Friends and customers often ask us for advice on mixing furniture of different timbers (or with timber floorboards) at home. It can seem intimidating, however, there is most definitely an art to it, and we’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years, in fact, we highly recommend it! Combining different timbers can have a warm and dynamic effect on a room, contributing to a character-filled space. Read on for some advice on mixing different timbers from Plyroom founder Elise Heslop.
Three Is The Magic Number
“Maintain a balanced look by limiting to three timber types in each room and choosing timbers with either similar finishes or undertones. Take a look at your dominant timbers in the space and work from there.”
“When undertones of the timber are similar, work with the dominant wood tone in the space. If you have timber floors or a lot of timber cabinetry, this is your dominant wood tone. Almost any timber tone can be matched together, providing they have matching undertones; that is, they are neutral, cool (blue, white, or grey undertones), or warm (red, yellow, or orange undertones). A good match is when timber pieces stay with that tone across the space. Note that the most versatile are those woods with neutral tones because they can mix with both warm and cool tones.”
Balance the Direction of the Grain
“If your flooring flows in one direction, you can create the appearance of a wider space by aligning the larger pieces of furniture along these same lines.”
Create Continuity with Shape or Finish
“It’s important to create continuity with similar timber grains or finishes. Let’s say your wood floor or table is glossy; we suggest you carry on with this finish and choose chairs or side tables in a glossy finish.”
“Common elements such as finish, shape, or period can also join different timbers together harmoniously. The aim should be to achieve a feeling of continuity, meaning there’s one characteristic or feature that appears in every piece. This feature or characteristic will tie together the overall scheme. For example, the curved timber legs of our Shibui shelving system paired with the rounded back of iconic Thonet Bentwood chairs look beautiful together because they share a similar form.”
Mix and Match
Some straightforward timber pairings that we love:
Beech and Tasmanian Oak or Victorian Ash
These work well together because they each have a subtle, pink hue.
Ash and Birch
A highly compatible duo, since both share similar neutral undertones.
Birch and American Oak
These look great together, especially if you have darker knots in the birch or a dark edge on the birch, which ties the pieces together.
Birch and Walnut
When the tones of both the birch and walnut are cool, these timbers pair beautifully.
American Oak works with most neutral timbers and warmer timbers also. When the finish is similar, it really works with any timber, even the deeper, darker tones of walnut and teak which we also love.
If you’re unsure which timber to select in a Plyroom piece, please feel free to ask us. We’re always happy to look at an image of your room or existing furniture and guide you from there.