Essential materials that an interior designer needs to consider


How to choose the best quality materials for your Interior Design projects | Combine natural stones with eco-friendly and sustainable materials.

This subject offers a great variety of parameters to consider and concerns everyone taking on an interior project, be it a professional or an amateur going on an interior design adventure on their own.

Either case, several factors need to be considered when it comes to good materials selection, including purpose, function, aesthetics, durability, maintenance, environmental impact and budget. This article focuses on the consideration of these factors to select the best options that achieve the desired look and feel while meeting the functional and budgetary requirements of the project.

The importance of choosing the right materials in Interior Design

Interior designers have the unique ability to transform a plain space into a stunning work of art. They are aware of the variety and diversity of quality materials to create the aesthetics and the atmosphere they envisioned.

Choosing the right marble is widely the right materials is a critical part of an interior design project. The careful consideration of the materials and the final selection of the best options result in the creation of beautiful and functional spaces that stand the test of time.

The materials used within a space have an actual impact not only on the functionality and durability of the design but also on the overall aesthetics and feel of the environment created. Whether in terms of color, texture or pattern, materials are the tools to create a specific mood or style. For instance, natural wood floors and stone accents can create a modern and sophisticated look.

Choosing the right quality materials can also impact the functionality of a space. A durable and moisture-resistant flooring material is essential in a bathroom or in kitchen, while a soft and comfortable upholstery choice is ideal for a living room or a bedroom. In that manner, the materials used in a space can impact its durability and longevity. Choosing high-quality and durable materials can ensure that the design stands up to wear and tear and requires less maintenance and replacement over time. Also, the materials used in a space can impact the safety of the users. Make sure you choose non-toxic and fire-resistant materials to create a safer environment for the occupants.

Furthermore, nowadays, sustainable materials are becoming increasingly important in interior design. Choose eco-friendly and sustainable materials to reduce the environmental impact of a project and promote a more sustainable lifestyle. 

Infographic with the 6 materials you need to know as an interior designer, with sample of each natural material, marble, fabric, granite, wood, glass, metal
Six versatile materials with quality for your interior project shown in an infographic

Types of materials that an interior designer needs to consider

A wide variety of the selected natural materials enriches the space, offering depth. Combine soft and hard quality sustainable materials and the incorporate multiple textures to add interest and drama. However, aiming for moderation in the variation, though, would bring serenity and calmness to a space. Busy designs can be distracting and off-putting, while over-using one specific material can be remarkably unattractive.

Building materials refer to the different materials used in construction projects to create structures such as buildings and bridges. Commonly used building materials would be concrete, bricks, wood, steel, stone and glass. Each one has unique properties and applications and their selection depends on a number of factors determining the project.

Decorative materials are items or materials used to enhance the appearance of a space, object, or surface. They can be used to add color, texture, pattern, or visual interest to a variety of surfaces, including walls, floors, furniture, and more.

Some common construction and decorative materials are the following:

Marble: a classic versatile material that has been used for centuries in art and architecture and it is primarily employed to create quality walls and floors both in interior and exterior spaces. Among all the natural stones available, marble is the most prized and synonymous with elegance, class and versality. Historically, marble has been used mainly on the facades and the interiors of grand buildings, temples and monuments. White and light-coloured marble was a very popular material in ancient Greece and Rome, as it was used to create beautiful structural elements like pillars, as well as imposing sculptures.

Rendering of a living room with marble used in the flooring and as wall-cladding
Modern living room with marble on the floor and wall, with unique patterns ideal for interior design

Marble is known among sustainable materials for its unique veining patterns which are created by the natural impurities and mineral deposits trapped within the stone during its formation. With regular maintenance such as sealing and proper cleaning, you can keep your marble surfaces at their best for a lifetime.

Marble adds a sophisticated and elegant touch to a space and can be used for an exciting number of applications including flooring, countertops, backsplashes, wall-claddings and showers. Nowadays, this wonderful material has a diverse variety of applications, such as furniture, lighting and all sorts of accessories, from trays to vases and candlesticks.

