1. IDENTIFY THE DOMINANT WOOD FEATURE
‘I start by identifying the dominant wood feature within the room to set the general mood,’ says Ginger Curtis, founder and principal designer of Urbanology Designs. The dominant wood feature is typically the largest element in a room, such as a floor, built-in cabinets, structural features like beams and ceiling cladding, or even a large piece of furniture, such as a dining table. The dominant shade will be your reference point when selecting wood furniture.
2. MATCH WOOD UNDERTONES
‘I then take inventory of the prevailing woods and group them by tone,’ comments Ginger. Just like when you’re putting together a color scheme, it’s important to pay attention to the undertone of the wood grain. Woods with warm undertones have a red, orange, or yellow tinge, whereas ‘cool’ woods look slightly grey, blue, or green. ‘I avoid woods that pull strong red and orange undertones because they can be harder to mix with other wood tones,’ she adds. For a cohesive design, stick to either a cool or warm color scheme in your palette.
3. EXPERIMENT WITH CONTRAST
Tonal variety is the key to achieving depth, interest, and balance in a space. The opposing qualities of light and dark tones play off each other, contributing a sense of tension, movement, and excitement to a scheme.
4. BREAK UP SIMILAR WOOD TONES
Too much of the same wood tone can look flat and feel overwhelming. ‘If you have two pieces of wood with the same tone next to each other, break them up with another piece,’ suggests Ginger. In this dining room, the wood tone of the table matched the flooring, making it look washed out and inconspicuous. By introducing a rug, Ginger created visual separation; suddenly, the table became a feature of the room, and the rug added beauty and balance to the design. The black wainscoting has a similar effect, providing a black backdrop against which the light wood tones of the table pop.
5. STAY TRUE TO YOUR STYLE
Pay attention to the form and finish of wood furniture, ensuring it aligns with the style of the room and/or property. For example, a light, rough, high-grain wood finish would suit a rustic, casual interior, whereas dark polished wood compliments a more formal, luxurious aesthetic.