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Scandinavian Design

Penna LED Linear Suspension by Cerno

Looks We Love:
Natural Elements

Whether for summertime, outdoor living or a year-round eclectic look,
natural materials are a popular design choice for many transitional and modern homes.

Home decór was always natural…until it wasn't. Now there's a rare, exclusive quality in designs that maintain a natural appearance. However, while the unaltered look of wood and stone once came in second to a more manicured style, a resurgence in classic materials and improved manufacturing techniques have the natural elements setting many of today's trends.

On top of the rustic beauty, modern naturalism delivers exceptional versatility. From accent pieces to a full motif, earth tones and raw materials bring class and charm to all types of setups.

Vintage Revisited

Design: Cait Pappas

The old wicker baskets are making a comeback, this time with rattan and other like materials taking on a significant role in lighting and furniture design. The natural wood tones can create an elegant shade over a dining room table or present a casual accent for a bedroom. Depending on your style choice, the distinct texture of any woven material lets you capture a natural vibe while using whatever finish you need to match the existing decór.

Functionally, overhead rattan shades provide exceptional ambient downlighting, with an open mouth and light shining through the thin lines of the wood. The material takes on its own subtle glow, all while presenting a captivating rustic style. And, for the eco-friendly connoisseur, sustainably sourced reeds and vines make for a happy planet.

Reclaiming the Forest

Innovation comes from necessity, and a global need to halt deforestation has brilliant designers turning teak, elm, maple and other used woods into recycled works of art. A can have all the style points of a mid-century piece, while the refurbishing process brings just enough modern sensibility to mesh with a minimalist dining room.

These reclaimed treasures display the enticing imperfections that make a table, bench or chair one-of-a-kind. In addition to the bigger centerpieces, recycled wood also makes lovely picture frames, cutting boards and accent pieces like bowls and vases. You can create an entire vibe or just add a dash of naturalism to a transitional room, all while feeling great about your eco-efforts.

Concrete Ideas

Photo: Kat Alves

A beautiful bridge between industrial and natural, the cement trend includes high-impact pieces that are both appealing and utilitarian. Concrete offers a sophisticated edge and is not limited to large pieces or areas. A cement planter box or lamp base provides a more subtle way of incorporating the material.

Accompanying the sustainability trend, concrete also offers a nice contrast to the softer materials found in most modern homes. A strong, angular cement end table looks superb next to a velvet couch, and just look classier on concrete coasters. You can go as far as to build cement walls and flooring, but you can also limit the natural gray to a few choice pieces.

Meet Every Need

Designers have made such an art of repurposing, there's almost nothing these natural elements can't do. A former wooden tabletop can turn into a sliding closet door, or a wicker basket can morph into a light shade. These concepts have evolved from DIY to on-demand as the natural push continues, and the variety of furnishing and fashion will keep any decorator busy.

How you use natural elements comes down to style, taste and space. A refurbished natural-edge table can become a motif all its own, taking over a modern dining room and showcasing a powerful aesthetic. Rattan and similar wicker materials provide great accents that complement muted tones and offer a subtle contrast to flashier furnishing choices. A cement accent wall can either house a fireplace or work as a simple, striking statement.

Whatever your styling needs, it's not that hard to find organic solutions you'll appreciate for years to come. If the return of this trend tells us anything, it's that the natural elements can withstand the test of time.