Granite: a durable material, another natural stone, resistant to scratches, heat and stains that is used in high-traffic areas, as well as in outdoor landscaping as paving stones, steps and retaining walls due to its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Rows of samples of granite small pieces in different colours and patterns
Image of two rows of granite tile samples, meant to be used in interior design

Wood: nowadays, attention and care for our planet is an important concern for interior design, which translates into wood being extensively used in a variety of applications, from sustainable furniture to accessories to linings. Beech, iroko, ebony, and ash, to name a few beautiful quality wood options and sustainable materials, used on both flooring and furniture.

Pieces of varying wood samples in different shades, on top of a wooden surface
Variety of wood surface samples from an interior designer

Fabric: it is an essential material for an interior design project. It can be used for upholstery, window treatments, and quality decorative accents. From luxurious silks to durable cottons, the right fabric can add texture, color, and pattern to a space.

Image showing pieces of fabric in yellow, red, brown, black and grey shades
Fabric pieces in many colors, good materials for interior design and furniture

Glass: glass is a versatile and elegant material that can be used in a variety of ways in interior design. From glass partitions to glass walls, it can create a modern and sleek look while also allowing natural light to flow through the space. Glass is one of the sustainable materials extensively used to create walls, partitions, doors, as well as railings, balustrades, and tabletops.

Metals: metals, such as steel, copper and brass can add a modern and industrial look to a space. They are an excellent tool to be used for accents, fixtures, and hardware to create a cohesive design.

Interior designers can choose from a variety of renewable materials that have a low environmental impact. From bamboo and cork to recycled materials and natural fibres, each eco-friendly material can add a unique touch to a space while also promoting sustainability.

Furthermore, the look and the aesthetics of a space are enhanced even further by a series of complimentary decorative materials such as the following:

Paint: it can be used to create an accent wall, add colour to a room or completely transform a space. The right quality paint can make a small room feel larger or a dark room feel brighter and more inviting.

Lighting: it is a critical element of interior design. From natural light to quality ambient lighting, it can set the tone and mood of a space. Interior designers have an exciting variety of lighting options in their toolkit, including table lamps, floor lamps and suspended lighting.

Wallcoverings: an exciting and highly creative variety of materials is available to be used on walls, such as wallpaper, murals, and wall panelling. These quality materials are used as part of the overall design scheme and they are very carefully selected to bring in beautiful patterns and visual interest, to create a focal point or add texture and colour to a space.

Infographic of 3 decorative materials an interior design can use in a space, paint, lighting and wallcovering
3 useful decorative materials for an interior designer

How to choose the best materials for your Interior Design projects

Choosing the best materials for an interior design project involves several factors, including the style of the project, the budget, the durability and maintenance requirements of the materials, as well as the environmental impact of the materials. It is important to understand the client’s style, tastes, and preferences. It is a great idea for the client to provide examples of rooms or homes that they feel best exemplifies their personal style. The more information they can share, the closer to their preferences the design proposal will be.

Here are some tips to help you choose the best materials for your interior design project:

💡 Determine the style and theme of the project: the materials you choose should be consistent with the overall design of the project.

👉 Tip 1: For a modern and minimalist environment, materials such as marble, glass, steel and concrete work miracles. Marble, in particular, in a beautiful plain form is the king of minimalism providing relaxed elegance and a timeless feel to any space.

👉 Tip 2: For a rustic and natural space, materials such as marble, wood, stone and brick create beautiful patterns. Due to its versatility, marble in the form of wonderful patterns and rich veins is the ideal material to support any rustic or classic style, adding to the colours and the aesthetics of the space.

💡 Determine how the room should feel: the aesthetics and functionality of a space have a definite emotional impact on its inhabitants.

👉 Tip 3: Incorporating darker colours and harder materials might give a sense of luxury and even quiet, which is why these are often chosen for private spaces in a home.

👉 Tip 4: Bright colours and warm natural materials are much more inviting and conversational, making them preferred for communal areas like a kitchen and shared spaces like the living room.

