Plant Fibres Add a Natural Feel to Your Home Furnishings

Plant fibres add instant warmth and texture to any interior - and they're better for the environment

Credit: Flickr/tomooka

Window coverings made of bamboo and other plant-based materials add earthy flavour to your decor

Plant fibres are everywhere in decor these days. Here’s how you can inject a little of that earthy feel to your home furnishings

Beyond the environmental benefits (they come from renewable resources and break down more easily when discarded than artificial materials), they add instant warmth and texture to any interior. They’ll also help you hold on to that beachy summer feel all year long.

How to Add Plant Fibre Furnishings to Your Home

Rugs: Rugs are an obvious choice for adding a bit of fibre to your space. From runners to throws, and even wall-two-wall floor coverings, sisal, jute, seagrass and coir (made from coconut husks) are durable and widely available in a variety of weaves, tones and styles. Look for rugs with finished edges, since the raw-edged ones tend to unravel.

Furniture: Rattan and bamboo furniture have come a long way since the ’70s. Both niche and large-scale manufacturers are going beyond the rickety patio furniture of decades past to create sturdy, creatively designed indoor chairs, dinette sets, cabinets, sofas and other pieces in woven, natural materials.

Blinds and window coverings: Remember those matchstick blinds from your college days? Much like wood blinds, window coverings made of sisal, bamboo and other plant-based materials are great for adding earthy flavour to your decor. Chinatown is still an excellent source, though many manufacturers now produce natural-fibre choices.

Boxes and storage containers: Boxes, baskets and storage ottomans are another great way to add a touch of texture to your space, without turning your home into a full-blown beach hut. Buy them for a song at your local dollar store, or look for fabric-lined versions at larger retailers.

Softer fibres: Natural fibres tend to be a bit scratchy – to add a similar look to your space without bringing in the rough stuff, seek out smoother, earth-toned textiles in hemp or raw cotton.

How to Care for Plant Fibre Furnishings

One downside to the gnarly naturals: most can’t survive a splash of wine or a pet accident – much less a wet-wash – so you’ll want to use them in areas where they’re less likely to get damp or stained (kitchens and bathrooms need not apply).

In case you do make a mess, consider buying a dry-clean-up kit.