

A beautiful closeup of a custom designed kitchen, with marble lo

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Stone

Timeless and often breathtaking, stone is one of the easiest ways to add natural materials to your home décor. The options are almost limitless. Flooring, countertops, backsplashes, vases, wall cladding, fireplace mantels, shower surrounds, lamps, candle holders, coffee tables, sculptures — and the list goes on.

As with wood, the type of stone you select depends on the aesthetic you’re going for. It also depends on where you’re going to use it. Sedimentary stones such as limestone, sandstone, and travertine tend to be more porous and softer. Metamorphic stones like marble, quartzite, and slate are harder than sedimentary stone. Granite, which is volcanic in origin, is one of the hardest natural materials on earth.

If you have the option, choosing your own stone slabs puts the control in your hands, and you’ll know what the finished product should look like.

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Cozy apartment in boho chic style interior with comfort bedroom

Organic Fibers

Natural fiber fabrics and décor accessories complement styles like modern farmhouse and add elegant comfort to virtually any living space, regardless of the style. Fabrics made from cotton, wool, jute, and sisal add warmth, softness, and texture to your home. Linen especially pairs well with minimalist design.

Choose natural fibers for throws and pillows coverings, rugs, upholstered ottomans and benches, and wall art, such as a grouping of sisal trays or shallow baskets. Or make a bold, beautiful statement with a striking mohair velvet sectional sofa. (Mohair velvet is a plush, durable upholstery fabric made from wool shorn from Angora goats.)

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Stylish macrame wall hanging on the white wall above the chest of drawers Cozy interior of living room with flowers in vase, macrame and hanging green plant Minimalistic concept of home decor

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Decorate with Indoor Plants and Trees

Beautifying your home with plants builds a closer connection with the outdoors, but did you know that research indicates indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress, too?

If you’re new to growing plants indoors or have recently moved, consider your home’s environment room by room. Is it drafty or dry in the winter months? What kind of natural light is available for how many hours of the day? Lastly, determine how much available space you have for plants. A fiddle leaf fig, for example, usually grows to about 10 feet or more indoors.

When selecting plants, match them with your home’s environment to ensure they will grow and thrive with proper care. You can create groupings of smaller plants, go all-out and install a living plant wall, or invest in a couple of large statement plants. I especially love my Ponderosa lemon and kaffir lime trees. They’re fairly low maintenance and easy to keep in great condition with plenty of sunshine and brief, daily misting. I move them outside in the summer and watch them grow like crazy.  


Read more about decorating your home HERE on LivingMagazine.net

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