Interior materials - how to specify the right material for the right job
Updated: Jan 13
When beginning a new project, whether it’s a family home or a huge commercial space, it’s crucial to take the time to specify the perfect materials for the job. Often, other elements such as the furniture, lighting and arrangement can take centre stage - but it’s the choice of materials that bring every element of the design together. Selecting the right interior materials is vital, as the colours and textures become the backbone of the project and pull together the final aesthetic.
Elements to consider
When faced with the daunting job of selecting your materials, the process can seem endless and impossible. From wood to granite to metal, there are unlimited combinations you could pull together - and each would create an entirely different finished project. To make your decisions easier, there are a few important elements to take into consideration.
The colour pallette you opt to use drastically affects the final feel of your project. It can even affect your mood. From warm and soft tones to dark, atmospheric shades, each colour combination invokes a unique feel. Consider the purpose of your design - are you creating a luxurious bar space, a clean minimalist retail space, or a plush family home? Select the colour of your materials based on the environment you’re creating.
Equally as important as colour selection, choosing the right texture can have a huge impact on the finished project. From the flooring to the walls, the textures of the surfaces compliment and bounce off one another. For luxury retail spaces, opt for streamlined airy surfaces such as a light wood or marble in order to draw attention to the products on sale. For inviting bar spaces, choose darker, heavier and plusher materials that give a sense of comfort and relaxation. Switch it up for family entertainment environments like bingo halls or bowling alleys, and play with splashes of bright colour, patterns and a variety of textures.
Comfort and safety
As always, the client’s brief and purpose of the build needs to be kept at the forefront of your mind when selecting materials for comfort and safety. In environments such as bars, casinos, restaurants and homes, comfort needs to be prioritised, as visitors are likely to spend hours relaxing in one venue. However, in spaces such as shops or banks, visits are short and functional, meaning comfort is less important but spacial planning becomes more crucial.
The safety of the materials is also important, particularly in projects that involve children, the elderly or people with limited mobility. In venues such as nurseries, hospices and family homes, consider carefully the weight and hardness of the materials you’re selecting, and the sharp edges, corners and hazards they’re creating.
Buildings are created to last and successfully fulfil their purpose - so the materials you select for the interiors need to live up to this expectation. This means the durability of the floors, walls and surfaces can be crucial depending on the brief you’re carrying out. One example of an area where durability matters most is the flooring - which is why many sectors opt for a hardwood floor, as it’s hard wearing, easy to maintain and clean, and blends seamlessly with any style of interior.
Going hand in hand with all of the above is the cost of the materials you’re selecting. Keep your client’s budget and brief in mind at all times, and ensure you’re choosing the best materials for the right prices. Investing as much budget into high quality materials is important, as choosing cheap materials can result in paying the price for repairs, faults and complaints further down the line. However, it’s equally as vital to ensure you’re staying respectfully within your client’s comfort zone, and distributing enough budget to other areas of the project.
Specifying the right interior materials can truly make or break your project, so it’s of huge importance to really do your research and make sure you’re making the right choices for your client. Take into consideration all of the elements above to create unique and effective spaces that not only fulfill a brief, but also create that ‘wow’ factor to make your project stand head and shoulders above the rest.
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