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Designing with the Elements

When we talk about "building materials," we are usually referring to what holds the roof up and the windows in place. And make no mistake, there are a wealth of beautiful choices for such structural materials: wood, brick, stone, metal… But we don't always consider using some of these same materials as decor to finish a space. So we wanted to dive into some elemental decor choices that can really shift the feel of a home. Come with us!

Most materials are chosen for either their strength or their texture. When we want to alter the overall feeling of a space, choosing for texture can make an outsize impact. The first one we would like to address is wood. As you no doubt already know, wood comes in so many varieties that it is nearly impossible to list them all in one place. But regardless of the color palette, wood can bring a world of difference to a room with its texture alone. Looking for a smooth surface? It can be sanded. Looking for a weathered look? Using reclaimed wood and leaving it the way it is found can achieve a remarkable coziness. And it can be bent, carved, glued, and shaped into innumerable shapes for furniture and decorative objects; its versatility is second to none! See some of our favorite examples of wood as a decor element and imagine how your home could be with a little wood accent added:

Another wonderful choice is stone and clay. We often see polished stone floors, textured stucco walls, and (here in Texas) rough-hewn limestone for just about anything. But stone or clay can also lend a warm feel to a home or room, regardless of the surrounding materials. The innate connection to the earth that we feel when seeing stonework can be seen in some of these spaces that we like. And the same is true for clay. Enjoy!

A much lighter choice for elemental home decor is glass. Like stone it can be polished smooth, but also etched glass and carved glass, even blown glass, can infuse a room with a beautiful surface that not only feels weightless but also plays with the light like no other element does. From beautiful hand-made blown glass chandeliers from Murano to an etched and painted glass vase, this is another versatile material that can bring charm to a room.

Did you think we forgot about metal? No chance. Just as versatile, but for entirely different reasons, metal brings an altogether different feel to any room. It can be polished, etched, painted, embossed, or even left raw. Through welding, brazing, or bending, it can be made into virtually any shape. And depending on which type of metal, we can find a wealth of colors as well. Here at Négrel Antiques, we have always had a penchant for copper as a decor element. But regardless of your choice, you can use metal to imbue a space with strength and sophistication. Have a look at some of our favorites:

There you have it! Some of our favorite elemental decor choices. Hopefully these ideas can inspire you to finish your space in some of these materials. Did we miss your favorite? What should we explore next?

posted on 8/28/2020