Using wood in your home is a natural way to add warmth and style. With so many options though, it’s tough to choose only one tone. Thankfully, you don’t have to stick with one type of wood—and it’s preferable that you don’t. Mixing wood tones adds depth and character to any room or the entire house. Let’s look at how to mix different tones of wood like a professional.
What Is Mixing Tones?
When we talk about mixing wood tones, we’re referring to different shades of wood color. When a floor is a light shade and the wood kitchen cabinets are dark, wood tones are mixed. That’s one of the most common ways of mixing tones, but other ways work well also.
Why We Love the Mix
Professional designers and those who simply love to decorate for fun all prefer a mixed wood tone look. When all the wood in a room is the same tone, there’s very little to notice. Rooms become more interesting, with a sort of layered look when multiple tones are used. If you’re in search of a home with character, learn how to mix different tones of wood like a professional.
Choose a Dominant Color
To begin mixing wood tones, the first step is to choose your dominant color. The dominant color is the one that’s easily or first noticed. The other tones are chosen with the dominant color in mind. Here are some ideas of where the dominant tone may be placed:
- The floor
- A large piece of furniture
The dominant color is your preference. For some, this is a light tone and for others it’s dark. Just keep in mind you’ll contrast either dark or light dominant tones with the opposite, and the next tones you choose are based on the dominant tone.
Look for Undertones
As you choose mixed tones based on the dominant one, finding the undertones is essential so you can contrast and mix, yet still coordinate.
At first, it’s hard to see what the undertone of a wood shade is, but once you get used to looking, you’ll notice quickly. Wood colors, even when stained, have subtle shades of color, such as reds, pinks, greens, and yellows. Even when not obvious, you’ll notice quickly if a different wood tone just doesn’t seem to coordinate correctly, or the paint color on the wall doesn’t suit the floor.
Represent the Tones
Once you’ve chosen your tone family for the mixing of woods, it’s time to decide who gets center stage and who plays the costar. We already know the dominant tone is the one that catches everyone’s eye as they walk in. Now, as you add more wood, the goal is to make sure each tone is represented in the room at least twice. Yes, you have to play fair.
A room feels off balance if not evenly represented by each wood. This doesn’t mean each one shares equal space. However, it does mean each tone has two places. If the dominant color is the floor, then perhaps there’s another tone for the cabinets and bar stools, and a different tone for the table and chairs.
Add Some Texture
Imagine a room where every surface is smooth and shiny. For some, that’s a dream come true. However, for most people, the room would feel cold and unwelcoming. Now, imagine the room with a fuzzy rug on the wood floor, a table with rough-cut lumber, and a wooden hutch that contrasts the floor. Suddenly, the room has texture and is more inviting.
Warm Up and Cool Down
Some tones are warm, and others are cool. If you aren’t sure which is which, ask an interior designer or that friend who seems to have the magic touch when it comes to design. Either way, mix warm and cool tones for variety and interest in a room.
If a room is all warm tones, it can start to look boring. Likewise, it can also become dull if it’s all cool tones. Just as with texture, it’s important to add interest with a mix of cool and warm tones.
The Best Woods for Kitchens
With so many wood options, you’ll want to know which type or species of wood to use after deciding on tones. Not all woods are the same, and each room has its own needs.
Kitchens have unique needs compared to other rooms in the house. They typically experience a lot of moisture. However, they aren’t constantly humid, and there’s opportunity for plenty of wood mixing.
The floor should be hardwood, as kitchens see a lot of traffic and dropping of dishes. As an added bonus, hardwoods are tougher to scratch. You can be a little more adventurous when it comes to cabinets. Some popular choices include cherry, oak, walnut, and maple.
Engineered Hardwood Flooring
When integrating wood into any room, engineered hardwood flooring as a wood option is the best choice for every area. It’s made in layers with a layer of real wood on top and is more durable than other choices.
Engineered hardwood handles high traffic, spills, and moisture better than traditional solid hardwood. For most rooms, it’s easiest to start with the floor as the foundation and work around it for the rest of the design. Choose engineered flooring so you feel confident the floors are in great shape while raising a family and running a busy life.
No matter how you mix it, wood is beautiful. It’s timeless, classic, and suits any décor. At From the Forest, we carry natural red oak hardwood flooring, along with many other beautiful hardwood flooring options. Browse our online store or contact us with all your flooring questions and needs.