Design fairs are often renowned for being dominated by innovation, but there has been a growing focus at the Milan International Furniture Fair over the last two years on going back to basics. Epoxy, polymers and plastics are being shunned in favour of metals and organic materials.
Some say that this is a reaction to problems with the global economy in recent times. There’s no doubt that the familiar can be a huge comfort in times of trouble, and there’s something endearingly honest about old-fashioned metals, grasses and wood. But there is also the continuing desire of good home designers to incorporate the outside indoors, and natural home accessories can certainly be a more sophisticated way of doing this than relying on an over-abundance of leaf-print wallpaper and carpet that looks like Astro-turf. If you want to see why, have a look at some top pieces that could add a natural vibe to any stylish home.
Woven Appeal | One of the best things about organic woven furniture and accessories is that they cry out to be touched as well as looked at. Whether you opt for wicker, grass or cane items, there will be pleasure to be had simply from running your hand over their carefully crafted surfaces. There are items available to suit every room in your home, from the stunning John Lewis Croft Collection Basket Weave Doormat, priced at £30, for the hall to the £40 Jute/Pandan Laundry Basket for the bathroom. The large Water Hyacinth Storage Trunk, at £45 and also from John Lewis, would look perfect in a bedroom, whilst the Wilbur Handwoven Ceiling Light Shade, £65 from Habitat, would be a stylish addition to any lounge.
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The dining room is a great place to go to town with the natural look – a place where you have the time to sit down and appreciate the tactile nature of your accessories. Lay your table with Bamboo Placemats from the Philippines or John Lewis Croft Collection Jute Open Weave mats, £8 for a pack of two. Put your drinks on Nom Living Handwoven Colourful Square Coasters, made from Cambodian water grass and available for £6 from Not on the High Street. Place the stunning John Lewis Gone Rural Long Bread Basket, priced at £16, at the centre of the table, and finish off with napkins secured with Rope Rings, £2.99 from Dunelm. Style is served!
Copper Feel | The warm tones of brass and copper will perfectly complement natural materials such as wood and grasses. Hinting back at the Art Deco age, they reflect glamour whether shiny or matt. Do not be afraid to mix metals, either. There are no clashes in the natural world! Tom Dixon’s supremely elegant set of five Large Brass Bowls washed with gold, £95 from Selfridges, would perfectly complement a polished wooden dresser, or consider the stand-alone Hex Medium Copper Bowl, £95, also from Selfridges, which is too beautiful to be hidden away. A Tom Dixon Eclectic London Candle, £54 from Amara, meanwhile, will be a treat for almost all of your senses. Enjoy the look and feel of the beautiful copper and marble exterior before choosing a heady mix of crocus, nettles and salt, which should make you think of London parks, red bricks and the River Thames.