Real wood is one of the most beautiful substances you can have in your home.
Each piece has its own rich colours and unique grain; it can be buffed to a soft finish or polished for a remarkable shine.
Some wood also carries a distinctive scent, and many people feel that it gives the home a stronger connection with nature.
The new trends in wooden interior décor have made it more appealing than ever, so why not consider bringing more of it into your home?
The first use most people think of for wood in the home is in furniture: tables, chairs, cabinets, bookshelves, bedsteads, dressing tables, desks, hat stands or grandfather clocks.
Every home that has sufficient space should have a good wooden dining table big enough for family and guests, where everyone can get together for dinner parties.
Beautiful wooden furniture provides instant elegance and, although it may cost a little more than the popular alternatives, its longer lifespan makes it a good investment.
Windows and doors
Solid wooden doors give your home excellent security. They’re also good for soundproofing and, if you choose the right type, for delaying the progress of house fires.
Plain or carved, they’re guaranteed to look stylish, and their natural hues also make them very flexible when it comes to matching them with your colour schemes.
Timber frame windows, meanwhile, look great either plain or painted and provide excellent insulation, especially if paired with wooden shutters. Stanbrook & Nicholson do a great range of windows with attractively shaped, solid frames that are really built to last.
Floors, walls and ceilings
Wooden floors have been popular throughout this century. As long as you give them a thorough polish once a year, they’re easy to look after and they look stunning.
Wooden panelling on the walls, traditionally rising to waist height, can give a room or hallway classic elegance, with dark oak or alder among the most popular choices.
Wooden panelled ceilings are a bit more unusual and can be quite expensive, but they really make a room look striking, especially if the ceiling is high. If you want to go all out, consider a Jacobean ceiling with a different picture painted on each panel.
The new craze for wood
This year, wood is more popular than ever – the result of several interior décor trends coming together. The rustic trend has made rough-hewn and antiqued wood popular.
The fusion trend has seen designers experimenting with combining different materials, and has revealed that wood and metal can look very good together.
The bohemian trend has developed in reaction to the minimalism of recent years, and has seen painted wood become a popular choice, whilst white-painted wood works well with the seaside and nautical themes that many people love.
Modern wooden interiors
If you think of wood as an old-fashioned material, you might be surprised by some of the new trends out there. Carved, curved wooden shapes are all the rage, and are used to create striking chairs and even bathtubs.
These are only a step away from the stylish wooden sculptures that are making a comeback after several decades away, utilising everything from mahogany to driftwood.
Wooden dressing screens make a stylish addition to bedrooms, and you’ll even find living wood appearing in some homes as trees – sometimes built into wall niches – become part of the organic trend.
Whilst new wood can be very beautiful, especially in these stylish new forms, some people also love old, aged wood and do their best to reclaim it. Upcycling old wooden furniture is a great way to reduce waste and create unique items.
Old doors can be transformed into bedsteads, old floorboards can be fitted together to make handsome tables, and anything you can saw into planks can be built into shelves.
Basic carpentry doesn’t require many tools, and you can find videos online to help you develop the skills you’ll need. Sometimes, all you really need to do is plane down rough surfaces and add a fresh coat of varnish to transform an old piece of furniture into something all your guests will envy.
Wood and the environment
Wood isn’t only an attractive, hard-wearing and useful material – it can also be a good choice as far as the environment is concerned. Purchasing new, sustainably harvested wood guarantees the maintenance of forests, which suck carbon out of the atmosphere and slow climate change.
Because it’s a good insulator, wooden floors, wall panels, bookshelves and window frames can keep heat in your home and reduce your fuel use. Unlike many plastics, wood will break down naturally if thrown out and won’t cause pollution.
Getting the look you want
With so many approaches to choose from, you won’t want to risk ending up with a jumble of styles, so take the time to think about how you can make wood work for you. A good place to start is by thinking about colour.
Roughly speaking, woods can be divided into blond, dark and red, but each has its own subtle tones. Blond woods, such as pine, are best if you want to use a lot in one room but keep it feeling bright and airy.
Dark woods will give you a traditional, handsome look that conveys gentility and style. Red woods can make quite a statement, so they are usually used more sparingly – for instance, in a single piece of statement furniture. A redwood work surface can really brighten up a kitchen.
Although knots are part of the charm of wood, the fewer there are, the more resilient it will be over time. Avoid pieces where there are knots in areas that come under a lot of strain.
When you buy wooden furniture, check that the joints are solidly put together and that the wood produces a clear and even sound when you knock on it. Well-chosen wooden items can last you a lifetime and can eventually be passed on to your children.