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How to Mix Wood Tones Like a Pro

how-to-mix-wood-tonesWhen it comes time to decorate your home, remember this rule of thumb: variety is intriguing. Decorating a room with the same colors, patterns, and textures is stale and unappealing. Whereas putting a room together full of diverse tones and designs allows you to create a space that’s truly one-of-a-kind. This goes for all aspects of interior décor including paint, furniture, flooring, and other miscellaneous decorative pieces.

Recently, we’ve found that homeowners are embracing this new “variety is intriguing” trend, as many are taking the time to create a diverse space. However, we still unfortunately find that many homeowners forget to coordinate and mix one important element—wood tones.

Why do so many homeowners neglect mixing wood tones? In our opinion, we believe that this design element gets overlooked because most view this task as daunting—which can be true. But, just because mixing wood tones can be a challenging task, doesn’t mean that you have to make it one.

This is where we step in. As flooring industry experts, we’ll help you create a cohesive wood tone space with these five simple, easy, and straight-forward tips:
  1. Contrast the tones
  2. White it out
  3. Stick to the rule of three
  4. Remember the undertones
  5. And if all else fails, use a buffer
After putting these suggestions to use, we guarantee you’ll be mixing wood tones like a pro in no time.

1. Contrast the tones

Let’s face it, the days of matching furniture sets are a thing of the past. Rather, the new trend is to mix things up and appropriately coordinate different wood tones. In order to do so, the first tip we’re sharing is to contrast the tones within your space.

The logic behind this suggestion is fairly simple. For example, if you have dark wooden floors, select a coffee table in a very light wooden tone. By contrasting wood tones, you can avoid creating a space that thrives solely off one wood texture.

To help get your inspiration going, take the below image as an example. Designed by Maletz Design, this kitchen features dark wood tones on the bottom cabinets and lighter wood tones on the top cabinets. This provides the perfect balance of differing wood tones.

Park Slope brownstone

As a pro tip, we recommend layering a prefixed set of various wood tones throughout your space. This will help you define some boundaries as well as add a sense of consistency to the mismatched tones.

2. White it out

The next suggestion we’re sharing when it comes to mixing wood tones is to white it out. By this, we mean to duplicate white wood tones throughout your home. White is a powerful color when it comes to mixing wood tones, so by utilizing it, you’ll be able to create a fresh ambiance and a unique-looking space.

As an example of the impact white wood tones can make, take a look at the below images. The first is designed by Artisan Cabinets. The white tones used by this designer help break up the other designs within the kitchen—ultimately creating a perfectly designed, elegant space.


In the next image, Jeanette Lunde also created a one of a kind space by using white wood tones. In the previous image, we saw how white wood tones give other design elements some space. However, in this example, as you can see, the designer took the wood tone look to the extreme, implementing the color throughout the entire space. This is an effective tactic for creating a bright and fresh ambiance.

My white Scandinavian home. Splash of colors. Old & new. Always in change.

3. Stick to the rule of three

Next, we’re recommending that you stick to the rule of three. Or in other words, use a maximum of three wood tones in a designated space. While we’re all about thinking outside of the box and being creative, following this rule of thumb sets boundaries for your project.

Additionally, this rule allows each wood tone to be distinct and speak for itself, rather than getting overwhelmed by other busy design elements. As an example, check out the below image created by Millennium Cabinetry. This image depicts a beautiful kitchen that shows off three distinct wood tones.


4. Remember the undertones

While mixing wood tones within your space, we also recommend keeping undertones in mind. While wood finishes don’t necessarily need to match, we do find that it looks best when the various tones complement each other.

For instance, if you select one design element that uses warm wood tones, try to stick to warm tones throughout the rest of your designs. The same goes for cool colors. Even if the design elements end up having various finishes, this tip will help you create a diverse, yet unified, space within your home.

For inspiration on how you can implement this rule of thumb into your homes’ designs, take a look at the below image designed by Walker Warner Architects.

Mountain Wood

5. Use a buffer

Finally, if all the other tips and suggestions fail you, we recommend this—use a buffer. What is a buffer you may ask? Well, a buffer is an element that helps break up the various wood tones within a room. For example, a buffer can be a rug that lies between your hardwood floors and your wooden dining room table or a pop of colorful paint on the dividing wall between two various spaces.

Adding something in between your different wood tones allow your design elements to stand on their own and smooth the transition between decorative pieces. It also helps add an element of texture to your space, giving any room more visual interest.

To help you envision what this may look like for your home, take the below images, by S/Wiley Interior Photography, Dakan Construction LLC, and Gast Architects, as an example.

Earlmont House


Walnut Hill Ranch

What’s next?

After reading our five tips for coordinating wood tones, you should be prepped and ready to take on any wooden interior project. However, if you still find that you have any questions or uncertainties, we urge you to give us a call.

At Imperial Wholesale, we offer free estimates and design consultation, financing options, and installation services. We offer these services so that any interior project—even the task of mixing wood tones—is made easy on you.