💡 Be consistent throughout the home, and tie together concepts in thoughtful ways. Usually, clients want a theme to be present in the colours and eco-friendly materials used for each room.

Learn more tips on the use of marble in architectural, decorative & construction interiors projects.

👉 Tip 5: For exteriors, ensure that the materials you choose are appropriate for the environment, style of home, and neighbourhood.

👉 Tip 6: Match your material selection to a room’s function. For example, hard surfaces might make the room easier to clean, but they will also have a significant acoustic effect.

💡 When considering the materials to use for a home renovation, make sure that you take into consideration who will be living in the home.

👉 Tip 7: For a family with small kids, think about how this will affect choices regarding noise dampening materials and include durable and easily cleaned materials within the communal areas and the rooms of the kids.

💡 Don’t forget about the budget. Custom materials like natural stone, woodwork and metals will cost significantly more than stock versions, but they are an excellent tool to use in order to improve the aesthetics of a space and most importantly, add remarkably to the value of a property.

👉 Tip 8: If budget is an issue, use small details and accents as a place for more lavish or unique materials and finishes. This can help save money and draw more attention to special, personal touches.The impact to the aesthetics of the space is definitely strong while at the same time, the value of the property is appreciably raised.

Infographic of the 6 steps an interior designer follows to match materials for a project
6 simple steps to match materials in any quality interior design project

How to match the materials for your Interior Design project

Matching materials for an interior design project require careful consideration of numerous factors, such as the design concept, colour and texture coordination, material compatibility, as well as the client’s requirements, preferences and budget. The careful consideration of these factors results to a well-balanced selection of sustainable materials that complement each other and create a cohesive and harmonious overall design. 

Pair materials with colours in a sensible, complementary way. There is no fixed rule about whether it is best to choose colours or materials first. Can you incorporate reclaimed materials from a piece of the property, a furniture item, or some other element that has sentimental value for your client? These pieces could be used as complimentary items in terms of aesthetics or could, even, be the centre pieces upon which a whole story or a theme are based on.

A starting point to match the materials would be to determine the style of the project. Would you be aiming for a traditional or a modern look? Classic or rustic? Once you have a style in mind, you can start researching materials that will match that style.

Moving on, consider the purpose of the space. What is the intended use of the space you are designing? If it is a high-traffic area, you should need materials that are durable and easy to clean. If it is a cosy living room, you may want to choose materials that are soft and comfortable.

Additionally, create a colour theme by choosing the colour scheme that you will use throughout the space, including the materials to be selected. Any idea would be an exciting one if you are consistent. A monochromatic colour scheme would have a dramatic effect, the use of complementary colours would create harmony and provide balance within the space, while a mix of colours would offer intensity and would create wonderful focal points.

Mixing textures can add depth and interest to a space. Consider combining materials such as wood, metal, glass and fabric to create a layered look. On the other hand, sustainability is an extremely popular issue nowadays. Many designers take into consideration the environmental impact of the materials to be used in a project. Look for sustainable material options, such as bamboo or reclaimed wood.

Another particularly key factor is the lighting of the space and the effect it has on the varied quality materials of the space, depending on the lighting source, origin and style. It would be wise to see samples of the proposed materials onsite, before making any final decisions. This will give you a better idea of how the materials will look in your space and how they will work together.

In conclusion, an exciting variety of sustainable materials is available. From bamboo and cork to marble, each material can add a unique touch to a space while also promoting sustainability.

Slabs of marble organized in indoor warehouse owned by Stone Group International
Natural stone marble slabs in a variety of patterns in an indoor warehouse in Greece

At Stone Group International, one of the leading marble manufacturers, beautiful marble choices are available, including white and coloured marble slabs, tiles and mosaics. They are all suitable for any application in your interiors.

Visit our shop and discover our marbles!

Furthermore, a team of experts with deep knowledge on the material and the current needs of projects, can guide you and help you choose the appropriate marble for your next project.

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