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Bring in the Naturals – Wood, Rattan, Iron, and Leather

The Baer’s Furniture design team has been tracking a trend that we’re all pretty excited about: a return to natural materials. Wood, rattan, iron, and leather have always been mainstays in certain types of interiors, but we are seeing a greater number of pieces made from these beautiful natural elements appearing in nearly every style of décor. Come along as we discuss this hot new take on some very traditional materials.


Iron has existed in furniture since — well, the Iron Age, but until recently, many designers have eschewed iron as being too dark and unrefined for their more elegant creations. This resistance to iron seems to be a thing of the past, however, and we are seeing exposed raw iron in a greater number of pieces. 

This Cast Iron Side Side Table by Bernhardt Interiors combines an unpolished wood surface and base separated by four iron figures demonstrating various stages of a full running stride. It is the perfect complement for modern, contemporary, industrial, and even Boho design themes.

Wood and iron table with four jogging figures in the center.

If you’d like a touch of iron but don’t want the dark metal to dominate the room, consider a piece with iron-toned accents, like this Caraway Farmhouse Lift Top Desk by Aspenhome.


Up until about the time of the Mid-century Modern movement, leather was widely considered a masculine, neutral material that was suitable for dens, studies, and libraries. You wouldn’t notice a lot of leather furniture in a tastefully appointed dining room, for instance. But leather makers wanting to expand the appeal of their products began experimenting with various dyes and textures. Now, you can find supple leathers in nearly every color in the spectrum, and furniture makers and designers have fully embraced the leather revolution. The Candace Sofa and Candace Swivel Chair, manufactured by Bernhardt, are constructed from incredibly soft leather and are a perfect fit for this neutral-toned transitional living room setting.

Living room with gorgeous Candace sofa in light-colored leather with matching swivel chair.

Just as an aside, if you love the textured throw pillows on the sofa, they are included.


It might seem strange that wood is trending in 2023. Hasn’t it always been en vogue? Like leather, wood is another material that has gone through a metamorphosis. Wooden furniture runs the gamut from raw, unfinished wood to highly refined pieces that have been sanded, polished, and lacquered. There are also many types of woods, grains, and cuts that affect the appearance of the material. We’re actually noticing two emerging trends with wood: unfinished and white-washed. You might have always spotted unfinished wood in rustic and industrial spaces, but now, you can literally find it anywhere. Check out the innovative use of wood in the Bernhardt Contemporary Cocktail Table from the Modulum Collection. The exposed pine wood turns this piece from an ordinary component of a minimalist living room to a statement piece.

Simple design white and natural wood coffee table.

And with the advent of popular design trends like Modern French Farmhouse and coastal, there has been an increased demand for whitewashed wood. The Tommy Bahama Home Ocean Breeze Surfside Hall Chest is an extremely versatile piece of furniture with adjustable shelving and cord access. It is the perfect piece for organizing your space, and it also checks the “iron box” with its hardware.

A white wood hall chest with iron hardware.

Rattan and Wicker

It’s important to note the difference between rattan and wicker, so we’ll make the distinction here. Rattan is the material, and wicker is the weave rattan is often used to make. Rattan furniture had once been relegated to tropical and coastal themes — both of which we love — but it has recently gotten more mainstream acceptance. Today, rattan fits comfortably in modern, coastal, Boho, traditional, and even some Mid-Century settings. Tommy Bahamas Home is the absolute master of incorporating rattan into pieces that fit in many different settings. This king-size Paradise Point Bed has a woven rattan panel headboard. You could probably think of a dozen ways to make this work with your bedroom’s décor.

Beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a king-size rattan bed in the center.

Tips for Using the Naturals

Here are a few tips for incorporating these four natural elements in your space:

  • Throw out old tropes, like rattan is tropical, iron is rustic, etc.

  • Don’t force the look. Not every space needs iron elements. If you have a room full of polished wood furniture, a whitewashed table might not be a good fit. 

  • Only buy high-quality pieces. When maintained, these materials are made to last decades or longer. However, if the rest of the product is substandard, you won’t be interested in keeping it. You can avoid this mistake by shopping at Baer’s. With multiple locations throughout the state, we are Florida’s top retailer of high-quality furniture. Shop at Baer’s Furniture today.