You asked, we listened! One of our most common interior design FAQs is how to mix wood tones into your home decor for a room. It’s an idea that seems simple, but it can feel complicated and overwhelming when you’re decorating a space.
What kind of wood furniture do I need? How many pieces? And how many different wood tones should I mix? How does that work with all the other colors in my room?
To help answer those questions, we’re sharing our best tips and rules for easily (and successfully) mixing wood tones in the home.
Tip #1: Pick A Dominant Wood Tone
A great place to start with mixing wood tones is to choose wood furniture that all have a similar tone. Here, the undertone is warm throughout all the woods in the space (the dark wood coffee table, the medium-tone chairs, the rustic oak-y fireplace mantle). This results in a more balanced look so that the room doesn’t feel overly warm-toned.
To further play up the wood tones, the tan leather adds warmth, as does the rug, which has a mix of warm and cool tones in its pattern. By sticking to wood pieces and furnishings that have warmer hues, it creates an overall cohesive tonal look in this space.
Playing with wood tones is a key element of rustic spaces, so if you’re a fan of the look you’ll want to experiment with mixing wood tones in different ways. Take a look at our rustic interior design ideas for inspiration on combining wood pieces in your home.
Tip #2: Limit It To A Few Wood Tones
Another easy approach to mixing wood tones is to keep to two or three wood finishes. One way to do that is to combine a variety of wood pieces in light, medium, dark wood tones. You can see that in this room, with the light wood tone of the chairs, the medium-hued wood grain of the table, and the dark wood cabinet.
The same rule of keeping to a warmer spectrum of woods for a consistent undertone is key. This makes it easy to mix and match pieces because all the tones are complementary to one another. So if you’re going warm, lean all warm; if you’re going cool, go with a range of light wood tones. A balanced space generally will have only warm tones or cool tones on a spectrum.
Tip #3: Contrast Light & Dark Wood
In the most basic terms, mixing wood tones is about playing with contrast. And you can be very subtle or super dramatic about it. For a bold look, you can contrast light wood finishes with dark wood furniture for a high-contrast space like this room. The wood grain of the table is smaller, while the graining on the cabinet and wood floor are larger and more detailed, which are each subtle on their own but visually impactful when placed together.
It’s important to remember that you’re always playing with two ends of the light and dark spectrum, whether you go with warm wood tones or cooler wood tones or both, as in this space.
Tip #4: Don’t Forget Wood Finishes & Textures
When we talk about wood textures, what we’re referring to is the graining, finishing, and overall pattern you often see in wood furniture. Taking note of and playing with different textures is another way you can mix wood tones. An easy approach is to keep to the same overall texture of wood in a space, like this dining room. This instantly helps make create a more cohesive and consistent look and feel.
The best way to think about your wood texture is to use your wood floors as a jumping-off point. If you don’t have wood floors, look to your walls or other wood elements in your home as a guide (cabinets, doors, etc). Find similar wood grains and finish that play off of these wood textures. It makes finding pieces that go together much easier than you think.
Tip #5: Wood Floors Are A Tone Too
Speaking of wood floors, they don’t always have to dictate which woods you can gravitate towards, and you can easily play them up or down depending on how you’re mixing wood tones in your space. For instance, warm wood floors will look balanced with warm wood furniture, while light wood floors can stand out under pieces with a darker wood tone.
If you have wood floors, it’s key to think about how you’ll balance it with other wood tones. The easiest way is to add a rug or two to help break things up visually. This is also great if you’re not keen on the wood grains of your floors; eye-catching rugs that play into the colors and patterns of your furniture will help draw attention away from the flooring. In this living room, without the rug, the wood of the floor and the furnishings would have felt overwhelming. Instead, the rug helps even out the wood textures throughout and anchor the space with a cohesive look.
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