The Best Types of Timber For Interior Design Projects

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Published Thursday 28th August 2014

The home is a deceptively complex place. Some people are generally happy with a house when they purchase it. They might not feel the need to change too much. A touch of wallpaper here, a lick of paint there. However, some people see past the bricks and mortar to realise that a home has the potential to be so much more. 

Interior design is becoming a big part of homeowners' personal projects and in the current economic climate, it's not uncommon for major renovations to be undertaken with the aim of adding value to a property or simply making a home your own. And with cost-effectiveness, great green credentials and versatility, it's no wonder homeowners turn to timber for their home design projects.


In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of interior design jobs and offer suggestions on the best types of wood to use for each.


Putting to task


There’s a wide array of interior design jobs for the home, but you'll find the most common fall under the following categories:


Furniture - Whether this is buying in or creating from scratch, furniture is a fundamental aspect of interior design. From chairs and tables, to sideboards and bookcases, the furniture a homeowner chooses is very much a reflection of their personality. Whilst design trends come and go, as well as aesthetics, the beauty of using wooden furniture in home design is the sheer flexibility it affords.


Materials Used - The great thing about furniture is that is can be fit to integrate with any design job. Materials for furniture can incorporate wood, metal, fabrics and plastics. However, wood remains an especially popular choice, mainly due to its low cost and the fact that furniture is a relatively small project.


The versatility of timber means it fits in with a vast variety of trends. For example, mouldings can be simply cut from both softwoods and hardwoods, such as pine, to complement the edges of rustic and all natural furniture designs.


Walls/Ceilings - Decorating the walls and ceilings of a home can be as simple as a quick paint job, or as complicated as altering the layout of a property via the creation and demolition of said walls and ceilings. In this case, you may find that timber is an ideal material for strengthening structural integrity, as well as being aesthetically pleasing.


Materials Used - Again, both softwoods and hardwoods are ideal for use in maintaining walls and ceilings - depending on the desired look. Russian Redwood and European Whitewood provide excellent building timber as they are easy to machine and have great insulation properties. Softwood such as Norway Spruce or Scots Pine are ideal for bespoke roofing or frame walls.


For something to bear bigger loads, you might want to try softwoods such as Glulam, which is perfect for larger homes, offices and the like.


Flooring - This is definitely an area of design that's especially suited to wood. Whilst carpeted rooms are still very much in use, many people are having wooden floors installed to increase the value of their homes. Solid wooden floors are aesthetically pleasing, offering the best of modern chic combined with a timeless beauty. They are also easy to maintain and complement most (if not all) design choices. Another great advantage is that, when properly maintained, they can potentially last a very long time.


Materials Used - While you can use a variety of woods for this type of flooring, it’s recommended to opt for something durable. European or American Oak is a prime choice here, as is Walnut. Solid and stable, these types of hardwood are perfect for creating dark and light colour designs, whilst being quite resistant to scratches and marks.


Panelling - Ideal for both external and internal home design, panelling (also known as cladding) provides a professional and visually stimulating way to add on to the exterior of fixtures. The benefits extend beyond how it looks. Wooden panelling is renewable, consumes less energy and any carbon retained by the tree's growth is locked into the timber - making it an ideal choice for the environmentally-minded homeowner.


Materials Used - If using panelling outside, Western Red Cedar is quite good because it has a high resistance to warping, which is prone to occurring in external conditions. For something a little stronger, Siberian Larch is recommended. It is durable, machines well and also takes fixings well too.


For interior designs, look to American White Oak, which has a good strength. Dark Red Meranti is also a great option, with its superior bending properties that allows for more flexibility in design.


Decking - With more and more people staying at home, the garden is becoming a place to be. Decking is proving very popular as terraces, roof gardens and balconies are being incorporated into home design.


Materials Used - Softwood is a very common material in decking, being widely available and abundant. Western Red Cedar and Southern Yellow are popular, due to the fact that have little or no knots. They can also be treated for pressure, extending their lifetime to up to thirty years. It is also much more cost -effective to use softwoods. Another good choice for decking is Accoya, a cutting-edge type of timber whose cells are treated to make it long-lasting and highly resistant to mould and infestations.




Wood is, and will continue to be a perennially popular design material. The flexibility, heat retaining properties and structural stability of good grade timber are just some of the reasons it remains such a popular fixture in home design projects.


Your Turn 

Do you think we've missed any good woods, or have any advice on what types of timber work well in certain jobs? We're always keen to hear your thoughts, so don't be a stranger and give us a shout on Twitter.

And if you're undertaking a major design project as a contractor or individual, or simply want some impartial advice on the best types of timber to use, be sure to get in touch with us today.