How to Combine Wood Tones

Combining colors to create a palette for your home creates the foundation for good design, but what about mixing wood tones? Yesterday’s rules suggested that homeowners stick to one tone of wood in a room, but rules are made to be broken. Combining wood finishes gives a space depth and character. It also creates an eclectic, “traveled” look and a room with visual interest.


Mixing and matching different shades of wood is very popular right now. While you might be unsure of how to approach it, it’s really is quite simple:


wood floors


1. Take inspiration from your floors. If your room has wood floors, use the color as the design basis for the room. Instead of matching the hue, add in wooden furniture that complements the undertones of your flooring. And use an area rug with similar tones under a major furniture grouping to make a cohesive transition between the floors, wood tones and large furniture.


2. Choose the same finish. Create a sense of balance within the room by choosing pieces with similar finishes, such as polished or natural. Too many finishes in a room creates a mismatched look, while the similar level of gloss unifies.


sienna dining room


3. Let one wood be the dominant tone. For a cohesive look, keep the same finish on large pieces, such as a dining room table and chairs, dresser and bed, or media center and cocktail table. Bring in secondary wood tones with smaller items, such as end tables and nightstands.


4. Be mindful of placement. Arrange your furnishings with thought to placement of the various tones. For example, avoid putting all of the darker pieces on one side. Instead, spread the different woods evenly across the room so the look is cohesive.


 combine woods style


5. Stay in the same style family. Mixing wood tones is easier if your room has an overall sense of style. Using traditional furnishings in varying woods will look purposeful, but mixing rustic pieces with traditional will look haphazard. Strive for similar styles and lines. For example, the lighter wood legs of our Heidi Settee are of a similar shape and style to the Annadale Cocktail Table.


6. Use accents and fabrics to marry the tones. The colors and fabrics of your accent pieces will help establish balance in the room. Bring in solids and patterns that mimic the woods you’re mixing. For example, add dark throw pillows on a light sofa to complement the mahogany end tables. Or upholster the seat of your oak dining room chairs in a dark fabric to blend with a cherry sideboard. These small touches will bridge the varying tones and give the room a harmonious feel.

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