Material considerations

Empty room with concrete floor, wooden ceiling and large window
How do you want your space to feel?

Not just look, but actually feel. Consider these materials in your space…


Let’s start at the deep end. Concrete. Are you thinking ‘cold’? In the room below smooth concrete becomes intimate with the warm tones and textures from nature and seems the perfect material for the room.


From one extreme to the other. Wool. On the floor and as art, modern and soft. Margot Selby uses a seventeenth century technique to ‘weave structures in a new way, creating abstract colour studies with a modernist feel’. Wool, but maybe not as you knew it.


Another intrinsically hard material, marble has a very distinct feel as a surface. Solid and durable, supportive. Resisting its cold image, marble can be softened by natural companions.

Simply cut in the first image below, the tiles almost seem to glow in places, mirroring the warmth of the wood and copper. In the second image the marble contrasts with the painted wood surfaces, simple walls and accessories and natural flooring, yet there is a mellow companionship there too.


Such a tactile and grounding material, wood probably already plays a role in your home. Take heart from the image below if you would like to use more of it. My article on ‘Five ways to bring wood inside’ looks at wood in interiors a little more deeply.


Sleekly polished or purposefully dull, mixed metals can feel so different to the touch but can sit together in perfect harmony. As metals age they may take on a beautiful patina, an important consideration when planning a space with longevity.


Its beauty lies in its transparency or translucency more than its feel to the touch. Glass. Flat and cool, letting light and sight travel – glass helps bring light, reflection and a feeling of expansion to a space.


A natural partner to glass, daylight is an essential ingredient of a space, so it’s included here as a material.  Natural light warms a space making it feel welcoming and relaxing, whilst shade can provide respite and calm. If your space is low on daylight think about making your windows or doors bigger – let the light in.


Okay, so a definite non-material for the final material – in fact the absence of material. Plan space into your design and enjoy room to spread out, practice your habits and breathe… space to grow into.

(@ and # in the captions for the images in this article refer to Instagram handles)

Detail of the Leo Chair by @brook_studio. Just bl Detail of the Leo Chair by @brook_studio. 
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