When “Wood” You?

August 22, 2016

By: Tyler Wisler

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Many of my clients find themselves uncomfortable with the concept of mixing woods, which is very similar to the hesitation people experience when mixing metals. Wood is a bit more complicated though, and understandably so. Wood not only varies in color, but in texture, pattern, and depending on how it’s finished, sheen.

A good rule of thumb is to keep species of wood to a minimum and keep the colors of wood to no more than three. This doesn’t include any woodwork that’s painted, since paint typically erases the natural character of wood, whereas a stain would enhance it.

Say you fall in love with the simple lines and look of the Wendy Honey dining table, but don’t know what to pair it with.

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Since the table only has subtle graining, this gives you a broader selection in terms of species of wood. Also, because the wood has a natural finish, with an underlying orange tone to it, you want to stick to wood shades in the warmer realm.


The Bradley side chair could be an option, because the legs are a nice medium brown, which doesn’t conflict with the table’s color. Also, only the legs are wood, so it’s not overwhelming.


Another option could be the Claire natural side chair. The coloration is only a shade different from the table, and again, since the graining of the wood is very minimal, they complement one another quite well.


What about storage? Well, how about this Amala wine sideboard from the Elements Gallery? Yes, definitely a different type and look of wood altogether, but again, it’s in the same color range, staying in the warm tones. Also, because it has so much texture, it acts like the YIN to the YANG of the table.

This is definitely a concept that can get confusing, and you can always dive into the minutia of details, but when in doubt, less is always more. If you’re going with an oak piece, try and stick with that type of wood throughout. If you prefer espresso-finished pieces, try to keep that consistent.

Here are the two takeaways to remember:

  • Color/stain should be similar or at least in the same family
  • Species/graining should be as close as possible OR the opposite

Meet expert Tyler Wisler -...Want to hear more from Tyler? You can check back in with him on our blog and watch his Behind the Design videos on our YouTube page.

In the meantime, be sure to catch Tyler’s witty insights on all things design and more on his InstagramFacebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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