Blend Woodgrains and Finishes In The Same Room

Blend Woodgrains And Finishes In The Same Room

Kitchen display at Marling Lumber showroom, Janesville, WI

A design brochure published by The Hardwood Manufacturers Association, prefers blending instead of matching stained colors and wood species.  “Don’t try to be a match-maker.  Better to blend~or contrast~ the colors and textures of various American Hardwoods on your floors, furniture, cabinets, and mouldings.”

The brochure directs its advice to architects and designers, not to finishers like Midwest PrefinishingIt’s our job to color-match to submitted samples.  Color-matching actually becomes more critical and involved with multiple species.  But we’re delighted with the association’s advice; we like to see hardwood showcased in a design scheme, and stain and paint colors applied to the hilt.

Blending and contrast suggestions from American Hardwoods By Design

  • Blend:  Apply 2-3 woods in kitchen designs: “medium tones such as oak for the perimeter cabinets, an island in color-glazed wood, and a stand alone-hutch in walnut.”
  • Contrast:  The higher the contrast, the higher the energy level; less contrast between floor [doors, trim] and cabinets, more calm.  A dark room needs a lighter floor: a light floor bounces light.
  • Stain or paint:  “If it’s woodsy, earthy, or contemporary, think stain….  If you want a more traditional look, paint is great, especially white or cream.  Just beware of creating too much contrast between the walls and the trim.”

More design tips
California Closets, a company specializing in closet and other storage, gives similar advice on its website article, Four Ways to Design With Wood Grains:

  1. Relaxing finishes:  A warm, rich wood grain finish “creates a relaxing and inviting environment…”
  2. Sophisticated style:  A walk-in closet with dark wood grain “creates a sense of sophistication and elegance….”
  3. Lighter color to brighten up small spaces:  Lighter wood grain finishes brighten a smaller, reach-in storage space.
  4. Contrast to relieve the eye:  For pantries, offices, and craft rooms, a white system with a darker wood grain finish on counters and shelves is a good contrast and complement.

We’re not designers, but we appreciate the principle of contrast in a simple stained door framed by white-painted jamb and casings.

So, what species are abundant?
Oak (red and white) is the more abundant specie with a combined 52%.  Poplar is second with only 11%, demonstrating the dominance of oak.  Maple, ash, cherry, and alder follow.  Why not start with these six species?

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