In the modern age, more and more of us are realizing the importance of bringing the outside into our homes. Many current interior trends focus on incorporating plants in every room. And, there are good reasons for this. As well as brightening the place, houseplants boast of benefits including:
- Increased oxygen levels
- Clean air
- Reduced anxiety/stress
- Controlled humidity
- Faster recovery from illness
- Improved health
Taking this list into consideration, it’s no surprise many of us are turning to green, leafy wonders to decorate our homes. And, technicalities aside, plants look nice. Nothing beats a splash of natural green in an otherwise man-made home. It helps us connect with nature, and ourselves.
Of course, not everyone can keep houseplants alive. And, when that greenery becomes brown, it doesn’t quite have the same impact on happiness and health. It may be that plants always die on you. Or, it might be that your lifestyle wouldn’t suit being around to water them on a regular basis. Whatever the reason, houseplants could be off your cards.
But, there’s no need to kiss goodbye to nature in your home altogether. In fact, there’s a myriad of other ways to introduce natural materials. While the benefits aren’t the same, alternatives like these have plus points of their own, including:
- Ethical production
- Long-term money saving thanks to durability
- Harmony and peace in the home
- A unique image
So, next time you renovate, think twice before settling on plastic, or other materials which are cheap and easy to come by. They may cost less in the short-term, but selections like these don’t have the staying power of natural alternatives. As such, you’ll end up needing replacements much sooner. Not to mention that production of these options pollutes, and causes real damage to the environment.
If you aren’t convinced, we’re going to look at what these natural alternatives are, and the different ways you can incorporate each.
It’s safe to say that wood is, by far, the most widely used natural resource in the home. And, it’s the only naturally recyclable and biodegradable building material out there. Wood production also reduces carbon emissions and generates fewer greenhouse gasses than other materials. Obviously, that all depends on where you source your wood. Deforestation is a huge issue and is in itself contributing to global warming. But, if you purchase your materials from ethical companies who plant, as well as cutting down, then you can enjoy the benefits. You can do this by asking outright, or look for companies who are approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It’s also worth thinking about the type of wood you’re using. Rare wood, such as mahogany, isn’t easy to produce or sustain. Common options, such as oak, are a much better ethical choice.
There’s a multitude of ways to use wood in your home. Wooden flooring is one of the most obvious choices. As well as being sustainable, a wood floor can create an illusion of space, and look fantastic. And, you can still generate warmth with the addition of rugs. What’s not to love? You may also want to incorporate wooden beams into your decor. These used to be a traditional part of home design, but they still have their place in a contemporary building. These can look fantastic, and add a real touch of character to any room. And, of course, you could always turn to wooden furniture options. Commonly, you can buy wood tables, and chests. But, it’s also possible to find wooden chairs and bed frames.
Though many would consider bamboo a type of wood, it’s actually in the grass family. As such, it deserves a mention of its own. Use of bamboo in the home is ever on the rise. It’s easy to see why when you consider that most types of bamboo grow fast, and need no pesticides or treatments. Even better, crops don’t need to be replanted after harvesting because they grow from their roots. With that in mind, who wouldn’t want to incorporate bamboo into the home? Much like wood, additions like these can brighten the place. Not to mention that, bamboo is still such a rarity, it’s sure to form a point of interest in your home.
You can use bamboo in a variety of ways. You may want to choose bamboo rugs or blinds. These are more common options, but they can add a wonderful, exotic vibe to any home. Or, you may want to go all out with bamboo furniture. It’s now possible to find everything from wardrobes, to beds made of this material. So, you can have a lot of fun with this option. If you’re tempted, take a look at sites like http://www.greenington.com. Here, you’ll be able to get an idea of what’s on offer, and whether it would suit you.
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The fun doesn’t stop there, either. For those living in tropical climates, building with bamboo is also an option. Bear in mind that this isn’t as simple as buying any old bamboo. Common species wouldn’t be anywhere near strong enough to support house structures. But, by turning to species such as Guada, there’s no reason this can’t work for you. Bear in mind, too, that it’s crucial you work with a professional to ensure you get everything right. Bamboo structures need proper treatments to ensure they last. As bamboo produces starch and sugar, failure to take this step would encourage insects, and decrease the bamboo’s life to no more than two years. So, take your time finding a builder who knows what they’re doing. Consider, too, how a building like this could work for you.
Once, we only used stone to build the structure of our homes. Now, it’s featuring more and more within interior design. As the ‘industrial’ style grows in popularity, so too do exposed brick walls and other stone designs. While this option doesn’t exactly offer the bright and breezy impact of others mentioned, it has benefits of its own. More so than most natural materials, stone has staying power. It’s sturdy and built to last. Plus, creating an exposed wall requires next to no work from you. The wall is already there, after all. All you need to do is expose it by following steps like those on brickcitylove.com. Before you know it, you’ll have an exposed wall to die for. You’ll be bang on trend, and incorporating natural materials at the same time.
Of course, stone designs don’t end there. You could always turn to stone in the kitchen and bathroom. Worktops made from various types of stone can look sleek and stylish. They’re ideal if you want to incorporate nature in a more subtle sense. Surfaces like those found at WorldStoneGroup.com could complete your kitchen, or provide that finishing touch for your bathroom. While less on the industrial side, options like this can work if you’re aiming for a more up-market image. They also have the benefit of being incredibly sturdy, ensuring that this is an investment worth making.
If you do want to stick with a more rustic vibe, you could always opt for something like slate tiles for your kitchen floor, or even on your bathroom walls. The uneven surfaces of a material like this are sure to boost the natural feeling within any room.
Obviously, there are some ethical issues with many leather products. But, if sourced from sustainable companies, leather is a fantastic natural material for any home. To make sure you’re purchasing ethical leather, do your research into a company before buying. If the material is a waste product, you can rest easy that you’re not contributing to any unethical practices. In fact, sourcing your leather from the right companies is more ecologically friendly many man-made alternatives. Bear in mind, though, that dyed leather, or options treated with harmful chemicals, won’t serve this purpose. Always look around, and know exactly what you’re buying.
Leather is different to the other materials mentioned, as it can’t exactly be used in the building of your home. But, leather furniture can look fantastic, and keep the natural vibe flowing in each room. You may opt for a leather sofa set, leather stools in the kitchen, or even a leather-covered bed frame.
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As you can see, there are many different ways to incorporate natural materials into any house. All these have the benefit of being good for the environment. They can increase happiness and calm within the home. And, though the health benefits aren’t quite that of houseplants, natural materials can help you live a healthier life. By staying away from harmful chemicals, you can ensure your body doesn’t suffer because of them. If you aren’t convinced already, bear in mind that a whopping 49% of homeowners admit to being noticeably happier when using only natural options. If you’re reluctant to go all out, try one resource and see how you like it. Once you catch the bug, it won’t be long before other natural changes follow.