Using natural materials when specifying the internal décor of a property is often a powerful way of inciting house buyers to fall in love with a property. While size, location and nearby amenities are nearly always important for buyers when searching for a new home, the quality of the finish, and choice of these materials, is also a key factor.
We conducted a recent report into what homebuyers are looking for*, and a range of homebuilders across the UK were surveyed about their perception of the market.
For developers in the high-end bracket, natural materials such as wood flooring, stone tiling and granite worktops proved to be… well… the natural choice.
A warm and natural choice
“It’s nice seeing the grain in timber. It’s nicely finished. It presents a warm, natural feeling, as opposed to cold and plastic,” is what one high-end developer told our research company.
Engineered wood flooring is a leading choice for many builders and renovators thanks to its natural wood textures, versatility and durability. Whether for new builds or refurbishments, engineered wood floors are specified for hallways, kitchens, dining rooms and open plan living areas, which are currently very popular with buyers.
On high-end developments, engineered wood will be used throughout these rooms, with ceramic or porcelain tiles in the bathrooms, and carpeting on the stairs and in the bedrooms. Within flats, penthouse suites will often use natural materials exclusively for that extra air of luxury.
One of the key things that makes engineered wood flooring popular with many builders is its compatibility with underfloor heating. Unlike solid wood, engineered boards don’t dry out or expand and contract with the heat.
While some developers interviewed weren’t fully aware of this, others did talk about how engineered wood flooring gives homebuyers a range of luxurious a wood finishes to choose from to round off a cosy, yet radiator-free décor scheme.
A SUSTAINABLE CHOICE
As well as noting the trend towards lighter, more neutral shades – with fewer dark or rich tones – developers are also seeing sustainability as a key issue for the buyers in the current market. Again, natural materials prove to be a winner.
“I think the sustainability is key – where we’re sourcing timber from – that’s something that we’re ever moving towards. Sustainable materials that are sourced ethically,” commented one of the developers.
Another home builder explained how they were going all-out for cosy, higher specification finishes with wood burning stoves, stone fireplaces, and the widespread use of wood throughout the décor on across an entire development. The objective is natural textures that complement one another, to create something high-end and distinctive.
“All these have got wooden windows, wooden doors, even the bifold doors – which weigh an absolute ton – they’re all wood. And with the natural stone,”.
A future-proof decision
With more environmentally conscious buyers, the longevity of a décor scheme is another factor to consider. High-quality natural materials often look fresh for a longer period of time than synthetic substitutes. In many cases, a little wear adds to their character rather than making them look tired. A bit of natural patina only adds to the warmth and charm of a property.
“We need to stand out,” is what one homebuilder told our researchers. “So, I’m making sure that when I do all of my specifications, they have to be eye-catching and they have to be sustainable and of good quality.”
For buyers wanting long term value alongside luxury appeal and sustainability, wood, stone and ceramic tiles in the right tones are important features. They’re forgiving when it comes to changing furniture schemes, flexible in terms of modern versus traditional design, and even when colours and textures differ slightly, natural furnishings and fabrics nearly always sit well with existing natural surfaces when someone new moves in.
*Survey of 1,010 adults 18 and over across the UK commissioned by Woodpecker Flooring, August 2018. See more insights here