Mixing Wood Tones in a Room

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Let’s all sing it from the mountain tops: The days of matching wood furniture sets are a thing of the past. Truthfully, it was a decorating rule that really never was — and for good reason. When all of the wood surfaces in a single space share the same tone, nothing stands out and the room falls flat. Allowing various wood finishes to coexist can result in a more eclectic, layered look that lends the right amount of texture and depth. The overall feel is more organic, as if individual pieces have been collected over time.

There is no magic formula when it comes to mixing wood furniture finishes, but here are a few guidelines that may help you find your footing.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Contrast Furniture and Flooring

Furnishings can get lost against the backdrop of a similarly toned wood floor. Break up the monotony by pairing light furniture with flooring that has a darker stain — as we did here — or vice versa.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Start with An Anchor Piece

An easy way to create impact is by using a larger piece of wood furniture, such as a coffee table or buffet, as your starting point and mixing in two to three contrasting wood tones around it. You can always experiment by switching out wood accessories to see what appeals to you.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Create a Harmonious Balance

To prevent your room from looking lopsided, balance different wood finishes throughout your space. Here, the dark-stained furniture grounds the room, allowing the whitewashed elements to have a greater contrast for an airy effect.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Pick a Dominant Wood Tone

Nothing says you have to go crazy mixing wood tones, especially if you’re feeling a bit out of your element. Here, the neutral, graywash stain of the wall adds just enough contrast while letting the dramatic, dark painted wood pieces and accessories in the room really anchor the space.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Create Continuity with Accent Color

If you’re worried your mismatched wood grains have gotten out of hand, tie the different finishes and styles together with an accent color. We used our accessories — throw pillows, lamp shade and stools — to create a harmonious flow through color.

How to Mix Wood Finishes

Soften the Mix with a Rug

When you’ve got a lot of legs in various wood tones, give them common ground with an area rug. A rug also helps to create a soothing transition between the furniture and wood floor.

For more design inspiration, browse our Pinterest boards, or find all the rooms from our catalog in our How to Decorate Photo Galleries. 

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo has been writing about home décor and design since 1999, which is when she first learned the term faux bois. She's passionate about helping others find their design style, because she believes with a little know-how and inspiration, anyone can decorate with confidence. Patricia has a degree in Journalism and lives in Atlanta with her husband and four-year-old twins.



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    September 29, 2016

    My living room is carpeted and I want put wood flooring. I have a built in wall unit (oak stained with nutmeg stain -it is not very dark wood but looking a little yellow depending on lighting). I have cedar tongue in groove walls (darkened from age). Husband refuses to remove the tongue in groove walls or the wall unit. My coffee table is my grandmiothers 100+ yr old cedar hope chest with weathered looking aged brass accent strips on the top and sides. It is a darker wood somewhat like the cedar. I am not sure what color wood flooring-as it will be butting up to the kitchen light tile. I will be purchasing a new couch, end tables and lamps. The dining room is directly next to this room and it is wall panelled (i am having the wall panelling removed and painting the walls). Furniture is a darker oak–with a hutch– Neither room is very bright unless it is a very sunny day (huge tree in front of home). I have a wihte kitchen directly beyond the dining room. I know it is hard without pictures but I am not sure what goes with what. Thank you.