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Is it time to moss up your house?

July 2017

moss walls

Natural elements have been a huge theme in homes for many years now, from wooden floors to grass roofs.

There is a word for it that you will probably start hearing a lot more…biophilia. This means the love of living things and biophilic homes – bringing the outside in - are becoming a top trend in interior design.

But now this has gone one step further with the introduction of moss walls. Yes, moss!

The idea is that lovely soft moss, in its deep and vibrant colours and with its wonderful deep and patterned texture, adds an exciting new look to a room.

The concept is thought to have started in Hawaii but has quickly been taken up by innovative interior designers across the world. Initially moss was introduced for corporate use; wall mounted panels of moss in office entrance areas to add colour and something different to talk about.

This has then moved into homes, until now really in panels or large picture frames with moss inserts, creating wall hanging or strip features for both bathrooms and living rooms.

That has now progressed another step and today you can buy large sections of moss panels to cover an entire wall…or I guess an entire room if you are so inclined.

For purists, you can use live moss. Fixed to a corkboard with a fine layer of peat moss sandwiched in between, this can be framed and easily hung. However, a live moss wall is a commitment and it will need soaking every few days or misting every day plus there will be growing problems and other issues that come with having live vegetation in the house.

There are alternatives. One is to use reindeer moss which actually is a lichen and needs less maintenance as this variety is very resistant to different temperatures and even lighting; but it will need high humidity to keep it fresh and looking good.

Another is adding a treatment to the moss which manufacturers keen to sell their products describe as “preserving” or “stabilizing” the moss.  What it really means is popping the moss into a special soup, often paraffin based or perhaps glycerine with methyl hydrate, which is absorbed by the roots and moss, keeping it looking fresh and soft. Reports say this treatment has kept moss looking unchanged for seven years or more...but how alive the moss is after all this is hard to determine.

pink mossCommercial moss suppliers often offer moss in a range of different colours and while the greens look great and could be thought to be natural, the bright reds and other colours have clearly been strongly dyed for effect.

But at the end of the day, if you have a lovely soft textured wall or wall hanging that adds style and interest to a room, whether the moss is actually alive is probably for most just a minor issue.

Like many interior objects, strong sunlight can fade moss but a good side is that indoor moss won’t need dusting…due to most of the special preservatives used, the moss becomes antistatic and won’t hold dust. Moss walls are also fire safe and not readily combustible.

Even better, moss is not an endangered plant…there are around 12,000 species of mosses and lichens doing well right across the world.  So if you fancy a new moss look in your house, you can at least be happy you are using a sustainable material.

You can find out more about moss interiors here.

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