Designers are predicting a big shake-up in interior design this year. Out go copper, marble and quote artwork, and in come upholstered bedheads, rooms painted dark green, and cork.
Yes, cork is making a comeback. We think of cork being used in floor tiles, but it is now being used for everything from lampshades to coffee tables.
The best thing about cork is its environmental benefits. No tree has to be cut down to produce cork, as it is created from the bark. The first stripping of the bark occurs when the tree is between 15 and 20 years old, with subsequent yields at nine-yearly intervals. On average, a tree can produce about 16 yields. Most cork forests are in Spain and Portugal. Cork is totally fire retardant and impermeable, which makes it an excellent material for interior design.
Cork flooring is a popular product because of its aesthetic versatility. Such flooring offers easy maintenance, sound absorption, and warmth and comfort underfoot. The flooring comes in a wide range of colours and can even mimic exotic wood grains such as maple. Due to its acoustic qualities, it makes sense to use cork in music rooms or anywhere with an echo problem. Cork floor tiles are manufactured from the remnants of cork wine-stoppers and are a genuinely eco-friendly product.
Cork is comparable in price to other flooring options, including solid wood flooring from stockists such as http://www.ukflooringdirect.co.uk/solid-wood-flooring. Cork floors are easy to install, using an adhesive, and their thermal properties will help maintain room temperatures and reduce heating costs. Apart from using cork tiles for flooring, they can be used to cover walls and ceilings.
If you want to infuse eco-friendly ideas into your household, cork furnishings will capture your imagination. Cork is used to make an assortment of items, from stools to lightshades and coffee tables. Cork-clad walls could be put in offices to use as pin boards, while bedrooms could display an array of photographs and pictures.
Taking into account sustainability and the impact on the environment, the fashion industry is now using cork for shoes and handbags as an alternative to leather. From wallets to bracelets and umbrellas, almost anything you can think of is being created using this diverse material.
If cork is the new leather in 2017, who knows what 2018 will bring.