A guest post by interiors journalist Rachel Ogden
Providing a tactile feel, visual warmth and a link to the great outdoors, one of the biggest interior trends for 2015 has been the return of natural materials. The high street has become a great source for chunky woollen throws, unbleached linens and touches of copper and brass but one of the simplest ways to bring the natural trend into your home is with stone and timber textures. Not only do they have character built right in, with intricate knots or rich veining, they make an effortless style statement that'll still look fantastic in years to come. Here are a few reasons why they're a smart choice:
They go with everything
Grey might have been heralded as the ‘new neutral' but a natural material will always win hands down. Choose the right tone and they'll coordinate perfectly with almost any colour palette, bringing a serene, relaxed feel that looks just as welcoming on bright sunny days as it does throughout the shorter days of winter. In addition to using them to cover large areas, stone and wood also work incredibly well on furniture and accessories, so consider introducing them in less predictable places, such as marble-topped tables, stone lamp bases, wooden bench-style seating or slate tableware.
The devil's in the detail
Moreso than with many materials, the finish and shapes you choose for wood or stone can have a huge effect on their style. For example, if you have a more contemporary home with sleek furniture doors and glossy fixtures, giving your natural materials a similarly highly polished, smooth look will help ease them in gently. Similarly, if you love the industrial or modern country look, go for plenty of raw texture with sawn, distressed or reclaimed timber and a stone with eye-catching veining showcased with a semi-matt honed surface. Great for period homes, ornate carving and edge details will give a more traditional, opulent feel.
Pattern is your best friend
Time was when all we wanted was for floors and walls to be straight, neat and orderly. However, with the rise of natural materials has come the desire for something a bit more organic. Gone are conventional laying patterns and in their place, you'll find wooden parquet flooring in herringbone or block designs with matching full-length planks, or marble, travertine, slate and limestone reinterpreted as mosaics, sized-down metro tiles or large format slabs that include a host of natural inclusions, such as fossils or seams of other stones.
Mix and match to your heart's content
If there's one area where stone and wood excel, it's in their unique look – no slab of stone or plank of wood will ever be exactly the same as another. It's this that gives both of them such appeal and by mixing and matching the different materials, you'll give any room a more individual look with an element of surprise. By blending shades and textures, the space will take on layers of depth and interest that give a covetable designer look.
4 & 5. Houseology