Wood is still the number one material used in cabinetry and other casework in the home. Unless you’re starting from scratch and completely remodeling your home from top to bottom, chances are you have a variety of wooden elements. When you try to find wood for your cabinets and other built-in furniture, here’s how you properly match new wood with old wood for the best decorative effects.
Matching wood with wood
The biggest problem with matching wood is that wood varies so much, even within the same species. If we’re talking hardwood floors, each board may vary slightly in tone and color. The same is true for natural wood cabinets and casework. Although there are ways to make your woodwork one even color, like staining them, you may not be able to match the new wood to the old woodwork in the home.
If it’s not an exact match, don’t do it
Not only is wood going to vary in color and texture when it is new, but over time, wood will age and change characteristics. Aging wood can be quite beautiful and add to the charm, but when you are trying to match new wood with old wood, it can be quite a challenge. If you already have aged hardwood floors and are putting in new kitchen cabinets, don’t try to match the two unless you can match them perfectly.
Three shades lighter or darker
Trying to match wood without success will only make it look like you made a mistake. If something is just a little bit off, it can throw the whole room out of whack. When you are using two types of wood in your home, you are better off trying to make it feel cohesive, rather than matchy-matchy. The interior design rule for using contrasting wood elements is to stick to wood that shares the same color spectrum and tones as the other wood, and then find something that is at least three shades lighter or darker.
Contrast adds dimension and texture
Using contrasting wood tones will also add texture and dimension. Contrasting colors is what will make the room, and your home comes alive. When you work with contrasting, but complimentary wood tones, you are adding personality and drama. However, you want to be strategic with how many contrasting colors you use. Try to stick to the “holy three” when it comes to colors and tones. There should be one primary or main color, then a secondary contrasting color, and finally the third color as an accent color.
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