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Living In A Material World: Furniture Design Choices

  • October 25, 2016
  • By Grace
Living In A Material World: Furniture Design Choices

Furniture design comes in many materials. It can be simplistic, iconic, quirky, contemporary or traditional. It can be multi-functional, hard wearing, fleeting or sustainable. By carefully choosing the pieces of furniture for each of your rooms, you can create everything from the modern to the classic and the Industrial to the Scandinavian. What you put in your home also says a lot about the life you lead and the style you want to exude.  Some items are chosen for comfort, others for their art and design. Some may be antique, and other may be upcycled. There are myriad ways to incorporate all sorts of materials into your home through furniture. And today we’re going to look at some of the most popular.



Wood remains one of the most classic and timeless materials to use in furniture. It’s an extremely versatile material and has the beauty of being both sustainable and renewable. This is perfect for those keen on reducing their carbon footprint. Cedar, maple, pine, walnut, mahogany and oak are some of the most popular choices of wood furniture. You can check out the oak furniture store for lots of ideas on different kinds of styles you can incorporate into each and every room. Oak furniture lends itself well to beautiful double wardrobes, beautiful bed frames, farmhouse tables and classic dressing tables. Walnut is great for solid and veneered furniture such as cabinets, as it is a hard wood that is strong and versatile.  And pine is perfect if you want to create a light and airy Scandinavian feel to your home interior.

Plastic And Acrylic

Plastic was originally intended to be made for garden furniture, due to its durability. However, many a modern design has been molded out of plastic that has been created especially for inside the home too. Thermoplastic furniture can easily be melted down and reused again. Therefore it is a good choice for those wanting something environmentally friendly. Once heated, plastic can be molded into a variety of super cool forms, and when it cools, it retains that shape. Iconic designers such as Philippe Starck and Charles and Ray Eames have used this material in many of their iconic chair designs. The Eames DSW chair was one of the first industrially designed plastic chairs. This design has now become an iconic piece in many design-led interiors. And Starck uses polypropylene in many of his legendary designs, including the stylish Masters Chair and Dr. Yes Armchair. He also uses molded polycarbonate to create the ever iconic Ghost Chair for Kartell. Polycarbonate is a flexible and tough plastic that is lightweight and strong. And the popular Ghost chair design is a testament to how well it works for contemporary furniture.

Wrought Iron

This type of material was very popular in the 19th century, and today it gives a sense of aristocracy and a nod to the past to your interior design. Wrought iron is hammered and twisted into shape by furniture designers to create beautiful bed frames, chairs, and tables.  Authentic iron furniture looks classic and elegant and adds a touch of drama to your space. This material is great as it is built to last a lifetime and each piece is unique.  Make sure to buy authentic wrought iron rather than cast iron for a truly accurate feel. You will be able to tell the authenticity by the workmanship that has gone into the piece. Look at the details, the scrolls, the finials and the decorative elements.

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In this modern age we are more aware of sustainability and making environmentally friendly choices.  Therefore many designers are turning to recyclable materials to make furniture. The types of material that can be used for this are paper, rubber, recycled wood and metal. Many designers are going above and beyond to show how discarded materials can be used to make beautiful pieces of furniture.


Plenty of furniture is made using leather (tanned animal hide) as it is both durable and ages well. Everything from Chesterfield sofas to dining rooms chairs and bed frames to office desks can be made from leather. The results are a beautiful and timeless effect. Leather has been a valuable commodity for centuries thanks to its resilience, comfort, and quality. Modern tanning processes mean it doesn’t crack or sag, and it looks and smells beautiful. Leather is also a good choice for furniture as it is easy to clean. Custom leather sofas look swish and stylish and add a real touch of luxury to your living space.

By Grace, October 25, 2016
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