Sustainable natural style is the perfect way to transition from winter to spring. It’s light, breezy, easy to live with, and can be more dynamic than you might imagine.
Basic doesn’t mean bland and white doesn’t mean wishy-washy. When you effectively mix elements of modern and classical decor, the results are stunning and relaxing. Warm whites, cool blues, soft blush pinks, tranquil pale greens, blonde timber and natural fibres insist that decor has a spa-like quality. But for a sustainable natural style with edge add in salvaged, recycled wood, forged iron, and divine metals that will give your home a unique personality.
I often say to my interior design clients, that the aim is for the perfectly imperfect home. Often clients will be tentative about making a decision as they fear it will be the wrong one. However, once we have agreed on the colour and textural palette it’s pretty hard to put a step wrong. I encourage clients to choose furniture, lights, fabrics, and homewares that they love – that they want to live with.
White is a Basic for Sustainable Natural Style
I have nothing against white – and there are sooooooo many whites from which to choose. White is often the ‘go-to’ colour because it’s perceived as safe. However, white can be cold and sterile… not so safe. Choose the right white for your room and the amount of natural sunlight the room attracts.
For example, I was recently choosing a warm white for a client but the large windows and Adelaide Hills location gave the white paint samples a green tinge. Reflection from the trees and leaves were casting a green light. I then recommended a brighter white to compensate for the green natural light tinges. And it looks FABULOUS!
White is a calming backdrop that allows natural woods and stone to ‘pop’ for a Scandi, Japandi, or rustic aesthetic. Walls and floors painted in a winter white with a tiny amount of blue added will stop your home looking too harsh and better reflect the light.
White painted floorboards add to the charm but only go down this path if you can stand a little wear and tear on your floors. According to metalsmith and designer Lyndsay Caleo, white floorboards cast a stunning light but will wear on floors. She recommends a hard-wearing non-oil based deck-floor paint from a marine supplies store.
If you don’t want to paint floorboards white, considering staining or stripping them or reverting to natural choices such as slate or stone. Seagrass matting also works well for it’s texture and even linoleum gives and ‘old school’ vibe.
To counter white walls and floors, use natural timbers on doors and in furniture. Recycled doors from old farmhouses, barns, and sheds can be beautifully re-used as interior doors. Open shelving in wood with metal brackets add to the joi de vivre of a rustic, sustainable home.
Sustainable Natural Style Means Texture
To elevate a room from bland to beautiful, add texture through curtains, rugs, throws, cushions, cane or fabric lampshades, etc. When choosing textiles, in unbleached cotton and boiled wool, of course, look to nature for colour inspiration. Mossy green, sky blue, autumnal golds, coastal neutrals, sand beige, straw grass, chalk white, slate greys and even sunset pink are all great choices.
Mossy green, sky blue, autumnal golds, coastal neutrals, sand beige, straw grass, chalk white, slate greys and even sunset pink are all great choices.
Carry through the rustic, natural vibe with leaf, grass, twig, flower and insect motifs. Add texture by using the warmth of wool, alpaca, and linen or the crisp simplicity of Egyptian cotton, scrim and calico.
Black used as accent colour works fabulously well in a sustainable natural style that’s predominantly white with pale timber. It gives a room an edginess and silhouette to chairs and textiles.
Look for shelving and furniture around the Adelaide Hills made from redgum, recycled timber, train sleepers, even wooden piles from old farmhouses. Our kitchen benches are stunning redgum over 120 years old when salvaged from a derelict farmhouse near Nairne. I’ve seen stools made from sturdy twigs and even a bedhead constructed from metal farm machinery parts, and it looked AMAZING.
Discarded fruit crates make great shelves and extra storage. Take them off the floor using metal brackets and place them four in a row in a single line or stack them on top of each other. Speak to your local hardware store about safely attaching crates to the wall.
You can create an entirely sustainable and recycled home that’s inviting, chic and oozing with your own personality. And your local environment is the perfect place to start.