13 Ways to Mix Wood Shades for Your Decor Style

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Mixing Wood Shades is Approved by Designers

Gone are the days when all of the wood trim, accessories and furniture had to be the exact same type of wood and in the same exact color. Modern designers are delighted with this change to incorporate many different types and colors of wood into homes. You too can learn how to achieve this in the world of wood. Mixing up different wood shades adds a great variation in color, patterns and texture in any decor style and in any room. This makes any space more appealing to a wider variety of people. There are several things to keep in mind while designing with wood though, so it doesn't look like the space was simply just thrown together.

Natural Wood Colors are Neutrals

Natural wood colors are the easiest to incorporate into any space. When wood is in it natural state, unstained, unpainted and perhaps just has a protective clear coat on it, it is considered a neutral color that can be added into any space and any decor. You still add contrasting tones or patterned grains while staying in the neutral color palette to match any color scheme you already have in place in your home.

Look for Common Undertones

You can vary the shades of wood from light to dark in any space as long as all of the shades have the same thing in common--they should share the same rich undertones. For example, if you are using reddish undertones you can add any other types of wood finishes that do not include grey undertones or light blonde shades of wood in the space. Choose your undertones from reddish, grayish or light blondish to achieve coherence in a space without looking just thrown together.

Identifying the Undertones

The wood undertones are the color temperatures, which can be a bit confusing at first when trying to mix wood shades into your existing decor. Warm finishes with warm undertones appear red, yellow or orange in general. Cool undertones include a grayish cast. If the wood looks beige in comparison to the warm or cool shades, it is considered a neutral color temperature. Focus on the palest tone in the wood grain to determine the undertone. You can look at it from the other side of the room to help you make a determination of the undertones. If you wear glasses, it can help to take them off and look at the wood from the other side of the room, so that the undertones are more easily discernible.

Go for High Contrast

In this decor manner, you can have a room with lighter wooden pieces and just add one large statement piece in a dark wood tone for a focal point. It can be a buffet or a large coffee table that will stand out and make a big impact. If the tones are all the same in a room, it will all blend in together and appear very bland indeed.

Repeat Your Accent Wood Color at Least Twice

You can make a room visually appealing to the eye if you repeat your accent wood color at least twice. However, keep the 80/20 rule in mind so as not to overwhelm people. Usually, if you have wood flooring, the shade of flooring will be the 80 percent of the color in a room. The remaining 20 percent is your accent wood, which can be a darker or a lighter shade. For example, in a dining room, if your wood windows blinds match the same tone as the wooden floor, you can add accents of dark wood between the panes of the windows and repeat the same dark shade on the chairs at the dining room table. You would still leave the table in a shade that matches the floors and the original windows to rule the 80/20 rule.

Varying Your Textures is a Win-Win Situation

When you mix textures in a room, whether it is between the window treatments and the accent pillows, or the furniture and accessories, it gives you depth in layers and a lot of interest. If you have smooth, dark tone wooden floors, consider adding a large dining room table of unfinished, reclaimed wood in a heavy and ornate style. Add to that, some wooden chairs in a slightly different color with wicker seats to add even more dimensions to your room.

Complimentary Shades are Much Better than Close Shades

Some homeowners decide to shop for furniture at second hand shops and get the wood shades close to the original shade that already exists in their home. If the shades of wood are very close to each other, it can be a real mistake. Wood finishes that almost match appear as if you tried to match them and failed. Instead, focus on mixing a variety of wood shades that complement each other to appear as a deliberate design choice.

Keep a Common Element in Your Space

Even though your wood stains don't match, you should make sure your wood pieces make sense together. You can accomplish this task by making sure that the pieces have one or more common elements. The common elements can be the formality, style, shape or period of your furnishings. When staying within the shape, you stick with either clean, straight lines or curvy shapes, but not both in the same area.

Select a Unifying Piece of Furniture

If you are a newbie at mixing wood finishes, consider adding a unifying piece of furniture with multiple wood tones. As long as the piece contains most or all of the wood tones in a room, it will tie all of the various finishes together flawlessly for a visually balanced room. Some great options of unifying wood are inlaid furniture, burled finishes, zebra-wood and high contrast pieces.

Mix Your Grain Patterns and Sizes

The grain pattern and the grain size also distinguish a wood finish as much or more than the color. The grain pattern is the swirls, stripes or flame-like shapes in the wood. The grain pattern size is the scale of the pattern that you see in the wood. Mixing pattern scales and grains add interest to the room.

Scatter Close Finishes Throughout the Room

When decorating with different Custom Millworks in a room, you need to be careful about the placement in the room as well as their proximity to each other. If you place all the darker wood items on one side of a room, it will look heavy and the room will appear lopsided. Scatter finishes that are close to the same color throughout a room to make it visually balanced.

Soften the Transition in Tones with Textiles

You can transition and soften tones between wood colors with textiles. A great example of this is an area rug. For example, if your hardwood floors have a finish that is significantly different from the finish on your dining room table or coffee table, you can place a colorful rug on the floor between them to make the difference in the tones softer.

Adding Other Hard Surfaces to the Mix

You can actually go too far with the wood appearance in a room and create a lodge look. If this is not what you are trying to achieve, you should mix in other hard surfaces that are not wood in a room. Great examples are metal, mirror, glass, shell and acrylic surfaces on tables, side tables or buffets.
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