Beauty of the Birch: How to Use its Visual Appeal in Your Home Design
I was honored to write for Michigan Home and Lifestyle Magazine, listing my top four reasons for loving birch trees.
But I'm not alone in my passion. In 30 years I've painted more than a thousand birch landscapes and they have all found loving homes.
Since the tree is found throughout all 83 Michigan counties, from the Indiana and Ohio borders to points north in the U.P. touching Canada, it’s not surprising that so many of us love the stunning birch.
It's a beauty in all its white-bark wonder!
Adding a touch of nature into your home décor promotes a positive vibe - one which reduces stress, therefore increasing your productivity and creativity.
Since a majority of people spend as much as 85 percent of their time indoors, “bringing the outdoors in” is a beneficial decorating concept.
Choosing the birch tree motif can create a cozy, put-your-feet-up-please kind of room. It will enhance your overall well-being as you discover the tree’s craggy texture, contrasting black and white bark, and strong linear elements for visual appeal.
Four Strengths of the Birch in Home Design
1. Symbolism of the tree
Stories and memories are what make a house a home.
Did you know that the birch tree peels its own rough bark in order to grow?
And its strength doesn’t end there. The tree is a pioneer, a highly adaptive species that’s able to sustain harsh and unforgiving conditions. It easily repopulates in clearings or fire-damaged areas by spreading its roots underground, resurfacing, and flourishing once more.
Use this symbolism of survival/renewal and new beginnings to inspire you. If you’re having a particularly difficult day, try gazing at a stand of heroic birches for a bit. Take a deep breath and let them remind you to dig your roots in, sprout, and shed that outer layer of frustration.
Texture adds life to your home.
But what, exactly, is meant by “texture?”
In essence, it's anything you can experience through the sense of touch.
Seventy-five percent of your knowledge is acquired visually, from your sense of sight. The other 25 percent is from the other senses – of which 12 percent is from touch.
Your room becomes more interesting by adding texture, so the craggy bark of the birch draws your eye into its pattern and allows your eye to linger longer.
To heighten the impact of your focal point, an easy trick to remember is that, the greater the difference in tactile qualities, the greater the effect. For example, putting a smooth texture directly next to a rough one will make the rough object particularly stand out and appear more dynamic in that context.
On the other hand, to help with balance in room, simply repeat similar textures. For example, pair a piece of wicker furniture with wicker baskets on a bookshelf across the room. Or balance a leather sectional with stacks of leather-bound books.
3. Strength in Verticals
Compared to horizontal, diagonal, and curvilinear lines, verticality is the most dramatic of choices in most interior design contexts.
Using the linear look of the birch is a useful design element to add energy and an uplifting feeling to your room.
Using vertical stripes can lead your eye to a focal point. For example, to emphasize your fireplace, position an area rug with the vertical stripe leading the eye directly toward your showstopper hearth and mantel.
Increase the drama by hanging an attractive and substantial work of art. If you can’t find one piece of art that is tall enough, hang a few smaller ones in a vertical composition.
Use tall pieces of furniture and place accessories on top of them to draw your eye upward.
Continue creating an impactful room by installing floor-to-ceiling curtains – no matter the height of the windows. Doing so will make your room feel larger, yet still cozy and welcoming.
Vertical lines also make a wide space seem narrower. If your room feels cramped, create an airy feeling by using those linear elements to your advantage.
Using a mix of light and dark shades can add interest and energy to your room. The birch bark, with its strong contrast of white against black, is a dynamic value change that will heighten the vitality of your indoor space.
Using high-contrast colors and values in your home is perfect for high activity rooms such as kitchens, family, and recreational rooms.
In summary, turn your everyday space into a conversation starter with a birch pattern. Use its inspiring contrast, texture, vertical power, and symbolism to your benefit.
Your home is where your life happens. It creates a background to enhance your comfort, making you smile and feel uplifted, giving you a feeling of accomplishment and confidence.
Investing in home décor means investing in yourself.
Next week: Michigan Home and Lifestyle article Part 2:10 Artsy 3D Product Choices to Enhance Nature in Your Home.