When it comes to what designers are interested in, who better to ask than the designers themselves. We asked some of our favourite interior designers and architects who and what shape their views of design trends. From online resources to which events have the most sway, we have compiled their thoughts below to share with you. 


Design Inspiration Infographic


Timber cladding for walls and ceilings is an enduring choice for architects and interior designers around the world, and a recent development has breath­­ed new life into one particular “Old Faithful” of timber options. Darker timber shades have become more popular in 2017, with 70% of the interior designers we surveyed indicating they had spotted the trend continuing into 2018 and beyond. Traditional darker-hued species, such as Burnt Ash, are being used to deliver a darker aesthetic—sometimes even approaching a shade of ebony when combined with coatings such as Enviropro Ebony. For those who desire the darkest possible look, the Japanese charring method of Shou Sugi Ban is a tried-and-tested method to both blacken and preserve the timber.


Timber Selection

Choosing Burnt Ash will give you a darker look than other timbers. Burnt Ash is thermally modified American White Ash—the thermal (nowadays, also chemical-free) modification transforms a pale timber into a rich medium-to-dark chocolate colour. Burnt Ash is ideal for internal or external uses making it perfect for darker shaded cladding in many situations. This option for darker cladding is often the cheapest, however does not give you the colour palette that our other suggestions provide. Woodform’s supply of Burnt Ash is American Ash which is burnt in Turkey, ensuring a high quality and consistent finish. Shown below is a great example of burnt ash being used by Steele Associates Architects (Photographer Unknown).

Outdoor cladding Burnt Ash Timber


Coating Selection

Applying black timber stain is another way to blacken timber. Choosing a coating, for example, like Natural Accent Storm will darken any timber with the benefit of allowing you to accurately gauge the darkness level of your cladding. At Woodform we provide exterior coating options such as Enviropro Iron Grey, Charcoal and Ebony. North Bondi House by Andrew Burgess Architects, pictured, used Woodform Burnt Ash Expression Cladding with Murobond Woodwash Finish applied on site, not applied by Woodform Architectural. This creates an intense matt black finish that catches the eye and accentuates the colours of the interior and yard (Photo credit: Peter Bennetts Photography).

Shou Sugi Ban Cladding 

Applying timber stain is another way to provide a deep, bold colour aesthetic to your timber. This effect, when combined with strategic lighting, creates a unique aesthetic as is shown in a recent project by Gray Puksand below. The lights cutting through the dark Concept Click battens give the illusion of movement and a unique walkway in a commercial space. The battens in this project are actually Vic Ash, highlighting how effective a dark coating can be on even a light timber. (Photo Credit: Tatjana Plitt)

Dark Timber Concept Click Battens Interior


Shou Sugi Ban

For those who want to darken their timber to the extreme, the Japanese process of Shou Sugi Ban offers the solution. Woodform does not currently offer timber with this effect, however we love the look. Shou Sugi Ban is a charring process which preserves the wood. In ancient times the process was performed over a fire, however in the modern day more effective methods have been achieved with an industrial or hand held blow torch. The process of creating a charred exterior on the wood itself makes the timber incredibly fire resistant, as well as able to withstand the elements with the right protective coating. This method requires a systematic approach to achieve similar results on each piece of timber, as a few seconds with a blowtorch can make a huge difference in the colour. This risk also allows a high level of customisability, as the process allows anything from a light char to an intense black.

Shou Sugi Ban Cladding

These are a few of the many options available to help your timber use match the colour scheme of your project. Although timber is naturally known for its warm and welcoming aesthetic, an intense shade is sometimes required to provoke depth and sophistication to a project. Timber is a constant in the design world and the techniques mentioned above show how it is constantly evolving and changing with future design trends.


For help with any project where Woodform products are being considered please call us on 1800 008 828.