5 Tips for Mixing Wood Types and Finishes

5-tips-for-mixing-woods-types-and-finishes Feel like your wood furniture reads more like a “wood finish sampler” than part of a cohesive interior design? Never fear. This is a common design conundrum and one that is easily solved without sacrificing any favorite pieces or spending money on expensive refinishing or painting.

So, whether you are a hoarder of gorgeous wood species or are a teak fan who just merged households with your oak and pine lovin’ counterpart – I have several solutions for you.

5 Ideas for Mixing and Matching Your Different Wood Types and Finishes

  1. Think of it as pattern mixing. Different wood species mean different wood grains, and what are wood grains but one of Mother Nature’s most beautiful and fascinating patterns. Patterns can and should be layered to create depth and interest in your rooms. Think of different wood types as patterns waiting to be mixed up. Consider the undertones in the grains and place your pieces accordingly, using tables, hutches or sideboards that share similar hues or undertones. You can also approach this in a different way, keeping the grains consistent and throwing caution to the wind when it comes to finishes. Use other textiles and objects to create additional lines of communication between the pieces so they all feel related.
  2. Make one of the pieces a focal point. Perhaps you have a particular table that is one shade while the rest of your wood furniture is another. Use the odd ball piece to create a focal point and surround it with the others so that it stands out. You can use surrounding accents to tie it in. For example, let’s say you have a table with a dark stain while the rest of your furniture is lighter pine or oak. Place that darker table in the middle of the room and use the lighter pieces around the edges. Then, use other objects or accents that match the focal point to tie it together.
  3. Take advantage of area rugs. Area rugs can be a great neutralizer when you move into a home with gorgeous wood floors…that don’t match a single piece of your own wood furniture. Choose a neutral area rug that is large enough to house the bulk of the furniture, whether it be a dining room table and chairs or the coffee and end table set in your formal living room seating arrangement. Once you have the area rug in place, the furnishings will all come together with the area rug as a buffer.
  4. Choose sides. You may realize that you have two distinct “sets” of wood furniture. One half is one type and/or shade while the other is another (typical when two homes merge as one). In this case, choose sides and keep all of the furniture with one shade in one section or side of the room with the rest on the other side. Perhaps they will be divided by a couch or seating area. Or, maybe one shade set becomes part of the reading nook while the other comprises the main seating area.
  5. Use solid colors too. Even with the above tricks, it may be that you simply have too many wood pieces in varying shades. If this is the case, break them up using solid color furnishings so it doesn’t look too much like an episode of “Woods Gone Wild.” Simply painting one side of a butcher block or dresser white can help to tone down the effect.

Want to find a way for all of your wood types and finishes to live together in visual harmony? Schedule a consultation with Kristina Wolf Design.

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Kristina Wolf Design, Inc., Interior Decorators & Designers, Berkeley, CA