Throw out everything you think you know about combining different wood tones and experiment this summer

Anything goes. Almost. When it comes to the décor in your home, disregard the old rules, and create something that pleases you. Mix things up, and sometimes by throwing caution to the wind, you end up being trendy.

Wood patterns and textures are nothing to fear. Gone are the days of only matching furniture sets and monochromatic rooms. Even the design heavyweights at Architectural Digest admit to abandoning the old textbooks.

Today’s homes are meant to be comfortable and functional, while also revealing a bit about the people who live there.

Combining several types of wood elements adds depth and interest to a room. Placing old and new, rustic and polished, and dark and light wood pieces throughout your home will give it character. If it works for you, don’t worry about being judged.

But if you do worry or are a little intimidated, here are some tips for mixing wood accents in your home that will keep you on-trend.

First, look around

What is the existing feel of your space? Is it working for you, functionally and aesthetically? If you fancy yourself a farmhouse chic kind of person and your space looks too modern, think about what it needs to develop the vibe you desire. Look at what you have to work with and figure out what would tie everything together.


Here’s when it may be time to retire some of your old ways of thinking about design.

Strike a balance

Having too much of anything can overwhelm a space, so be sure to include pieces that offer a range. Visually, light and dark pieces work well together and keep things interest



If you do favor a dominant tone, or that’s what you have to work with, lighten (or darken) it up with accents on the opposite end of the spectrum. For example, if your furniture is predominantly dark wood, add some whitewashed or blond wall accents.

Let color temperature be your guide

While not a strict rule, many decorators swear by grouping wood by color temperature. 

Wood with warm undertones tends to look red or yellow, like mahogany and cherry. Pine, ash, and maple have cooler greyish undertones. Some woods are more neutral, like walnut.

Choose complementary pieces

Remember that it’s always better to complement than to come as close as possible to matching and then – not. Near misses tend to look awkward, but pieces in different tones can work well together.

Let your dominant tone be your guide in choosing complementary pieces. If you’d like a more conservative mix, stick with close complements. Dark oak floors would look great with a few side pieces of wood in a slightly lighter tone.

Go with the grain

Mixing varieties of wood species can work, too. An assortment of grains and finishes is interesting and eye-catching.

Rustic looks great near smooth, and a shiny surface coexists with a matte one in a very stylish way. Similar to the effect of mixing metals, mixing wood finishes adds depth and beauty.

Use textiles to bring it all together

If you start to feel overwhelmed by wood tones, reach for some colorful fabrics to break them up. Using material to separate wood pieces allows the eye a break and prevents your room from looking too busy.

Richly colored rugs provide a barrier between hardwood floors and furniture. Bright pillows look great on a wooden bench or chair. Textile window treatments provide a welcome contrast to wood trim.

To be really on-trend this summer, add some bright and happy yellow textiles to balance your mixed wood décor.

Combine old and new

Your rooms should tell stories about the people who live there. Combining old treasures with newly found pieces not only adds interest but delivers comfort and style.

Photo cred: @mrs.dawnmartin

That vintage farm sign will look amazing next to that new mirror, and the antique clock stands out when placed on the shiny lacquer shelf. Everyone loves the shiny and new, but storied and sustainable add a level of character to your space that will set it apart.

Add some Decocrated touches

Decocrated can help you achieve that effortlessly pulled-together mix like a pro with our seasonal subscription boxes and access to carefully curated pieces in our members-only shop.

With a subscription to Decocrated, you’ll get a wide variety of handpicked items every three months that will make your home feel revitalized and on-trend.