10 ways to use timber in your home

From engineered timber flooring to bench tops and furniture, here's how to incorporate timber in your home.

There is a reason that timber has been a staple in home construction and design for thousands of years; not only is it a natural product that is durable, renewable and malleable but it can also add a sense of warmth and history to a space. In fact, a Planet Ark study even found that spending time around wooden interiors could actually improve your emotional state, reduce stress and your lower blood pressure!

1. Feature panels and walls

In kitchens and bathrooms, timber panels can help create the illusion of space when the panels are installed with the grain running horizontally. Alternatively, in spaces with low ceilings, height can be suggested by having wooden panels or the gain running vertically. Pair the feature panels with floorboards running in the same direction to continue the illusion. Reclaimed timber can make interesting textural walls in lounge rooms and bedrooms as well, bringing a feel of providence and history.

2. Bench tops

Though not as popular as they have been in the past, wooden bench tops are making a resurgence. They can help to anchor a kitchen, especially if the wood compliments other design aspects, such as flooring, blinds or window frames. If you’re worried about the timber being damaged by water, you can add in materials, such as natural stone, to wet areas, and save the timber for the ‘social’ spaces of a kitchen. These could include a breakfast bar or serving station.

3. Engineered timber floors

Over the past 12 years, Royal Oak Floor’s engineered timber flooring technology has developed into a sustainable, PEFC accredited and durable option for every room throughout the house. Engineered flooring refers to the practise of creating floorboards that use more than one type of timber. They’re not a laminate, rather a multi-plywood product that features thinly cut hardwood and softwood plantation timbers. Royal Oak Floors specialise in wide board engineered European Oak in a variety of colours, with some boards clean and other boards featuring knots giving your room unique character.  

Royal Oak floor in Peppercorn Grey
(Credit: Royal Oak Floors in Peppercorn Grey)

4. Furniture

Not only can timber furniture be easily updated, it’s also a great way to mix timber textures, tones and styles. Furniture made with reclaimed wood brings a rustic, vintage feel, whereas fairer coloured oak and beech wood pieces will create a clean-lined Scandi feel. Painted timber furniture, such as chairs, tables or cabinetry can also bring a textural element to the interiors and offer an easy way of mixing timbers without clashing tones.  

Royal Oak Floors in Ash Grey
(Credit: Get tonal from top to toe! Royal Oak Floors in Ash Grey)

5. Sliding doors

An effective space saving device, sliding doors can be reclaimed ‘barn’ doors or modern Scandi inspired doors. Either way, it’s good opportunity to tie in other timber elements in the design of the room, such as window frames or furniture. Sliding doors are also preferable in small spaces and tiny houses.

6. Decking

Australians love their outdoor entertaining areas, from verandahs to decks and patios, and while brick and stone are also popular for these spaces, wood is a perennial choice. Not only can it be oiled and stained when it needs a lift, but it ages beautifully and is much more forgiving on your feet, especially on hot summer days.

7. Architectural elements

For a more permanent timber presence include timber in visible architectural elements, such as window frames, architraves, vaulting and ceilings. This can help with design continuity throughout a home as it can visually unite unusual layouts and also make smaller spaces appear more ordered and less cluttered.

Royal Oak floors staircase
(Credit: Make your stairs a standout feature. Royal Oak Floors.)

8. Partitions/screens

In open-plan spaces, floor-to-ceiling screens and partitions can bring a temporary or permanent sense of privacy and cosiness. Partitions can be designed with negative space or they can be solid, but using timber brings an added colour, texture and feel to a room. Use modernist or Japanese-inspired straight lines and symmetry for an understated look, or try incorporating timber designs from Bali, Thailand or India for a more exotic feel.

9. Blinds

The decision to have solid or material window dressings is generally one based on personal preference and architectural relevance, but wooden blinds – especially plantation shutters – can change the design and atmosphere of a room entirely. Using timber is a great way of building warmth and taking advantage of the natural insulating properties of the material as well.

10. Lighting

Due to its flexible and malleable nature, timber is often used in lighting fixtures with spectacular results. From contemporary wooden chandeliers to geometric and turned wood drop lighting, timber is not only a versatile material, it also brings shadow play and warmth to a room when it’s used in lighting elements. 

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