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7 Ways to Balance a Room That Has Multiple Shades of Wood and Wood Finishes

multiple shades of wood in a home need balance
Wood flooring and furniture can give a room character and exceptional beauty. If you're like many homeowners, you may have a mixture of wood shades and finishes in one or more of your rooms. When this occurs, it can feel as if the different wood finishes clash, instead of pulling a room together, making the room seem overwhelming. Fortunately, by doing a few balancing tricks, you can solve this problem. Here are seven basic guidelines on how you can balance a room with several shades of wood finishes and woods.

1. Keep a Common Element

Even though your wood finishes don't have to match, they should still have at least one element in common. For instance, your pieces need to be of the same architectural style so that you don't mix clean-lined shapes with curvy shapes. Besides keeping the same shape, you'll also want your furnishings to be consistent in period. In other words, don't mix early American pieces with contemporary furniture. The same goes for not mixing formal pieces with casual furnishings.

2. Determine a Common Wood Undertone

If you don't know which wood finishes are suited for one another, you can still identify those finishes that have the same undertone or color temperature. Wood finishes with cool room temperatures, also known as undertones, are those having a grayish tone, while warm undertones are finishes that look red, orange or yellow.

A neutral undertone looks beige and can be mixed with either a cool or warm finish, making it the most versatile undertone. You can also mix neutral wood finishes with other neutral woods.

3. Select a Dominant Wood Tone

Don't make the mistake of having the same amount of equal wood tones because this can look downright boring. When you use unequal amounts of anything, you can create visual interest. Therefore, decide on the wood tone that you want as the dominant finish. Of course, your largest wood surface is probably your flooring. It may also be a large dining table.

4. Use Accessories with Common Accent Colors to Create Conformity

An ideal way to tie various wood finishes together is by using accessories with common colors. These items include those, such as stools, lamp shades and throw pillows that can cause the eye to flow harmoniously throughout a room.

5. Use Area Rugs and Textiles to Soften Tone Transition

One of the best ways to balance different wood shades and finishes is by using rugs and textiles. A room may consist of various wood finishes, but they don't have to be next to each other. An example is using an area rug for a hardwood floor that looks considerably different from the wood finish on your coffee table or other furniture. This can significantly play down the difference in wood tones.

6. Use Contrast

A common example of using contrast is pairing light-colored furniture with flooring with a dark walnut-stained dining table. This can give your room a more interesting look because it helps in breaking up the monotony. Conversely, if you have white maple wood flooring, don't be afraid to use dark wood furniture.

7. Consider Furniture Placement

When you have different wood shades and finishes in a room, it's important to place your furnishings in the right spot. Consider their proximity or closeness to each other. An example is not placing your dark woods together on one side of a room as this can make the room look lopsided or too heavy. It's best to scatter your different wood finishes that are similar in color, so your room looks more balanced. 

Other Considerations and Warnings

Sometimes, identifying the undertone of a wood finish can be difficult. One way to determine a wood undertone is by stepping back and looking at the piece until it looks like just one shade. Another method is focusing on the palest tone in the wood's grain.
If you've never mixed wood finishes before now, start out slowly. Go for more subtle changes rather than high contract wood finish combinations. Once you become more experienced, you can use more contrast.
Take wood samples with you when shopping. If you don't have samples, you could always take photos of your wood finishes to match wood colors.

Are you an architect, builder, contractor or a homeowner who's considering adding more wood features to your home, such as rustic ceiling beams or wood-like railing? At Worthington Millwork, you can find everything you need. Check out our huge selection of high-quality America-made architectural products or contact us.