Despite the ever-increasing number of stunning man-made materials, sometimes you just can’t compete with the allure of nature. Characterised by unique forms, colours, textures and patterns, organic materials are stacked with distinctive features and offer a fail-safe route to creating truly individual interiors.
Whether you want to make a subtle nod to the natural world or let it dominate your room scheme, we explore how the industry professionals are making the most of Mother Nature’s offerings.
Embrace the earth
Embracing the earth’s beautiful materials – from petrified wood to agate stone – is one of the most popular, effective ways to celebrate natural beauty in the home. More and more top interior designers are incorporating raw finishes and objets into their projects to achieve a look that’s on-trend yet utterly timeless.
Image Credit: Laura Hammett
London-based interior designer Laura Hammett is one creative that realises the potential of the earth’s treasures in her work. Her projects often bring shelving displays, coffee tables and consoles to life with pieces such as agate slices and shells.
Selecting objects with exquisite natural tones, which blend beautifully into surrounding colour schemes, is one trick the designer uses to execute the look to perfection. Think brown objects against rich wood surfaces with antique brass edging. Laura Hammett also carefully considers the positioning of each accent, artfully placing them in threes or using standout pieces as solo focal points.
Remember, it’s effective to reference colours found in natural accessories into your room scheme as a whole. Think earthy browns, lush greens and ocean blue hues to achieve a natural look.
"More and more top interior designers are incorporating raw finishes"
Boscolo is another British-based design studio with a penchant for enhancing projects with natural and organic-inspired gems. In the studio’s beautiful styled spaces, the firm mixes mineral objets with striking sea fans and decorative leaf-shaped bowls. It also uses textural vases by acclaimed ceramic artist Alex McCarthy – complete with a left-to-chance crackle finish and spontaneous paint finish – to add a sense of organic beauty to projects.
The ocean is filled with treasures that promise to bring charm and intrigue to interiors. Starfish-inspired pieces, natural sea fans and sea urchin-esque accessories introduce interesting textures. Seashells welcome eye-catching silhouettes and mother-of-pearl accents deliver smooth, iridescent finishes.
Image Credit: Katharine Pooley
When it comes to tabletop styling, an increasing number of interior designers are looking to the underwater world for inspiration. London-based interior designer Katharine Pooley, for example, regularly chooses coral sculptures to feature in her accessory ensembles.
Available in all shapes and sizes, coral forms are ideal for playing with proportions. Follow Katharine’s lead by teaming your coral with colour-coordinating accessories of varying heights, such as a shapely ceramic vase and smaller obelisks.
Aside from looking out for ocean-inspired creations from these brands, remember to watch out for seaside treasures next time you’re strolling along the beach in case you spot the next natural addition for your interior.
"Coral forms are ideal for playing with proportions"
Using exotic materials and skins is another way to flirt with a natural aesthetic. This season, horn is one of the go-to materials. Emulating the look of shark and stingray skin, luxury homeware brand AERIN demonstrates the potential of faux shagreen on pretty trays, photo frames and trinket boxes, and L’Objet’s creations display an affinity for a crocodile-effect finish.
Animal motifs are also perfect for rousing thoughts of the natural world. Horses featured heavily in our SS16 collection and were represented in sculptures, bookends and paintings. These grand creatures instil a sense of nobility and statuesque quality to spaces.
Charming fawn sculptures – intricately crafted from solid iron – and a playful photographic hippo print also caught our eye this season, but don’t forget to consider creatures at the smaller end of the spectrum.
Image Credit: Elicyon
Chelsea-based studio Elicyon was quick to realise the impact of Mother Nature’s petite creatures, using a golden insect object to add a natural touch to this exquisite shagreen tray – complete with bamboo-inspired handles – by Forwood Design.