There was a time when we were encouraged by the teak vendors of the 70s to fill our rooms with furniture made from matching wood tones that mirrored the furniture showroom. Fashion tends to be more eclectic these days, with a good mix being actively encouraged. The only real issue is making sure that each room doesn’t look as if it’s been compiled from hand-me-downs and multiple separate impulse buys.
So how can this be achieved? Is there a rule book? A set of instructions to follow? An algorithm to set in motion? Unfortunately not. But there are some pretty useful guidelines, as we’ll lay out here.
The floor is probably the most important part of any room. We guide our furniture and furnishing choices from it. Decide whether to go barefoot, wear socks, slippers or shoes depending upon its warmth. We simply can’t get in and out of a room without touching it. And if it wasn’t there, we’d fall through between the floorboards and maybe even into the room below! In short, it’s an essential component to any room, so it needs special consideration. Carpets and vinyls can be brought in to match existing furniture and furnishings, whereas a wooden floor generally goes with just about anything. It’s a good idea to bear in mind though, that furniture that matches too closely with the floor can blend too closely together. Adding darker furniture to a space with lighter tones in the flooring will add good contrast to a room. Area rugs also help to bind a room together.
Understanding the dominant wood tone within a room will allow you to establish the undertone; whether it’s warm or cool. This will be from the hardwood floors, cupboards, tables, sofas and any other piece of furniture that might be in the room. Most wood varieties have warmer undertones, but lighter stained wood offers a much cooler effect.
Mixing darker woods, such as cherry or mahogany alongside lighter woods, such as pine or natural birch will give a room a real contrast.
A strong grain will also have an impact upon the effect, being visually eye-catching, therefore adding to the room’s overall interest. A general rule of thumb is that larger wood grains offer a more rustic design, whereas smaller ones produce a more formal, polished look.
Try to keep the choice down to two or three different wood finishes so as to keep the space looking balanced. Perhaps even integrate some painted wood cabinets or drawers. This type of furniture is becoming hugely popular again and can be found in boutiques and reclamation yards. You’ll probably find that they fit in perfectly with your existing mixed wood tones.
However you choose to compliment your room, you’re sure to find a willing and easy partner in wood. It’s one of our oldest and dearest friends. Treat it well and it’ll treat you well in return.