Wood may be known for its timeless visual appeal, but there’s nothing static about the way people showcase it in American homes. Designers, homeowners and DIYers are re-discovering the warmth and beauty of wood. From inventive new uses to re-interpretations of existing styles, they’re finding creative ways to use wood throughout the home.
“Designers are drawn to wood for use in interior finishes because of its natural beauty and design versatility,” says interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn. “The addition of a warm, familiar material to a room enhances an otherwise modern space. Interior finishes with wood add the perfect touch of rusticity to a contemporary home.”
What’s hot this year? Flynn and other leading designers weighed in on this year’s top interior design trends with wood for the “Wood, Naturally” campaign.
Trend 1 - Statement walls.
Appearance walls are making a statement, with paneling and wainscoting being the big trend setters, according to designer Sandra Powell, author of the blog SawdustGirl.com. Powell says, “Paneled walls and ceilings have been on trend for a while now, and are still going strong. Whether an appearance wall features stained or natural wood, it will add beauty, character and personality to a room.”
Different types of interior wood finishes reflect different styles. For example, leaving wood paneling unfinished can create the ambiance of a coastal beach house or a rustic cabin. Designers also like to mix different woods and finishes on appearance walls to add visual depth to a room. The contrast of wood finishes to non-wood materials in a room, such as glass and metal, create a striking and modern look - wood is no longer relegated only to a “cabin” style.
Trend 2 - Playing with scale.
Molding and wainscoting are usually associated with a traditional style, but designers are using wood trim to create fresh and modern looks in all kinds of homes of different sizes - houses, lofts and smaller apartments.
Designers are playing with the scale of wainscoting, using it to enhance smaller rooms. A wainscot treatment brings the eye up and makes a room feel a bit taller, adding dimension and scale to smaller spaces.
Crown molding bridges the junction of walls and ceilings - a prominent visual location where an architectural accent can really shine. A contemporary use of molding is to apply a larger size of molding relative to the scale of the room. A larger baseboard, for example, grounds a room with higher ceilings, creating definition while maintaining flow in open floor plans.
Trend 3 - Natural color and texture.
“Every species of softwood has a natural color and grain pattern. Some are lighter and create a sophisticated, open and airy sense in the room,” says Ronique Gibson, associate architect and founder of the home design blog Stagetecture.com. “The natural color of different woods sets the tone for a room. For example, woods with a darker tone give an appearance of formality - they’re exceptional for evoking classic masculinity or high glamour.”
In addition to color, each species’ unique grain patterns complement and enhance a variety of interior styles. For example, the light and consistently lineal pattern of fir works well with a contemporary interior with its clean lines and greater symmetry. Wood with a more pronounced grain pattern, like pine, lends a more traditional and rustic feel.
Trend 4 - Finished ceilings.
Often homeowners forget about the ceiling, leaving it exactly as it was when the house was built. However, wood on the ceiling can add architectural interest to the room, and attract the eye upward to explore the space.
Flynn recommends using wood trim, plank, decking or even siding on the ceiling to raise the decorative elements in the room to a new level. Visitors will be sure to stop and pause when they first notice the attractive style of the “fifth wall.”
Trend 5 - Reclaimed wood.
Upcycling wood found in barns and older buildings gives homeowners the chance to bring new life to beautifully aged wood. Gibson recommends using barn doors for headboards on beds, or creating a table out of old wood planks. Sliding doors are also popular in homes that don’t have the space for a hinged door.
Weathered wood has a unique quality that can really add character to a space. Leave the wood weathered or grayed, or you can refinish the wood for a polished look.
These five trends are great ways to bring wood into a home and give it the look and style you want. For more project inspiration visit the Wood, Naturally website.