Anne Haimes Interior Design
blue and orange cushions design

Materials Guide for Interior Design 

Materials are a key consideration in any interior design plan. Not only will your chosen materials play a role in the functionality of your floors, surfaces, furniture and accessories but they also contribute to the atmosphere and aesthetic of your home. 

For example, carpet flooring is perfect for warm and cosy bedrooms, while stone flooring can complete modern kitchen interiors. 

Our expert guide looks at the benefits of common interior design materials, helping you make the perfect choices for your home flooring, kitchen and bathroom renovation and homely bedroom redesign.   

Flooring Materials – Hard or Soft? 

Flooring represents the biggest decision when it comes to choosing your home materials – it covers the whole of each room and will be the first thing you see and feel when you enter the room. So, it’s important you find a material that provides the modern or inviting experience you’re looking for.  

Flooring forms the basis for the feel of the overall room, so consider the interior design of the rest of the space when choosing your materials. Take a look at our flooring guide for more information on what suits your home. 

The main decision you’ll make when it comes to flooring is between hard and soft materials. Both offer benefits in a practical and design sense.  

Just remember, you want flooring that will last – so, it’s important to plan ahead and choose something versatile that will also work with any design changes you may make in the near future. 

Below are some of the most popular hard and soft flooring options. 

Hard Flooring Options 

marble floor walk in shower with downlights

Marble flooring offers a sleek, elegant finish to an interior, popular in many 21st century homes. 

Traditionally used in kitchens and bathrooms, marble flooring doesn’t have to be limited to these rooms – the material adds a touch of class in other areas of the home, like hallways and entryways. However, softer materials are cosier in bedrooms and living areas. 

It did use to be thought of as being quite cold, however if you pair it with underfloor heating, you can achieve a sleek look without losing any warmth. 

A popular choice of natural stone flooring, granite fits perfectly in rooms with an industrial interior design style. Granite’s dark shade and rugged, organic look and feel make it a staple of the industrial style. 

Like marble, granite floors are ideal for use in kitchens, bathrooms and hallways. However, they require regular attention and maintenance compared with other materials.  

Concrete is ideal for durable, long-lasting flooring that is easy to maintain. It doesn’t require tiling, which means it’s less likely to become chipped or broken.  

Also, keep in mind concrete doesn’t hold heat well, so your floors will get cold in the winter, which can be uninviting – especially in kitchen dining areas where you plan to spend evenings or host drinks with friends.  

Wood flooring can be hard or soft, with the former popular for its versatility, both in style and practicality.  

Hardwood flooring is reasonably priced compared with stone tiles, plus it’s longer-lasting, warmer and complements a range of interior design styles, such as modern, contemporary, Scandi and industrial décor.  

Ceramic tiles perfectly complement a range of interior designs, thanks to their versatility in shape, size, colour and pattern. However, they can prove heavy for use on the second floor of the home.  

The traditional benefits of ceramic tiles include their affordability and adaptability to any room.  

Porcelain tiles are a type of ceramic, recognisable for their harder, more durable nature. They are more resistant to moisture than traditional ceramic tiles, making them perfect for use in bathrooms.  

Soft Flooring Options 

Carpet floors are traditionally appealing as a quieter, warmer and easier-to-install alternative to wood or stone flooring. They offer a cosier and more inviting atmosphere for bedrooms and living rooms.  

Plus, from a design perspective, there is a near-endless catalogue of carpet designs, colours and patterns to suit any interior plan. 

Softwood flooring options like oak and cork are traditionally popular in homes with modern and mid-century modern interiors. Softwood materials offer a natural aesthetic and warm, inviting feel to a room. They also complement other materials, like granite and glass. 

Laminate flooring has a core made from by-products of wood, as opposed to entirely synthetic vinyl flooring.  

While laminate is similar to vinyl, the key design difference between the two is how laminate flooring more closely resembles the material it is imitating. Laminate flooring looks closer to authentic wood or stone than vinyl.  

Vinyl flooring is completely synthetic, making it versatile for use in almost any room in the home. Vinyl material comes in a variety of styles, including imitations of wood, stone and ceramic.  

Kitchen Materials 

wood kitchen countertops

The kitchen plays a central role in the design of your home interior. It’s not only a room for everyday use but many homes also combine kitchen and dining areas, making it especially important to create an inviting space. 

Firstly, decide on the overall style you’d like your kitchen to follow – you can read our style guide for inspiration. Then, you can choose which materials will help you create this aesthetic.  

Modern style kitchen plans make use of simple, earthy tones and natural materials like wood, quartz or glass. Contemporary style kitchens place emphasis on similar materials but with darker, industrial-inspired elements, like stainless steel, concrete and granite. 

These are some of the most common material options to complete your kitchen – from countertops and cabinets to flooring: 

Granite is an elegant material, perfect for use in luxury kitchens. The material is sturdy and durable and a versatile design choice that works beautifully in contemporary kitchens.  

Wood is not only commonly used in kitchen flooring but also as a functional material on surfaces like countertops. Wood provides a warm traditional look and is more versatile, compared with stone alternatives, lending itself to a range of colours and finishes. 

It does however need a lot of maintaining, which you need to factor in when choosing wood. 

Stainless steel is an ideal material for creating a contemporary or industrial kitchen feel. The material is ideal for use in sinks, workstations and splashbacks and perfectly complements wood cabinets and flooring.  

Concrete can be used in kitchen flooring and countertops. Concrete surfaces provide a mix of functionality and style, with grey tones fitting in perfectly alongside neutral colour schemes.  

Ceramic tiles can be used around the kitchen thanks to their versatility in design. Choose ceramic tiles in shapes, colours and patterns that complement the overall design of your kitchen. 

Marble flooring and kitchen surfaces are ideal for lavish homes, creating a classy ‘hotel’ vibe. Use marble in the kitchen to create a bright and inviting atmosphere, while nurturing a luxury living aesthetic.  

Bathroom Materials 

marble bathroom floor

Granite and concrete are ideal for use in bathrooms with a walk-in shower or a generous floor space. These materials are sleek, natural and waterproof.  

Hardwood is suited to spacious, well-ventilated bathrooms, as moisture can damage the wood in the long term. However, with plenty of space, hardwood flooring and surfaces give bathrooms a warm, country-style vibe.   

Porcelain’s impressive water resistance makes it a common feature of modern bathrooms. Porcelain tiles also come in a range of styles and patterns that can mimic natural stone designs or complement the colour scheme of unique, personalised bathrooms.  

Soft Furnishings 

blue and orange cushions design

Once you’ve established your home’s key materials, you’re ready to add the finishing touches with soft furnishings. This includes accessories and smaller furniture pieces like sofa cushions, bedsheets, curtains and rugs.  

When picking your soft furnishings, aim to enhance or complement the existing theme of the room, created by the flooring and surfaces.  

Soft furnishings offer a simple way of adapting and updating your home without the hassle of completely redesigning rooms.  

Adding smaller accessories like frames and ornaments brings personality to rooms, keeping them fresh and modern. You can even add splashes of colour through these smaller accessories without clashing with the existing colour schemes in each room.  

Use these tips to help you choose the perfect materials for your home design plan. Or for some more inspiration, or information about our dressing service get in touch with us today.