5 Unconventional Materials That Work Great in Renovation Projects

5 Unconventional Materials That Work Great in Renovation Projects

Every renovation project is heavily dependent on the selection of the right materials. These ensure structural integrity, energy-efficiency, functionality and the aesthetical appeal of the project. A wide range of conventional materials has established popularity. Some of these prominent choices include wood, marble, various kinds of metal, glass and textiles.

A renovation project, however, can also employ unconventional materials.

Unconventional materials add to the character of the interior design project. Often, they also tend to have better practical characteristics than the traditional options out there.

If you’re curious about such unorthodox executions, here are some exceptional unconventional materials to acquaint yourself with before commencing a renovation.


5 unconventional materials that work great in renovation projects Mycelium
Rob Hille, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is a super cool interior design material that appeals to environmentally-conscious home owners.

As the name suggests, mycelium is an organic material made from fungal fibres. Because of its nature, mycelium is very tough, resistant to mould and it can even be utilised to enhance the fire-proofing of flats and entire buildings.

You may be wondering what areas of application mycelium has.

It can be used as a substitute for MDF – medium-density fibreboard engineered wood that many types of furniture and décor items are crafted from. The material is sustainable and environmentally-friendly because it doesn’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and no formaldehyde is needed for the production of mycelium.

Plastic Reclaimed from the Ocean

5 unconventional materials that work great in renovation projects ocean plastic

Yes, ocean plastic is a thing and it’s becoming increasingly popular in interior design.

The popularity of ocean plastic grew exponentially in 2017 and it has been on the renovation map ever since. You probably know that tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans of the world. There have been numerous initiatives to clean these habitats and make good use of the plastic waste that’s been floating around.

Even furniture makers have taken to incorporating ocean plastic into their designs. Various home décor items are also crafted from this recycled material.

While ocean plastic isn’t so readily available on the Singaporean market, it’s definitely a curious possibility that may be worth exploring in the future.

Straw Marquetry

5 unconventional materials that work great in renovation projects Straw Marquetry
Custardpieboy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking for yet another wood replacement, straw marquetry may be the unconventional material worth checking out.

It’s interesting to point out that straw marquetry isn’t something new. It’s long been used in home construction in the East and the technique got brought to Europe in the 17th century. Wheat or oat straw needs to be split and soaked repeatedly in hot and cold water. The straw is also dyed because it can easily take up colour and change its shade. Later on, the material is flattened under pressure to create panels, art pieces and even some furniture elements.

Straw marquetry has been very prominent in interior design ever since the art deco period. And while it has never become one of the mainstream materials, it does offer a wonderfully versatile alternative to wood.


A few years ago, jesmonite got named material of the year during the London Design Fair.

This unconventional material is made through the combination of plaster or cement and a water-based resin. Sounds simple and that’s precisely where the brilliance of jesmonite hides.

Jesmonite has been discussed in numerous reputable interior design journals and even Financial Times published an overview of the way in which the material is breaking renovation boundaries.

According to the experts, jesmonite’s strength is its versatility. Regardless of the fact that it is synthetic, jesmonite looks very natural. It can look textured like stone or it can have the warmth of clay or ceramic. Because of its versatility, jesmonite is perfect for the creation of tabletops and countertops, flooring, vases and other containers, as well as decorative and art pieces.

Jesmonite is often compared to fiberglass as far as its characteristics go. Unlike fiberglass which is considered an irritant and a potentially carcinogenic material, jesmonite is completely safe.

Algae Bioplastic

5 unconventional materials that work great in renovation projects algae bioplastic

Designers have been experimenting with algae for the creation of bioplastic.

Protein and carbohydrate-based polymers from algae can be extracted to put together a biodegradable, environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic. According to some researchers, conventional plastic could actually be completely replaced by this material in the future, especially through successful genetic engineering efforts.

Even today, designers have been capable of producing various kinds of items from this bioplastic variety.

One of the most typical applications is the creation of vessels. The bioplastic, however, could also be utilised for the creation of wall panelling, fixtures and even furniture pieces (like garden chairs, for example).

As you can see, renovations can be so diversified and unorthodox! It’s really up to you to decide what you’d like to accomplish with your renovation and whether unconventional materials will help you meet the brief. Luckily, many unusual choices for home renovation materials are readily available in Singapore.

It’s also essential to find a team capable of working with such materials and delivering a polished outcome. Home Guide is one such team. We’re known for our innovative and personalised approach to interior design and home renovation projects. Contact us now to acquaint us with your idea and get our professional input on the execution.

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