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Simple materials, big impact!

Designing interiors on a tight budget can be difficult to achieve, particularly if the project involves a complete or partial rebuild of a home.  However, with the use of inexpensive and unusual materials, creating a contemporary, fulfilling and desirable interior is not impossible.  In our latest blog post, we look at how utilising certain materials can help to create a great interior, without breaking the bank.


OSB or Oriented Strand Board, is the “material of the moment”.  A quick fix solution to any interior space, OSB is created by layering large flakes of wood in a specific orientation; the wooden strips are compressed and bonded together with wax and a resin adhesive, which creates a rigid, versatile and cost-effective material.

Whether left in its raw state, varnished, burnished with dark lacquers, or painted, OSB can work in many styles of interior to give a contemporary, clean finish (depending on how you treat it!)  One of the benefits of using OSB is that because of its manufactured quality, the OSB panels can be produced as much larger sizes than that compared with similar products like plywood.  Depending on the size, OSB sheets have few, if any, horizontal seams, and it is entirely possible for one sheet to reach from floor to ceiling.

The below image shows the use of OSB in the creation of a luxe retail interior for Aesop (Japan, designed by architectural team Torafu, alongside Aesop’s Hioroko Shiratori.  The designers have applied white paint and then a black stain to the OSB, which gives the impression of marble or polished concrete, but at a fraction of the cost.  The result is a crisp, highly-functional, contemporary interior.

Simple materials, big impact!

Being so versatile in its application, OSB can be used in a range of interiors, from retail to hospitality, and residential settings.

Simple materials, big impact!

DIY Concrete

Although not to everyone’s taste, the industrial finish of concrete can somewhat surprisingly, create an interior with natural warmth, with an industrial yet contemporary edge.  Polished concrete can be a costly outlay in any project, but with concrete mix being readily available, anyone can turn their hand to being a master pourer, no matter how large or small a project.

Concrete has traditionally been used in interiors as flooring or to show off a raw, industrial nature to the built environment of a space.  However, concrete can be used for a number of purposes, such as this bold shelving unit, created by architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Simple materials, big impact!

Although Bawa’s concrete unit (above) would be cast concrete and polished, therefore making it an expensive product, concrete can be used in a more affordable manner, such as this d.i.y Belfast sink, hanging shelf, and concrete kitchen island (which was hand poured in a d.i.y mould).

Simple materials, big impact! Simple materials, big impact! Simple materials, big impact!


If the amount of natural light is an issue in your home, but incorporating glass walls is too much of an intrusion or too costly, then why not think about using polycarbonate instead?  Polycarbonate is a lightweight, durable and inexpensive alternative which can help to increase the flow of natural light, can be coated to have a higher heat gain than untreated panels, and can be fixed into large panels on both the exterior and interior.

Projects such as those below, from the likes of Invisible Studio (left), David Coleman Architects (centre) and Francesc Rifé Studio (right) demonstrate how this inexpensive material can be integrated into an interior space, creating a contemporary environment, full of diffused light.

Simple materials, big impact! Simple materials, big impact! Simple materials, big impact!

Updating your interior does not have to involve costly materials; think about alternative uses for unusual materials which can help to create an individual space, full of character and charm.



Apartment Therapy (2015) OSB headboard/OSB kitchen [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Archdaily (2013) Polycarbonate wall [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Dea Vita (n.d) Concrete kitchen island [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Dezeen (2014) HAF store interior [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Dezeen (2016) El Bulli Lab [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Freshome (2014) Concrete sink [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Gavia Concept (2015) OSB counter [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Macaron Magazine (n.d) Aesop Japan [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Pinterest (2014) OSB restaurant interior [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Red Architecture (2015) Commercial Interior 02 [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.07.17

The Designer Pad (2015) OSB bathroom [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

The House Directory (2015) Concrete storage [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

Trouva (2015) Concrete shelf [Online Image] Available from: Accessed: 16.01.17

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2 responses

  1. It is truly not a matter if large expenses in order to revamp your place and make it look fabulous. I believe it is more about creativity and personal touch. One should be always curious, pro-active, and not afraid to experiment in order to achieve great things. Thank you for inspiring post!

  2. Looks fantastic!

    I’d love to know exactly how to get that grey look on the OSB boards! Is it painted first and then dry before the stain is applied? Or is it painted and stained at the same time?

    Thank you.

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