In addition to its appearance and the atmosphere it engenders, the use of wood can influence such things as the quality of indoor air and acoustics. Wood has the ability to absorb and release moisture, in other words to balance variation in the humidity of indoor air. Balanced humidity in indoor air improves the quality of the air by reducing the need for ventilation while at the same time improving energy efficiency.
Wood is an antibacterial material. It prevents the growth of harmful microbes. That is why it is the material of choice in, for example, saunas and for kitchen cutting boards. The good acoustic properties of wood are also utilised in musical instruments, lecture theatres and concert halls.
The use of wood in interiors can even go as far as affecting the mood of people and their level of physiological stress. According to research, people react to the use of wood in a positive way both physiologically and psychologically. Wooden surfaces make a room feel warmer and cosier and they also have a calming effect. In this, wood beats all other normal surface materials. Touching a wooden surface gives people a feeling of safety and being close to nature.
The feel of wood is softer than other materials, not only experientially but also physiologically. According to research, touching aluminium at room temperature, cool plastic or stainless steel causes a rise in blood pressure as a stress reaction within people. Touching a wooden surface, however, does not cause such a reaction.