Monday, February 15, 2010

Ask the Designer - Matching Wood Tones

What do you do when you are merging existing furniture with new and the wood is different colors?  (i.e. mahogany desk, darker coffee table, light wood floors).  Is it ok to mix different kinds of wood or should you match? ~Kara
The importance of matching wood tones depends on your decorating style. If you prefer a more modern, contemporary or streamlined look, then matching your wood tones will be important. The similar wood reduces the visual clutter and contributes to the streamlined look of the whole room. If you prefer a more eclectic or bohemian look, then it is perfectly fine to mix wood tones and finishes (i.e. stained woods and painted woods together). So the first order of business is to establish your decorating style.
Regardless of your decorating preference, you do not need to match your furniture wood finishes to the flooring. The floor is an element of its own in a room and can stand alone in that regard. Imagine that the flooring is carpet. You wouldn’t paint your walls and match your upholstery color exactly to the carpet as that would create a very monotone and uninspired space. The same thought can be applied to woods. In fact, a contrast between the flooring and the furniture makes a room more interesting as a whole.
Overall when merging old and new furniture, it works best when there is a common element that coordinates the pieces to one another. This can be in the wood tones or upholstery. Where a common element does not exist, you can use coordinating accessories to pull the items together. For example, if you have a brown leather sofa and a red fabric upholstered chair, use a red and brown fabric on the throw pillows and window treatments to tie everything together.
The photos are examples from a client project. I would call their style Elegant Eclectic with a touch of Fun and Funky. The custom kitchen features beautiful wood cabinetry that nearly matches the flooring, while the island contrasts in cream.  We chose to make a bigger contrast and statement by mixing in bar stools in a crimson stain. 

In the dining room, again the built-in hutch matches the flooring. To break up all the brown tones, we chose black painted finishes for furniture and the framed artwork. Throughout the entire space we continue the vivid reds, olive greens and golds to tie everything together, including the mixed woods.

I hope that helps to answer your your Interior Design dilemmas. Please keep the questions coming - what design problems are you facing in your home? 
Beautiful Habitat: Luxury Interior Design


Marissa said...

Your home is beautiful! I have a question...what type of curtains do you suggest when a dining room is connecting to the living area...our home basically shares living/dining and I'd like some curtains for our dining area to set it apart. And our ceilings are VERY tall for a one-story.

Beautiful Habitat said...

Hi Marissa,
Thank you for your comment and question! I apologize for the delay, but have been out of town on vacation. This is a great question and common issue in decorating. I'll write a blog post with some ideas and photos for you soon. Stay tuned!


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