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Natural materials for the home, and great fuss-free alternatives

Marble, wood and concrete each have their distinctive allure. We suss out these beautiful materials and present fuss-free alternatives to achieving the same look and style at home.

Text by Jasmine Goh


The sense of warmth and cosiness that wood brings to your home is undeniable. Solid wood feels good to the touch and is extremely comfortable for use as a tabletop or flooring. Applying a waterproof surface finish will help to increase its resistance to water. Solid wood is undoubtedly one of the most durable materials when maintained well. The longevity of wood lies in its capacity to be sanded and finished multiple times, which will help a scratched and tired hardwood surface to look fresh again.

Featured: project by Goy Architects

Get the same look with… HERF

High end resilient flooring (HERF) is a popular choice among homeowners, and is sometimes regarded as an ‘improved version’ of wooden floors. This man-made material is waterproof and termite-resistant, unlike its organic counterpart. HERF is also extremely easy to install (you can lay them over existing floors) and can be removed and reinstalled elsewhere. Another advantage HERF has is that it’s easy to clean and maintain.

Featured: Durban Oak from Evo HERF, available at Evorich



Marble is a classic material of choice when it comes to elevating the luxe factor in a space. It is widely used for flooring, tabletops and even on walls. Marble is a natural forming rock and is susceptible to chipping and scratching. Its porous nature also makes it prone to stains and discolouration. As such, marble requires regular maintenance and constant care to prevent stains and scratches.

Featured: project by Ris Interior

Get the same look with… engineered quartz

Manufactured by combining natural quartz chips with artificial polymers, engineered quartz is a man-made material that is ideal for almost any surface of your home. The dense, non-porous slabs are waterproof and easy to maintain, and are resistant to stains, scratches and chemicals.

Featured: (left) White Attica, from Caesarstone; (right) The Toledo Collection, from Smartsone, available at Hafary



Concrete flooring is a popular choice for homeowners, in part due to the trending industrial look. It’s not just a boring grey colour; designers are now able to achieve a variety of shades and textures by mixing cement types and using different setting methods. Suitable staining agents can also be applied to give it a unique effect. Its porosity means that moisture can enter and cause mold to grow, so ensure that your concrete surface is properly sealed before use. Minimal maintenance is needed for a well-sealed concrete surface.

Featured: project by Linear Space Concepts

Get the same look with… porcelain tiles

Highly resistant to moisture and scratches, porcelain tiles are durable and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. In addition, they are easy to clean and maintain. Available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and textures, these tiles can be designed to emulate the uneven streaks and splotches seen on concrete surfaces.

Featured: Urban collection from Equipe Ceramicas, available at Hafary





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