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How to Pair Interior Design Materials and Finishes

Updated: Aug 7, 2023

The Tapestry III | Mr Shopper Studio

One of the most important but fun parts of an interior design project is putting together materials, designs, samples, style trends, and various colours and hues to bring your ideas to life.

But not all ideas can come alive with a simple mix and match.

Some materials and finishes don't look as good as they did on paper, while other combinations that were guaranteed to work suddenly don't.

Without the experience of expert interior designers like our team at Mr Shopper, deciding which pairing to use can easily become costly.

Read on to know why your material selection matters and how to pair interior materials and finishes to achieve the interior design vision of your dreams!

The Importance of Material Choice in Your Interior Design

Treasure Crest II | Mr Shopper Studio

It's simple—our choice of materials and finishes determines how the entire design of your project will come together.

But we're not only talking about 'the look.'

While aesthetics should be a significant consideration when choosing which materials and finishes to go with, the durability and flexibility of the material and your budget should be your priority.

That means all basic materials and finishes must be able to answer the 'why' of every step of the design process. For example, 'why is this flooring material used instead of this one material?'

Here are some of the most common interior design materials and finishes to consider:

Interior Design Painting Techniques & Finishes

Dakota Breeze | Mr Shopper Studio
  • Dry-Brushing

  • Chalkboard paint

  • Colour Washing

  • Ragging

  • Crackle effect

  • Sponging

  • Striae

  • Lime wash

Interior Design Floor Coverings

AMK Court | Mr Shopper Studio

Interior Design Fabrics & Fibres

Seaside | Mr Shopper Studio
  • Linen

  • Silk

  • Wool

  • Cotton

  • Rayon

  • Acetate

  • Acrylic

  • Polyester

  • Nylon (Polyamide)

Tips for Choosing the Best Material and Finish Combinations

Bijou | Mr Shopper Studio

Alongside technical specificities, the materials you choose should satisfy your needs, lifestyle, and the design style and theme you're going for.

Here are tips you can use to have a better understanding of your needs:

Be Clear on What You Want

Having a vision of what you want and need for your space can help your interior designers create them more easily and accurately.

Prioritise Function

Do you prefer hard materials for your rooms for easier cleaning?

Unfortunately, hard materials have a significant acoustic effect, so they aren't the best options for quiet rooms.

Consult your interior designer for other material options or work on proper space planning to mitigate excessive noise.

Stick to Your Budget

It's easy for your expenses to balloon overtime without a budget.

In addition, custom materials and rare pieces are guaranteed to drive the prices up, so be sure to cover them with your interior designer before starting your project.

Be Open to Trying Different Materials and Finishes

Sticking one material selection for your interior space can be more economical.

When attaining modern interior design, keep in mind that it is a style that can easily be pigeonholed with clean lines, natural materials, and minimalism.

Even so, it's always a good idea to vary your choice of materials and finishes.

Avoid overusing one specific material; instead, combine soft and hard finishes with multiple textures and grains.

How to Pair Materials and Finishes for Cohesion and Functionality

Forest Hills | Mr Shopper Studio

Coming up with a harmonious and compelling design is not done out of luck.

Below are some tried-and-tested ways to pair materials and finishes for functional and cohesive designs.

Pay Attention to Your Wood Use

Novena Suites | Mr Shopper Studio

Are you using wood for multiple areas in the house or in many ways?

Whether using real or reclaimed wood, choose the wood grain and colour combination carefully, including where you use them.

Instead, pick a dominant wood colour as a starting point to help you pick out the other wood pieces to bring in, using their undertones to match.

On the other hand, if you want to be more daring, using contrasting woods can create visual interest and more depth.

But be sure to first seek your interior designer's expert eye to prevent these from clashing.

Use a Variety of Colours and Textures

Botanique @ Bartley II | Mr Shopper Studio

Don't be afraid about using colours and textures in your spaces.

The rule of thumb is to pair contrasting colour tones on a single piece or use varying textures, such as natural stone, in a similar colour palette for an elegant finish.

For the former, pay attention to coordinating the undertones of the hues for more unified visuals.

For the latter, use a tonal palette to lay your textures, going layer by layer to slowly build up the drama in your design. This way, you can slowly remove these layers when needed.

Take Heed When Using Different Patterns

Twin Vew | Mr Shopper Studio

Patterns bring energy to a space; they can change the scale of furniture and even determine the overall feel of the room.

Thus, it's important to always use them to balance other materials.

For instance, when mixing patterns, use differently-sized materials.

You must also work with only three or four patterns using similar or complementary colours to avoid your space looking like a mess—case in point: polka dots with plaid.

Test Out a Variety of Samples and Swatches

Tampines Greenverge | Mr Shopper Studio

Swatches and samples help you make accurate design decisions, so don't hesitate to get and test out as many materials as possible.

Samples and swatches function to help you get the feel and look of the materials and finishes.

For instance, it can give you ideas on how natural fibers may react at certain temperatures and look in different colors.

You can also see how heavy a material weighs and how it will behave in different washing conditions.

Mr Shopper Studio Has an Eye for Compelling and Cohesive Interior Material Combinations

Hillcrest Villa | Mr Shopper Studio

Whatever interior materials and finishes you have your sights on, you can count on our team of interior designers!

With our priceless expertise, we help you avoid costly decisions and make the most design-sensible material selection for your living spaces' interior design.

We also made sure to offer end-to-end interior design services—design and build, renovation, sourcing and procurement, and interior styling to ensure your utmost convenience.

Let our experts create compelling and cohesive material combinations for your home today; get in touch for a FREE consultation.

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