What is Synthetic Materials?

Synthetic materials are man-made materials developed through chemical processes.


In the realm of interior design, synthetic materials are those that have been created through synthetic means rather than harvested or extracted naturally. This includes a broad range of material types, from plastics and polymers to artificial fabrics and fibers. The development and use of synthetic materials have revolutionized the industry by providing designers and consumers with a plethora of options that offer durability, versatility, and affordability.

Synthetic materials are often developed by altering natural materials at the molecular level or by combining different chemical compounds to create entirely new substances. The benefits of using synthetic materials in interior design are numerous. They often require less maintenance, are more resistant to wear and tear, and can be produced in a wide variety of colors, textures, and finishes. Moreover, some synthetic materials can mimic the look and feel of natural materials, offering cost-effective alternatives for budget-conscious projects.

However, it's important to consider the environmental impact of synthetic materials. While some are recyclable or made from recycled materials, others can be less eco-friendly due to their non-biodegradable nature and the processes used to manufacture them. The selection of synthetic materials should be informed by their lifecycle, potential off-gassing, and overall sustainability.


Synthetic materials are utilized throughout interior design in various elements, including furniture, floor coverings and rugs, wall treatments and finishes, and window treatments. They are especially popular in high-traffic areas and in designs aiming for a modern or minimalistic look. For example, synthetic leather can be used in upholstery, providing a durable yet stylish option. Similarly, vinyl and laminate floorings offer the appearance of natural wood or stone at a fraction of the cost.


  • Are synthetic materials less expensive than natural materials?

    Generally, synthetic materials tend to be less expensive than their natural counterparts. This is mainly due to the efficiency of their manufacturing processes and the availability of raw materials. However, the cost can vary depending on the type and quality of synthetic material used.

  • Can synthetic materials be recycled?

    Some synthetic materials can be recycled, such as certain plastics and polymers. The recyclability of a synthetic material depends on its composition and the recycling facilities available. It's important to research the specific material to determine its recyclability.

  • Do synthetic materials offer the same aesthetic as natural materials?

    Many synthetic materials are designed to mimic the look and feel of natural materials, and advancements in technology have made these imitations increasingly convincing. However, there can be subtle differences in texture and appearance. Ultimately, the aesthetic similarity varies depending on the quality and type of synthetic material.

  • Are there any health concerns associated with synthetic materials?

    Some synthetic materials can off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which may cause health concerns like headaches or respiratory issues. It's important to verify the safety of synthetic materials for indoor use and opt for those with low VOC emissions or those certified by environmental health organizations.

Practical Application

When considering synthetic materials for your interior design project, it's important to evaluate their suitability for the intended application, taking into account factors like durability, maintenance, and environmental impact. Opting for high-quality synthetic materials can often provide a cost-effective and versatile solution for your design needs. Always ensure to research the specific type of material and its properties to make an informed decision.