What’s old — centuries old, even — is suddenly new again in home design. Wood, that ancient staple of interior decorating, has been getting fresh attention in every room of the house.
Designer and HGTV host Genevieve Gorder calls wood “the one medium that is eternal.”
“It’s been in interiors since the beginning of time, and it’s sitting in our front yards,” she says. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Gorder, along with fellow designers Candice Olson and Vern Yip, judges the work of fledgling designers each week on HGTV’s “Design Star.” When we asked these experts which style ideas have their attention right now, all three mentioned wood.
Wood is both natural and trend-proof, Olson says, and can bring a much-needed warmth and timelessness to modern rooms. Even people who love modern style, she says, don’t want a home “where everything looks like George Jetson lives there.”
Lumber and logs
Years ago, Olson saw an entire wall of stacked wood in a building in Europe. The image stuck with her. She eventually created her own variations, arranging chopped logs from fallen trees within frames that are 6 inches deep.
Lumber, especially the low grades that might otherwise be discarded by builders, can be used the same way.
Gorder loves the look: “Really inexpensive,” she says, and “really powerful.”
Wooden walls and ceilings
Several years back, Yip drew praise for designing a room with one wall covered in planks. “Any time you have an entire wall of one material, wood or something else, it’s so striking,” he says.
It caught on. Wood flooring is now being used to cover walls and ceilings. Old wooden platforms, says Yip, can also be hung up as art.
That showcases a beautiful wood’s texture and color, Olson says. “It’s almost like it gets wasted on the floor,” she says.
People are embracing reclaimed wood and giving it new life, Yip says.
“We realize it’s not an infinite resource we can just keep exploiting,” he says. “It’s a natural extension of the green movement, colliding with the fact that we’re repurposing a lot of things these days.”
And wood adds character to a room, the designers say. Old doors, shutters, crates and barns are being repurposed into furniture and floor or wall coverings. “It’s that soul you can’t buy off the showroom floor,” Gorder explains.
Wood-grain upholstery and wallpaper
If you are going with an impostor, these designers say go all the way. They love the cheerful fakery of wall coverings and upholstery with wood-grain patterns.
“You know a chair isn’t upholstered in wood, so that’s tongue-in-cheek,” Gorder says. “It’s playful.”