Jul 14, 2020
The benefits of using timber in your home’s design and decoration are many. This durable and renewable product provides a lovely layer of textural warmth to a room, is nice to look at and suits a range of interior styles. It can also be a cost-effective alternative to other surfaces. So, whether you want to make timber the hero or use it on a smaller scale, here are 10 ways to incorporate this versatile material into your home.
Aside from its aesthetic appeal and the natural warmth it will bring to a space, timber flooring is extremely durable and will rarely need replacing. From a resale perspective, floorboards are much more desirable than carpet, and they’re a healthier choice for people suffering from asthma and allergies, because they’re easier to clean. There are numerous types and shades of timber to choose from, so it’s easy to find one that works with your style.
Timber-clad ceilings are back in vogue, thanks to their visual appeal and the lovely cocooning effect they lend to a room. They’re a wonderful form of natural insulation, helping homes stay cool in summer and warm in winter, which will reduce your energy consumption considerably. In addition, they’ll improve the soundproofing and acoustics of whichever room you use them in and they’re fairly low maintenance.
This classic technique is suitable for traditional or contemporary homes, and sees timber boards, panels or shingles affixed to the exterior of a building. Many architects like to leave the timber unfinished to fade over time and blend seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, but you can also use stains, oils or paint to create a more resolved effect. Use it on every wall or make it a feature by combining with other materials.
An elegant and organic alternative to a painted feature wall, timber walls and panels bring natural texture, depth and warmth to a room. They work well in tight spaces like kitchens and bathrooms with the timber running horizontally to create the illusion of height, or laid in a herringbone pattern in a bedroom as an eye-catching bedhead alternative. Use timber in its raw, unfinished state in living spaces for a ranch or ski lodge feel – bonus points if you have a fireplace!
From Federation-style leadlight doors to Scandi-inspired sliding barn doors, timber doors are the ultimate addition to bring beauty and character to your home. Use on their own as a visual statement or take the opportunity to tie them in with other timber elements, such as window frames, floors or skirting boards. Best of all, they can be painted, varnished or stained to suit your individual preferences.
Good storage is key to a functional home, and timber is the perfect material for it. Think floating shelves on an empty wall, a built-in bookshelf that frames a doorway, a simple bench seat at your home’s entry or floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinets spanning the length of the wall. There are lots of timber species ideal for joinery products, and a carpenter can help guide you regarding the best product for the intended use.
Perhaps one of the simplest and most impactful ways to decorate your home using timber is to invest in furniture pieces that hero it. Coffee tables, sideboards, hall stands, kitchen trolleys, stools, dining tables… the options are endless. Be sure to choose a tone and timber finish to suit your décor, such as pale, blonde timbers for minimalist, Scandi homes or rich walnuts and teaks for a mid-century modern vibe.
Equally suited to rural, coastal and contemporary settings, timber benchtops are enjoying a resurgence thanks to their sensory appeal and ability to pair well with other popular kitchen materials like concrete and steel. There are endless timber options and colours to choose from, but it pays to remember that timber benchtops can be more susceptible to scratches, stains and chips, so proper care and maintenance is crucial. They also need to be properly sealed, especially if being used in wet areas like bathrooms and laundries.
You have a couple of options here – timber venetian blinds or plantation shutters. Both work in a similar way, using timber slats to let in or block out sunlight. By choosing timber, you get an easy-clean option with an innate natural beauty. The blinds have enough weight in them to stay put if you turn on a fan or have the windows open, while shutters can be cut to fit any window size and shape, including arch and round windows. And timber’s insulating properties come in handy given much of a home’s warmth or heat escapes through the windows.
As with any look or trend, some people like to start small and build the look from there. That’s where timber accents come in – think rounded timber doorknobs for your doors, a simple timber banister for the stairs or a timber pendant above the dining table. It’s enough to give you a taste before you commit to a timber feature wall or benchtop. Alternatively, if you have timber floors or window frames, these subtle accents will round out the look. For renters, timber picture frames, bowls, clocks or candleholders are a perfectly impermanent way to enjoy the look.
Carbon Positive house, ArchiBlox
View from Flinders Street