Mixing Light & Dark Wood

by Laura Casey Interiors on January 25, 2011

Often times clients ask how to incorporate their existing wooden furniture and antiques with new pieces. I like to mix woods and am not afraid to do so. The challenge is creating a balance in the room while keeping all of the proportions in mind. Here are some good examples of mixing light, dark and painted wood furniture.

In this room, the darker stain on the doors works well with the height of the ceiling.

While it’s nice to have different wood pieces, I love how the screen enhances this corner.

The buffet in this dining room helps ground an otherwise lighter space.

The different woods in this room help keep it feeling balanced, and work well with the light floors.

Having several side and occasional tables in a variety of finishes helps stimulate visual interest.

I am also a fan of mixing woods from different periods, but I will save that for another post.

Photo Credits: Bunny Williams (1-5) Sills Huniford (6) Suzanne Tucker (7)

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Greet January 25, 2011 at 7:35 am

Wonderful post Laura! I love the picture of the entry hall with the dark wooden door!!!

2 pve January 25, 2011 at 7:57 am

One pet peeve I have is when things are too matchy-matchy – so much more interesting to mix and match woods and the images you have are excellent….as always!

3 a perfect gray January 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

mixing the woods is a much more time-worn feel, which I love. great piece, Laura.

4 Mona Thompson January 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

Great visuals. I’m a big fan of mixing woods as well, and this seems to be a topic that is very difficult for a lot of our clients. One more reason to hire a designer, right??

5 Mr. Goodwill Hunting January 25, 2011 at 9:39 am

I agree and am an advocate for mixing woods. I am new to your blog and will be adding you to my favorites so that I can come back and see some more.

Mr. Goodwill Hunting

6 Kathysue January 25, 2011 at 10:28 am

Totally agree and in my own home I have mixed woods in all my living areas. I like the visual interest. I think the matching woods went out in the late 80s when everyone had Oak everything. I did not like even then!! Kathysue

7 Dee Stephens January 25, 2011 at 10:44 am

I LOVE the last house! How I would love that!

8 Sarah (Matters of Style) January 25, 2011 at 10:45 am

Totally agree- love the mix. Anything too matchy looks like a Rooms to Go ad.

9 Carrie Waller January 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

Great post! I could have used this 10 yrs ago. When my husband and I first got married, the only fights we got into were about decorating. He like dark woods, I liked light woods, we could not agree on any furniture to buy. We were living in Europe and thankfully I decided to go with dark (I do love my furniture now) and we bought very high quality solid wood pieces while we lived there. I compromised the light wood as long as we had very streamlined pieces, simple lines that would not go out of style. Now I am evolving once again and want to mix more things in, mixed metals, mixed wood, have our house feel like us and our lives. Thanks for the images, I’m going to add them to my inspiration file:)

10 Jean January 25, 2011 at 2:12 pm


11 Pretty Pink Tulips January 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm

I love mixing things up. Textures, textiles, wood and metal.

12 Tricia - Avolli January 26, 2011 at 5:46 am

You make good points and you have used beautiful examples. I love those Klismos chairs in the first image! Gorgeous.

13 Gary February 15, 2011 at 10:08 am

Love the blue crane ornamints on the console, they’re great.

14 JM upholstery inc February 24, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Another incredible work by carlos aparicio!!!

Custom upholstery furniture made by JMUpholstery inc in new york city

15 Tom Oak January 28, 2013 at 10:55 am

I love dark wood, but the pictures you showed are fantastic, they look really nice!

Thanks for the post :-)

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