By Laura Gaskill, Houzz
Organic modern style blends the clean lines of modern design with the warmth and ease of natural objects and materials. A little sleek, a little rustic, this popular style mash-up is easy to live with and seems to appeal to both men and women in equal measure. If you love this look but the designer pieces and reclaimed wood products you covet are giving you sticker shock, these 11 tips can help.
1. Use nature as your decor. Go big for maximum impact: a massive pile of logs, a giant set of naturally shed antlers, a long piece of driftwood propped up in the corner. Other items to forage for or purchase include petrified wood, interesting stones, geodes, chunks of crystal and wood slices.
2. Mix high and low. It’s been said every which way, both in fashion and in home decor, but that’s because it really works. Score most of your stuff from budget sources with good basics in white or black (Target, Ikea, Craigslist etc.) and punctuate it with one or two pieces you’ve saved up for that are more of a splurge. You can’t go wrong with a cool modern chair; even if you can’t afford to get the whole set, save up for a pair and put them at the heads of the table, then fill in the sides with coordinating chairs from budget sources.
3. Know that a little marble goes a long way. Love the look of these marble waterfall counters? Bring some of the same feel to your own kitchen without a major rehab by placing a big marble pastry board atop your existing counter. It’s a small luxury that can make a big difference in the look and feel of your space. Pair it with something smooth and wooden — a capacious salad bowl, a bar stool — to bring in a touch of warmth.
4. Get modern art for (almost) free. Go to the newsstand and scoop up an armful of art magazines that catch your eye, then scour the pages for images worth snipping out and framing. Once they’re in nice little frames with proper matting, no one will be the wiser that they’re not fancy limited-edition prints.
5. Pick up some hipster plants. Plants are for the most part inexpensive, yet are often overlooked in interiors. If you don’t have any houseplants, I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the boost they can give your decor. A terrarium, succulents, air plants, staghorn ferns or anything under a glass cloche will instantly give your space that organic modern vibe.
6. Get a super nice handmade rug, size small. Love the look of those gorgeous handmade Moroccan rugs? Instead of getting one to fill the whole room, choose a tiny one to go just under your coffee table and layer it over a larger natural-fiber rug. It will be enough to bring that warm, handmade vibe to your room, but without breaking the bank.
7. Paint trim and walls the same hue. Pick a slightly chalky hue, like milk white, putty, glacier blue or fog gray, and paint both walls and trim. The effect is subtle and so, so easy. Pick the same or slightly varied shades for each room to create an easy, organic flow.
8. Splurge on bath details. Little things can make a huge difference, especially in small spaces like the bathroom. Look for thin, fringed hand towels, a bath mat made from river stones or teak, and bath products in dark amber glass bottles.
9. Score some reclaimed wood. Even if a built-in desk like this one is beyond your skill level (and reclaimed wood floors are beyond your budget), it could still pay to track down a slab or two of cool-looking reclaimed wood. Try using Ikea table legs or steel pipes from the hardware store to make a one-of-a-kind table for only the cost of materials.
10. Choose long-lasting, sculptural branches. Invest in one nice big (and I mean really big!) vessel for holding branches, and use it to hold a natural display that changes with the season. Plunk in some bare branches in winter and decorate with natural ornaments, then swap them out for apple or quince blossoms in the spring, and lush foliage in summer and fall. Cut branches can last a month or more, so even if you don’t have a tree of your own to snip them from, it’s a worthy splurge at the farmer’s market or corner florist.
11. Go for the Zen, aka empty-room, look. Just joking? Yes and no. While the Eames lounge chair, fancy woodstove and amazing windows shown here may be out of reach, it is true that when you are going for an organic modern look, less definitely is more. Can’t afford to fill your living room with lots of furniture? Embrace it! Pare back and focus on choosing only pieces you love.