Wood furniture

How to mix furniture and wood finishes the right way

Remember when rooms were filled with matching wood tones – everything was bought in a matching set and displayed exactly as it was arranged in the furniture showroom? Fortunately, those days are long gone.

The trend these days is more eclectic, and filling your rooms with a mix of wood tones is not only allowed, it is encouraged too! But after decades of believing that everything must match such, it can be difficult to retrain your brain to make smart and somewhat unconventional design choices.

How do you match wood tones that don’t match? How far is he too far when it comes to mixing?

We understand your confusion and are here to help. We went straight to our interior design experts to find out their top tips for mixing wood tones and how to translate those tips into your space.

There are no hard and fast rules (and it’s fun), but here are some guidelines to get you started in the right direction.

1. Think about your soil

Your floor literally serves as the base for your room, so you can’t leave it out, especially if your floors are wood.

Megan thompson, owner of Denver-based interior design firm Spark Interiors, warns that your furniture is too closely matched to the floor, or it risks mixing up.

“Make this furniture stand out by creating a contrast between the furniture and the floor,” she explains. “Does your floor have a slight stain?” If so, you should add darker furniture to the space to add a nice contrast to the room.

Thompson also suggests considering an area rug, although that may mean covering some of that gorgeous floor.

“You might have a lot of different colored wooden furniture in your room, but a rug would be the perfect backdrop to tie the room together,” she explains. “It would serve as a middle ground under all of your chairs and table legs, which can create a nice transition between the seating area and the hardwood floor.”

2. Understand the implications

Mixing different woods like a pro means paying attention to the dominant tone of the wood in a room. This will usually be your hardwood floors, cabinets, or large furniture. Then identify the shade.

Most wood species, such as walnut, oak, or cherry, have warm undertones, but you may also occasionally see cool undertones in wood that has been stained.

“If you’re ok with a little contrast, include darker woods like Brazilian cherry or mahogany alongside lighter woods like natural birch or pine,” says Rex Chatterjee, Creative Director of Dune Road Lifestyle.

3. Pay attention to the grain of the wood

Photo by Studio Schicketanz
“Color is not the only thing that matters when designing with multiple wood tones,” explains Marc Scott, president of MARK IV Builders. “It’s important to remember to feature a mix of wood grain patterns such as stripes, swirls, and flame shapes to add visual interest to your design.

“If you’re looking to create a rustic design, use larger wood grains. For a more formal look, use smaller ones, ”he adds.

4. Don’t overdo it

Despite what you’ve heard, you can have too many good things – and this is also true with the mix of wood finishes.

“The last thing you want your design to do is make the room look chaotic because there are too many wood colors,” Scott explains. “Keep your choices at two or three wood finishes to make everything in the space look balanced.”

5. Don’t forget the painted woods

Painted wood finds are everywhere you look these days, from shops to yard sales, and they’re perfect for a space full of mixed wood tones.

“Painted and distressed vintage finds add a lot of character to your spaces,” says Catherine nelson, director and interior designer at Kathryn Nelson Design. “They make fun conversation pieces.”

6. Remember: it’s not all about wood

Photo by Peruri Design Company

Reality Check: No one wants a room that is all wood.

“Incorporate upholstered furniture or acrylic accessories to soften and add visual interest to the space,” explains Keira schultz, interior designer and director of KSDesigns, Arizona. “This will complement all these multiple wood finishes. “


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