“Over the years we inherited some lovely pieces of furniture and we have been slowly collecting more pieces that we love,” a reader tells Allegra Dioguardi, President of Styled and Sold. “Are there some guidelines regarding mixing wood finishes? How do we pull them all together to create a cohesive look?”
As with all matters of Interior Design, Re-design and Home Staging, Allegra has plenty of advice to share.
Allegra Dioguardi, President of Styled and Sold says: This is an excellent question, but unfortunately there is no simple answer, as I am not aware of any hard and fast rules regarding this.
Purchasing pieces that all match is the “easy way,” and just like anything else, the “easy way” doesn’t necessarily give the best results. In fact, when it comes to design, “matchy matchy” can be boring. Mixing wood finishes will create a more appealing and sophisticated design statement. I love a space that looks “collected” and as though it has evolved lovingly and naturally over time. The key is to do this in such a way that results in a visually pleasing outcome.
Think about wood found in nature—no one would maintain that the birch tree doesn’t match the pine tree in the forest. That is because there is an underlying cohesive harmony in nature that ties everything together. First you must decide, is my house a humble American pine tree or an exotic Banyan tree, a delicate dogwood or a stately oak?
Armed with that decision, I would suggest selecting one primary finish for the more important pieces such as your cocktail table, china cabinet and consoles. Then you can mix in additional finishes in your accent pieces. This would include painted pieces as well as introducing texture and contrast with wicker, sisal, sea grass, metal and stone for added interest. Using accent pieces as your contrast will enable you to experiment with finishes without investing large sums of money and the end results will be a nice “collected” look.
Once you have your furniture selected, the key to pulling it all together is to identify and carry out at least one cohesive theme in your design process. One of my favorite methods to achieve this is with the use of color. A tight, unified color scheme will go a long way toward making your space read as one big, gracious, unified statement. By this I mean using one or two accent colors consistently throughout in items such as fabrics, toss pillows, lamps, window treatments and accessories. This is a very effective way to create an integrated feeling. Wood picture frames and other accessories can reinforce the primary wood finish selected in your furniture choices as well.
Another method that will effectively tie your space together is to determine and stick with a specific style and it’s appropriate texture. For instance, if you like Cottage style, you might select different woods that are all rustic, patina-ed, painted or antique. The same concept works with contemporary style should you chose finishes that are smooth, glossy, laminated or shiny. For traditional style, most rich, dark wood finishes can be effectively mixed.
Consider the lines of the furniture as well. Are the lines curvilinear? Straight? Soft? Sleek? Being consistent with the furniture lines is another aspect that can provide consistency.
Any of the above techniques will make mixing finishes appear as if they all belong together. Be somewhat judicious with finishes. Determine one aspect that you will be consistent with and then tell a beautiful story with color, style and continuity. Lastly, a good overall design concept will ensure a beautiful outcome.
Have your own questions about interior design or home staging? You can visit Allegra Dioguardi of Styled and Sold at www.styledandsold.com or call her at 631-599-1297. And you can always send your House & Home questions to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org.