Mixing woods is often a hot topic at our workshops as people are so unsure about the do’s and the don’t’s and are looking for some guidance on how to do it right. The likelihood is that most people collect furniture over a period of time and therefore have an eclectic array of pieces in different materials and finishes. Mixing woods is definitely a much easier task if you’re buying all new furniture that you can selectively choose to fit together seamlessly and cohesively. However I know that for many people that’s not the case. If you love a piece of furniture, then you can make it work by following these easy tricks!
The key rule of thumb is to try to have one dominant wood finish in a room, this can then be supported by 1-2 other finishes to avoid a confused and clashed mixture of woods.
As with paint colours, woods also have undertones. Recognising this is an absolute essential to understand which finishes should and shouldn’t be put together. For example some may have more grey, cool tones whilst others will be deep orange and warm. The easiest way to mix different woods is to stick to woods that have a similar undertone if you have lots going on in a room. For example in the image below, although the woods are different but they work together by both having the same warm reddish hue to them. If the designer had added a grey oak table in this room, it would have clashed badly with the floor and both the table and the flooring wouldn’t have worked.
If your pieces do have differing tones and you can’t replace them then use a buffer such as a a large patterned rug to separate the two causing less contrast.
Here, the coffee table and the wooden trunk are made from different woods but both have cool grey undertones
Another trick is to tie the different pieces together in other ways such as in their styles or era or try accessorising them with matching patterns and fabrics.
Mixing woods definitely feels like a daunting prospect to a lot of people but I hope that these tips will give you the confidence to give it a go. The main thing to remember is to enjoy the furniture you have and love. Matching furniture and three piece suites are no longer the trend and actually using different pieces in the right way will make your house your own making it feel personal and loved. There’s nothing like an interesting piece of furniture with a story to inject character into your home!