Decorating with Mixed Wood Finishes

Posted In Design - 07/09/2018

If you don’t buy all of your wood furniture at the same time in a matching set, it’s nearly impossible to perfectly match the finishes. The addition of wood floors and other built-in details further complicates the issue. The good news is that mixing wood finishes can create interest, depth and definition in any space.

Most people acquire their furniture over years, with some bought, some inherited and some integrated as families or roommates come together. With a few designer tricks, you can embrace multiple finishes and pull together a sophisticated and appealing room. Look for similar styles, undertones and grains or create a buffer to coordinate when the tones don’t quite work side-by-side. You'll find that assorted wood finishes build an engaging, layered look.

Set the tone. Warm wood stains featuring red or yellow undertones work together whether light or dark in intensity. Cool, ashy gray finishes easily harmonize in different saturations for a polished look.

Cool tones complement the slate gray sofa in this room’s woods. The ashy gray floor meets espresso chair legs and slightly lighter walnut table and ebony picture frames on the wall.

Warm tones permeate the finishes in this formal living room.  While the cocktail table and end table match with deep cherry finishes, the console table has a warm honey brown stain and the floor is a much lighter shade.  The warmth of these woods works well with the fiery shades in the fabric choices.

Add pieces that contain multiple wood finishes. Floors that integrate both light and dark hues make a forgiving canvas which helps blend multiple furniture shades together. Some furniture collections incorporate a two-tone wood finish that creates a dynamic look and helps blend disparate tones together.

Light and dark finishes add to the appeal of this rustic bedroom.  The driftwood beige and coffee brown in the platform bed are picked up in the nightstand and dresser finishes.  The medium brown floor balances the two perfectly.

Consider the grains. Finer grains tend to look more formal or more modern.  Larger and prominent grains capture a causal or rustic vibe. If you can, stick to similar scale grains even if the finish is different. However, just as when incorporating patterns sometimes playing with scale of grain can create the effect you want.

A natural floor brightens rich chocolate brown legs and frames of this counter height dining set.  The fine grain of the floor and table work well in this contemporary space, while the dramatic grain detail and medium finish of the table top, server door panels and stool seats add a pop of interest.

Find separation. If you are worried about hues clashing, create separation between the wood elements. For instance, a table that has warmer undertones being placed on a cooler hued floor could use an area rug with a mix of shades and tones, acting as a buffer between the two.

This dining room combines a driftwood finish on the chair legs, dining table top and feet with a dark steely gray on the trestle legs. The rug separates the slightly warmer chair legs from the slate gray wood floor. The mixed wood mirror frame combines the beige, ecru and gray tones.

This room’s reclaimed wood accent wall incorporates multiple wood tones. Iron legs create separation between the deep cherry finished table tops and the medium warm wood floor.

Be playful. Pulling together a look you love should be fun.  Whether you are furnishing an eclectic, classic or transitional space, mixing finishes gives you the freedom to acquire furniture pieces that speak to you, allowing you to create a one of a kind, custom curated look.

Matched wood stain finishes are festively complemented with a rainbow of paint shades in this colorful, cottage pedestal table dining set. Notice that the multi-tone wood floor works well with a wide variety of woods.

Interested in more on wood furniture?  Have a look at these articles: Caring For Wood Furniture and Tips on Looking for Quality in Wood Furniture