5 Breathtaking Material Combinations You Need To Consider

May 22, 2024

Madonna said it best- “we’re living in a material world”. 

How can I make a space memorable and breathtaking? A question every interior designer continuously asks themselves while building a space. How do we make this space one that people will never forget? Layering materials. 

Deceptively simple yet intricately nuanced, and seemingly effortless yet carefully curated, layering materials is a skill that pushes all interior designers’ creativity to blend aesthetics with functionality. And while there may be a million ways to combine different materials, only a handful perfectly harmonize to create a truly unforgettable ambience. 

So, what are some of these award-winning, unforgettable, material combinations? 

Brick & Steel: 

The quintessential materials of every industrial fanatic's dream, brick and steel are the epitome of raw power and rugged elegance. Think of it as the eligible bachelor everyone wants to know on this list. The sturdy, earthy allure of the brick paired with the sleek, metallic charisma of the metal creates this very edgy, urban chic interplay of textures that industrial interior design is known for, which are inherently engaging for the eye.

However, despite the obvious draw towards their industrial roots, more modern takes have allowed this particular material combination to develop and adapt into different interior designs. Exposed structural elements within a modern loft, for instance, seamlessly blend with the brick and steel motif, adding an industrial flair to an otherwise contemporary space. Similarly, in minimalist designs, the juxtaposition of brick and steel can introduce a sense of depth and character without overwhelming the simplicity of the aesthetic.

But what makes this combination truly memorable and so appealing is the unexpected warmth it creates through a balance of strength and comfort. The imperfections of the bricks soften the hard edges of the metal taking it to a new dimension, and ultimately, creating a welcoming atmosphere. 

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Limewash & Rattan:

A material combination that encapsulates a type of beauty that can only be achieved using natural, organic materials, limewash, and rattan is a sustainable duo that exhibits how clean, minimalistic aesthetics can be achieved without compromising the environment. 

For those of you who don’t know, limewash is a textured paint made from lime (a natural mineral), and can give a space a soft, old-world flair. On the other hand, rattan is a flexible yet highly durable palm wood used to create this woven pattern typically seen on the backs of chairs. 

When paired together… *chefs kisses*. An actual work of art that can make even the stuffiest, closed-off rooms feel light and airy. The textured nature of the limewash gives it this reflectiveness that enhances natural light while the rattan’s open weave allows the light to glisten through, instantly brightening and lightening a room into a super relaxed and inviting space. 

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Wood & Marble:

Comfort and luxury are not two terms that are very rarely used together. But when it comes to wood and marble, there are no two words that better describe such a combination. 

Wood, with its warm tones, organically earthy textures, and natural grains adds character to the finest details, and a marble’s cool, smooth hardness, elegant veins, and timeless allure exude sophistication. Simply put, it’s just a match made in heaven. 

But what makes this material combination an absolute winner in our books is the fact that it so effortlessly complements a vast range of color schemes and interior design styles, that it quite literally is the chameleon of design elements. 

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Travertine & Marble:

Oh, how opposites really do attract! Travertine and metal are a striking combination due to their rather contrasting yet complementary qualities. 

Travertine is a natural stone, specifically limestone. Therefore, like all other natural materials, it has unique patterns, colour variations, and holes that give it this very shabby chic, almost deliberately worn, and torn vibe. Metal, on the other hand, has an industrial heritage, and, as expected, has a very contemporary edginess and sleekness that very few other materials can challenge. 

These natural variations in travertine's texture and colour complement the sleek and polished surface of the metal, resulting in a combination that creates a grounded, modern interior design style and a dynamic interplay of light and shadow, leaving one in a state of complete awe. 

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Canvas & Wood:

Some pairings are just destined to be. Bread and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Strawberries and chocolate. And canvas and wood are no exception. An inspiring material combination that many interior designers love to play around with, canvas and wood infuse rooms with natural elegance and understated sophistication. 

One of the key advantages of wood and canvas is the way the different textures invite exploration. The multidimensional layering of textures stimulates senses like never before. Just think about it… The grainy surface of the wood begs to be touched, evoking a sense of connection to nature and history, while the soft, fabric-like feel of the canvas adds a cosy comfort that invites you to sink in and relax. It’s absolutely sensational. 

Furthermore, canvas and wood are timeless. Unlike trends that come and go,  the natural beauty of these materials transcends time and fashion, ensuring that your design choices remain relevant and stylish for years to come. 

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