Native & Natural

Rashmi Gopal Rao
Monday, 18 June 2018

Want to make your home earthy chic? Follow these tips

Red oxide flooring, exposed brick walls, comfortable cane couches and plenty of plants in jute baskets — these are just some of the factors that make a home cool, both literally and aesthetically. Not only does such a house charm you with its rustic, earthy vibes, but it also exudes a feeling of ‘being rooted’. 

Given the fact that most of us today live in concrete jungles and lead hectic lifestyles, the importance of being close to nature can hardly be overemphasised. And what better way to achieve this than by incorporating these elements within the four walls of your own home! Home décor using natural materials like stone, cane, bamboo or terracotta not only adds appeal and ups the style quotient of your home but is also a great way of practising sustainable living. 
 
CHOICES APLENTY
Apart from natural stones, brick and natural wood, jute, bamboo, cane and wicker are some of the commonly used materials in home décor today. Sisal, jute, rattan as well as travertine (a form of limestone), are some other native materials that are being used.  According to Mrinmayee Kundalia, founder and creative head, TUNI TalesWood, “Clay, flora, cotton textiles and dried fruit potpourri are great ways to incorporate natural elements into your home. Fruit for instance, can be used as a room fragrance once ripe and even after it dries. Fruits that have dried need not go to the trash bin. Potpourri is an interesting way to reuse the fruit.”

The choices today are large, giving rise to innovative and creative ways of using such materials in décor. “Coco shells, jute, bamboo, rocks of various nature which are often curated, bird nests — all these can be put to use in homes,” says Sameer A M, Founder, CEO, Bonito Designs.

SUITED TO ALL SPACES
Whether it is your living space, bedroom, kitchen or even bathrooms, natural materials form a perfect fit. “In homes, natural stones like slate and limestones are used in flooring, tiling, wall-cladding and counter-tops. Natural stone being a versatile material, can be used both in interiors and exteriors. There are several choices available to suit all budgets and tastes,” says Gita Ramanan, architect, designer and co-founder of Design Café. 

Natural materials are amenable to use in furniture, accessories and even cookware; the key is to choose the right materials. “For the flooring, opt for travertine or terracotta tiles, or even cost-effective options like red oxide flooring. You will find that these options work for your backsplash and bathrooms too. If you decide to go the industrial route, pick out brick and stone for exposed walls in a rustic setting,” says Anuj Srivastava, co-founder and CEO of Livspace. 

Rattan and cane are ideal for furniture as they blend seamlessly with various kinds of styles. They can be used effortlessly, not only in the living areas but also in patios and balconies. “Coco shells, if sized and treated properly, can be used to decorate an entire wall which not only enhances the visuals but also acts as a pseudo acoustic material,” adds Sameer A M.

Cotton and jute upholstery as well as sisal rugs can go a long way in adding a dash of panache to your bedroom. Organic cottons are ideal for kitchen and tableware while clay and earthen ware are some of the best materials for cookware. 

“An ongoing trend called “live-edge” furniture is gaining popularity in the domain of home decor. In this, the natural texture and original edges of wood are kept intact and used in their natural state. Most popular usage of this style are tables, chairs, benches and sometimes even art. It adds an edgy, rustic and wholesome feel to the décor,” adds Ramanan.

UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY
The best part about natural materials is that they are versatile, flexible and can be used in a variety of ways. So, let your imagination break free while you create exclusive pieces for you home. “Sea shells, acorns and pine cones can be glued together on a homemade hoop to make beautiful wall and door hangings. Make use of twigs and branches in the picture frames to give your photographs a quirkier look,” says Sandesh Dhanraj, CEO and founder, Noah interiors. 

There are yet other ways to go natural. “Stick pebbles on a dining mat and use them as trivets to place hot utensils. Small wicker baskets can be used as a centrepiece with some flowers or decorations in it. Even jute covered vases can be stunning décor,” suggests Srivastava.  

SOME DOS AND DON’TS
- It is important to use natural materials in their original form and textures to retain their look and character. For instance, painting them in a different colour is a big “no”.  
- Use them in moderation to retain a graceful and clean look, else it may end up looking loud.  
- Always mix and match the right materials. For instance, wood and bamboo is a good combination just as cane and jute go well with greens. 
- Natural material requires regular maintenance in terms of polishing and vacuum cleaning. “Avoid acidic cleaners when wiping on stone and also the use of harsh detergents and hard-bristled brushes when cleaning sisal and jute rugs,” adds Dhanraj. 
- Last but not the least, it is important to understand the history and purpose of each material and how it would match your needs and fit in your space. As Kundalia puts it, “Be conscious about what you buy.”  

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