How to Use Raw Materials

Go back to the basics with organic elements that find beauty in imperfections and bring timeless character to your home.

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August 08, 2019
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Soaring Heights

Exposed vaulted wood beams help bring the 17-foot-tall ceiling down to create a more intimate atmosphere in this Scandinavian-inspired living room. The beams top every door opening and continue into other rooms of the home for a cohesive, natural influence. A trio of wrought iron pendant chandeliers evoke a decidedly Old-World feel.

Embrace the Characteristics

The inherent lines and color variations in natural wood bring a lively texture that's not achievable through highly finished materials. This entry creates a fun juxtaposition between the brightly colored graphic area rug, modern silhouettes and organic materials.

Added Warmth

Bright white bathrooms can sometimes feel cold and flat, but not this one. Full of texture, from the shiplap barrel ceiling to the medium-toned wood flooring, the space exudes warmth. Reclaimed wood doors add a sense of history, while a soaker bathtub with a taupe exterior blends the old with the new.

Sense of Handmade

As a lot of homes shift away from being overly decorated (even traditional homes are inclined toward a more culled-down style now), raw materials add interest without being too fussy. This kitchen sifts through a bounty of natural materials, combining wood cabinets and stone countertops with an exposed brick backsplash.

Subtle Texture

With its neutral, simple design, grasscloth wallpaper is the perfect counterpart to traditional wainscoting. The hand-woven strands of natural fibers on the grasscloth and the wall hanging energize the space with tactile appeal, and even though the light fixture isn't made from fabric, it mimics the look of strings.

Mix It Up

Use an assortment of raw materials to add richness and depth to your design. A live-edge walnut island centers this warm, rustic kitchen. Hot-rolled steel panels are used for a distressed industrial take on cabinets, and a rough-hewn walnut creates a sleek-meets-organic range hood.

Find the Symmetry

Naturally hard materials, such as woods, stones and metal, need a counterbalance so that the space doesn't feel too sterile. Bring in softness and texture through furnishings and accessories. This living space achieves its design through a mix of rustic, modern and cozy aesthetics.

Play Between Soft and Rough

Scandinavian and industrial styles lean heavily on raw materials for their simple yet striking design. Here, this open and airy bedroom uses wood to the max, but also softens the space with animal hides and sheepskin rug. The awe-inspiring fireplace is cement with a lime coat for a surprising play on unrefined materials.

Sustainable Design

Even when a space gravitates toward one material, such as this open-air bedroom, the key is to create balance. Poured concrete floors in a light tan, along with clean white bed linens and an ivory ceiling fan, break up the abundance of wood. The whole room has a spa-like atmosphere designed for relaxing.

From the Bottom Up

The stunning jade green backsplash may be the showstopper in this eclectic kitchen, but raw materials ground the room. Stained concrete floors are super durable and add visual texture underfoot, while stacks of thin wood planks are used as dividers. The barstools with their wooden seats and metal bases bring a note of industrial charm to the space.

From: Gina Sims

Steps From Nature

Muted neutrals and a large picturesque window combine for a retreat-away-from-the-world bathroom. Pebble tiles are laid for the shower floor and niches to add dimension and an earthy quality to the sleek, sand-hued space.

Rustic + Weathered

Encompassed in exposed brick, this homey living space utilizes a varied mix of raw materials: reclaimed wood, leather, animal hide and metal piping. A few modern touches, such as the shape of the cowhide chair and geometric side table, act as a compelling foil against the rest of the space.

Your Own Forest

If you love the idea of incorporating raw materials into your design, but need to start on a small scale, look no further than a tree stump side table. They're easy to find, go with any design style and add a sense of adventure to your room.

Wholly Tactile

Designed to engage the senses, the stonework around this fireplace calls out to be touched, as well as enjoyed visually. Back-to-nature elements, from the low-slung natural fiber sofa and leather chairs to the knitted rug, combine to create a restrained, casual atmosphere.

Just the Fundamentals

In a celebration of the real (rather than synthetic), this rustic ranch retreat embraces wood beams and stacked stone. The unfinished quality of the materials delivers a primitive simplicity. Even the light fixture is pared down to its humblest form — wire and bulbs — yet still makes for an impressive display.