How to Give Your Home Some Natural-Born Style

Gone are the days when natural materials in the home evoked images of sackcloth and dreary colors. Nowadays, they’re taking center stage and adding their own glamour. It’s a different type of glamour, to be sure, based on subtle textures and tones rather than glitter and bling. These tips will help you use natural materials to add depth and character to your home.

Alison Hammond Photography, original photo on Houzz

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Seek out the unexpected. It pays to be inventive and think beyond the usual sources for functional and decorative items around your home. Here, a piece of driftwood, fished out of the River Thames in London, was dried out and whitewashed to create an unusual mantelpiece. It’s held in place by a pair of plaster corbels.

An old roof beam or railroad tie cut to size could give a similar distinctive look.

Blakes London, original photo on Houzz


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Create understated glamour with natural stone. There’s no doubt that marble provides texture, tone and subtle patterns that man-made work surfaces can’t match.

Here, the beautiful textures of the Carrara marble countertop and backsplash contrast with the rustic finish of the base units. The marble also stands out from the whitewashed brick and tongue-and-groove paneling, and the dark wall cabinets with metro tiles on the inside. These surfaces complement one another because of the limited color palette and the fact that the room is a large, airy space.

Marble is a characterful choice for the kitchen, but be aware of its drawbacks in terms of staining and durability.


Keep it cozy. If you have a wood-burning stove or open fire, you’ll need somewhere to store your firewood. Putting it out on display is a great way of introducing natural textures into the room and giving it added coziness.

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Chris Snook, original photo on Houzz


Reclaim and reuse. Recycling, upcycling and using reclaimed materials sit well with an organic theme. This clever redesign of a tiny 18th-century cottage takes upcycling to new creative levels. In the kitchen, the owner has made use of old internal doors, cut to fit as cabinet and drawer fronts. They have been sanded down but left unpainted.

The countertop is made from scaffolding planks, sanded smooth and sealed. Old German wine crates have been revamped to create wall storage, with the shelves inside made from a reclaimed pair of oak beams from the roof. The lampshades are old fire buckets.

Rikki Snyder, original photo on Houzz


Celebrate the artisan. This colorful seating area celebrates beautiful artisanal textiles. Look for handcrafted fabrics like these on your travels. Without their inserts, they’re light and easy to transport, and are a lovely way to bring a natural feel into your home.


Tip: Always inspect them for signs of insect damage. It’s believed that many cloth-eating moths and bugs arrive in textiles and rugs from other countries, and they rapidly multiply in centrally heated homes. If you’re at all worried, wrap the cushion in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for 24 hours. The creatures can’t survive extreme heat or cold.

Farrow & Ball, original photo on Houzz


Go for metallic glamour. Contrast natural materials with sleek metallic objects. The wooden furniture here adds warmth to this stunning room.

Metallic finishes and textures are certainly having a moment. The copper trend continues, and it’s joined in the limelight by natural brass and gold finishes. The metals here look particularly striking against the moody dark background, but the wood is an important element to keep it from looking too harsh.


Bring in beauty with botanicals. Flowers and foliage are a great way to stylishly add an organic touch to your home. Their effect is magnified when you match the color of the blooms to a hue in your accessories.

House plants can also be enlisted to add natural glamour. And if you don’t have green fingers, consider botanical-print wallpapers or fabrics.

Ryland Peters & Small | CICO Books, original photo on Houzz


Soften a space with natural fabrics. Use fabrics, throws and rugs to get the natural vibe you’re looking for. Here, a couple of sheepskins thrown over the chairs help soften the scheme and provide texture.

Complemented by the use of metallics and the relaxed color tones, the picture evokes an easy, natural yet sophisticated look.

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