Five ways to bring wood inside

Kitchen with wooden table and chairs
If you take a scroll through my projects or Instagram feed, you’ll notice that the overwhelming majority of images feature wood in one form or another

Often it’s bare wood in it’s natural state, sometimes its painted, occasionally it’s still growing.

But why is that?

“We are very interested in working with wood; it is a quality material with many different possible uses. We are intrigued by the potential of wood to be at the same time both structural and tactile, massive and with a fine surface. It is a renewable and sustainable material. It also has the quality of ageing beautifully.” The Swedish architecture studio In Praise of Shadows said those words, and I wholeheartedly agree.

Wood has purpose, potential and patina. Perfect. Do you notice the different ‘feeling’ and details of the wood in these three images of the same space? Wood is interesting.

Wood brings its timeless qualities to your space. But if you don’t need a kayak house like the one above how can you bring it inside to work its magic in your home? Here are five ways to get you started, but the list is surely endless…

Wooden flooring

A well chosen wooden floor can totally transform a space and have a major impact on the feel of that space for many years to come.

Wooden floors are definitely an investment, but once chosen and with maintenance, they last. There are many choices from type of wood from width of plank to finish. Look at images of spaces similar to yours that you like and study the details of the flooring. What is it about it that you like? Remember that different sizes of plank will work well in different sizes of space, so always have your space in the back of your mind. Notice wooden floors in other locations. Ask your friends why they went for the one they chose.

Speak to specialists about the properties of different woods and different finishes and consider how they match your needs. Would a harder wood stand up better to a high traffic area, or are you quite relaxed about marks from heels?  The first image below shows a ‘wooden’ floor that isn’t actually wood. My client wanted a very family friendly hallway floor but loves the look of wood.

(Finer floor details)

Ask to borrow samples and live with them for a while in your home. Look at how the lighting affects their colour throughout the day. Does the wood sit well with other pieces you love and will keep with the new floor? Bear in mind that strong sunlight will bleach wood – will you be able to embrace this, or will it bug you? The aged patina of a wooden floor is something I love – it speaks of the story of the space – but will you?

Finally, think about how a wooden floor will join with your walls. Will you install matching skirtings? If so, how high? Again, look at images and ask professionals for inspiration and help. Alternatively, installers can normally remove your existing skirtings and replace them above the new floor.

Wooden cabinetry

Kitchen units, bathroom vanities and built in wardrobes are other places where you can include wood in your day to day life. Although cabinets are often painted, they retain the qualities and tactile nature of wood. If interiors are left natural you can enjoy a glimpse every time you use them.

Cabinetry can provide excellent storage and a good designer can work with you to maximise the space you have available. For example, many kitchen cabinets finish well clear of the ceiling, but why not use that space and build all the way up?

Wooden walls or ceilings

This use of wood might not be for every space, but where it is authentic to a building, wood panelling can be used to great effect. Natural wood creates a feeling or warmth and intimacy, and the texture created can have sound baffling properties too. Wooden walls or ceilings, where appropriate, can really add to the depth of a room and create a focal point or a blank canvas, depending on the rest of the space.

Wooden seating

Think of Carl Hansen’s Wishbone Chair, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, Artek’s Stool 60. All examples of beautiful, useful furniture that’s built to last and do its job supremely well. All crafted from, or including, wood, their designs have all stood the test of time.

Whether you shop for design icons at high end stores or antique shops, for daily workhorses on your local high street or salvage sales, or commission bespoke pieces, wooden seating does the job!

Wooden accessories

Whether carefully chosen purchases or cherished keepsakes, beautifully crafted wooden items can bring the warmth of wood into every corner of a home. If less is more for you, wooden items that do their job brilliantly may be the answer for you. Handcrafted wooden knives make spreading butter a joy. Wooden spoons from a local carver, made just so and tried by your hands, look beautiful and will be pleasurable to use. How about a wooden bread basket, bowl, chopping board?

Wooden ornaments such as Architectmade’s BIRD family add fun to a space and add classic design, made to be given personality by its owner. Design House Stockholm’s Nordic Light candleholder is designed in bare and painted wood and allows you to shape it as you will. These touches of wood speak of careful design and choice, and are timeless.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are almost unlimited ways to bring the beauty of wood into your home.  Whether you want an all encompassing wooden wonderland, discreet hints here and there or something in between, enjoy it!

Photo credit for first image: Photographer in Residence for Able & Hardie.