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How to Use Mixed Materials in Your Home

by Joan Riley, Home Product Writer for The House Designers®

Finishing a home takes all kinds of materials, but we often fall back on just a few when putting the final touches on the interior. Why not look beyond the usual specifications to create a totally unique design? Mixing materials gives you the opportunity to get imaginative, impart practicality where you need it, and even save some money without compromising on aesthetics! Read on to see what we mean, and to get some ideas for your new home!

Wilsonart THINSCAPE and Laminate

This gorgeous kitchen features Spanish Limestone THINSCAPE™ countertops, and the island uses a durable Loft Oak laminate for a butcherblock effect. Both stand out beautifully against the dark gray cabinetry, and are more durable than the materials they mimic.

Design a Dynamic & Cost-Effective Kitchen

The kitchen is the single most expensive part of a house; so many parts go into it, and each must provide the necessary functions, withstand the rigors of the space, and look good doing it. It really adds up when you start planning and budgeting, and many homeowners find their wish lists being tested and downgraded. But don’t get stuck thinking you have to compromise! Consider what you can do with the variety of materials available, and piece together a final picture that you’ll love to see every day.

There are so many things you can do with countertops, cabinets, and backsplashes to make them more affordable. First, take stock of the possibilities—laminate is the most adaptable material by far, but you’ll also find lovely solid surface and quartz options that are less expensive and require much less maintenance than natural stone slabs. And who says you should only have one kind of countertop? If your top pick pushes you over budget, look into a complementary alternative for part of the kitchen. You could be surprised by just how gorgeous the space looks with contrast! You can do the same with cabinetry—two-tone designs with different colors for base and hanging cabinets, or between island and wall cabinets, are visually stunning, and you can tailor the effect affordably with wood-look laminate. A variety of materials are also suitable for backsplash use, and they’re easier to install than the traditional tile, and more durable than paint. No matter the feature, see how you can divide it up to give the whole space a unique finish.

Wilsonart Solid Surface and Quartz

The bathroom should be as waterproof as possible! The stunning wall shown here is Solid Surface in Angel Falls, and the countertop is Quartz in Manhattan. Both are nonporous and impervious to splashes and stains.

Add Durability Where You Need It

Sometimes, making a practical choice is at the forefront of your mind. A number of areas of a home are tested daily, and choosing materials that can withstand the challenge will keep them looking good and protect your investment. That doesn’t mean that those smart choices are made regularly, though! Just think about where damage accumulates in your house—perhaps you splash the wall behind your bathroom sink, or dirt and scuffs mar the paint around your foyer or mudroom? Here’s where you should think about installing a more durable material.

If you’re afraid of extending or creating a new backsplash, or dressing up just the lower portion of a wall, don’t be! Just think of it as wainscoting, that classic architectural feature that so many people love. It can be done in traditional and contemporary styles, and its primary purpose has always been to protect the wall behind it. Originally made of oak, wainscot isn’t cheap, but you can create the same visual effect with other materials that are stronger than drywall and much easier to clean. Laminate comes in every sort of pattern, including things like rustic wood planking, if you want simple installation. Solid surface can be crafted into wall cladding panels for a thicker, more authentic feel. Whatever you choose, the transition between colors/textures on the wall definitely adds something to the design of the space.

Wilsonart Laminates

Would you believe every surface here is laminate? The countertop is Bainbrook Grey, the base color of the wall is Vapor Strandz, and the metallic stripes are Satin Brushed Gold Aluminum from the Decorative Metals collection. Just imagine what you could design to accent your home!

Create Built-In Interest

It’s simple—you can mix materials to make your own masterpiece! While this might seem a little scary, the key is moderation. Consider giving personality to an office or kids’ room, or making a custom backsplash. Beautiful accents come in many forms—you can pick a single pattern that stands out or piece together a few designs into a one-of-a-kind work of art. Of course, you can also use different materials in DIY projects to refresh your furniture—maybe your desk needs a new surface, or you have a bookcase that would look great in a two-tone scheme? With myriad products available, you can get plenty imaginative!

Wilsonart offers all sorts of engineered surfaces that can breathe new life into every part of your home! Whether you’re looking for a countertop or something that can be installed vertically, you won’t be lost for lack of options. Wilsonart focuses on high-performance surfaces, many that faithfully recreate the looks of more fragile and high-maintenance materials, so you can invest in the aesthetics you want and simplify upkeep in the future.