Luxe Lucite: the Highest-Quality Acrylic in Home Décor
Transparent resins have long been used in furniture but Lucite stands out. It’s lightweight, strong, and flexible. If you've ever used a sturdy plastic chair with a rounded back that allowed a little bend to it, it could have been made of Lucite.
Acrylic is the generic chemical name for acrylate polymers, or acrylic plastics. Among them, Lucite is known as being the top tier of acrylic to choose from. It’s the highest quality of plastic resin because it’s significantly stronger and more resistant to breaks, cracks, and scratches. The material is still malleable enough to mold into interesting shapes, including, futuristic and elegant home accessories like vases or carrying trays. It’s more durable than glass but just as appealing to the eye as these fabulous glass vases. Here, Nest Casa drums up everything you need to know about Lucite and where to find the hottest furnishings for your home.
What is Lucite?
Lucite is a higher-quality version of acrylic resin. It's a type of acrylic plastic resin that was trademarked by DuPont in 1937 and was branded as being the top quality of acrylic. The material is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to most damage including water or UV rays.
Glass was used heavily during WWII and Lucite became its popular replacement because it was significantly less breakable. Interior designer Charles Hollis Jones pioneered the use of clear resin in home furniture during the Sixties and Seventies and is crowned "The Incredible Mr. Lucite’’ for his revered work. Lucite must be heated at extreme temperatures to mold into shape. The flammable process runs the risk of breaking, cracking, and dangerously sticking to anything it touches while melted. These rigorous techniques that require a professional level of skill are what makes Lucite furniture so costly and valuable.
What's the Difference Between Acrylic and Lucite?
Acrylic, also known as polyacrylate, is a transparent thermoplastic derived from natural gas with the chemical name polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Like Plexiglass or Acrylite, Lucite is just one of polymethyl methacrylate’s many trade names and is known for being the most coveted in home furnishings.
Acrylic materials can be used for paints, resins, polymers, and fibers whereas Lucite is one type of acrylic, a hard and usually clean resin most popularly used in home furnishings (like some of these coffee tables). Both can be crystal clear or tinted with dyes and pigments to add color. Because Lucite is a high-grade acrylic plastic, it can be longer lasting than other acrylic pieces.
What Are the Advantages of Lucite?
Lucite’s list of pros is considerable. It is scratch-, break-, and crack-resistant. Because it’s so strong, it’s a suitable material for a bed frame or a large dining room table.
But there are things to keep in mind. Though it looks like glass, Lucite is a petroleum-based product, so petroleum solvents and chemicals permanently mark the surface. Direct sunlight will not soften acrylics but Lucite is still a type of plastic, you should do your best to avoid positioning any pieces right in front of a furnace, heater, or fireplace. Keep any Lucite away from an open flame or stove.
Like all acrylics, Lucite is safe to use in the home and does not pose any hazardous or toxic threat.
How to Style Lucite in Your Home
Lucite is among the most fun materials to play with in the home. Its transparency can make a subtle base or can be styled to be the focal point. Because Lucite is a branded trade name, look for higher quality acrylics to keep in your home as well. High-end brands like Edie Parker create supreme acrylic pieces for decor and dining. Decorative coasters and placemats make small but bold table-toppers on a clear Lucite desk. Achieve the ahead-of-the-trend look with carrying trays and table lighters that combine function with fashion for a chic home. The work of Lucite King Charles Hollis Jones features crystal orbs, clean lines, and beautiful veneers. These futuristic pieces still appear ahead of our time and the vintage pieces are just as sought after now.
Get your hands on Nest Casa’s favorite pieces, below.