How to Pair Paint Colors with Wood Types

Wood can lend texture, warmth and a natural energy to your living space, but pairing it with the right paint color is sure to make an inspirational impact guests won’t soon forget.

Wood furniture, flooring and trim throughout your home play an important role in your interior design. While solid wood furniture has always been a popular choice, Americans are increasingly moving away from matching sets and toward a cheekily curated mix of wood types and tones. It’s not the easiest look to pull off, but when done right, your home will exude a beautifully blended feel.

Part of doing it right means choosing a paint color that strikes an exquisite contrast and amplifies the wood’s earthy charm. If you’ve decided to mix and mingle wood types in your living room, kitchen or bedroom, you might be struggling with a wall color to complete your vision. Are there certain shades that accentuate darker hardwoods like walnut or cherry? What if you have lighter wood furniture? Why not just play it safe with white?

All fair questions—and we have answers. Here are our best tips for pairing paint colors with wood types, along with some of our favorite wood variety-wall paint combos. 

Mixing Wood Tones in Your Home

Wood can really ratchet up a room’s richness, but you can’t expect a single wood type or furniture set to do all the work. Mix it up, friend. You’ll be glad you did. 

Relying on one wood type or color may seem like a good move for continuity, but there’s a downside to playing it too safe. Good design feeds on diversity, not monotony. As long as they’re not too divergent, different wood shades and grain patterns will give your room that shot of stylishness it’s been missing. Here are a few tips to remember when mixing wood tones in your home:

  • Pick a dominant wood tone. The first step is choosing the main type of wood for your space. Hardwood floors or wood trim are good candidates. So are focal points made of solid wood like a kitchen island, dining room table or armoire.
  • Play to the undertones. Look closely at the patterns and grains in your flooring, trim or furniture to identify undertones. If they’re warm, complement them with warmer wood tones. If they’re cooler, avoid darker, more sumptuous wood types like cherry or walnut as accents.
  • Balance, don’t bunch. Once you have your dominant wood tone and supporting pieces selected, spread them out to create balance. Woodiness works best when it’s carried throughout a space, not clustered.

Go for Contrast When Pairing Paint With Wood

Choosing a wall color independently of the wood in your space is a big gamble. There’s an art to pairing paint with wood tones—and it’s more about polarity than parity. 

Your mixed wood tones are begging for a color that will make them pop even more. Rather than washing them out, choose a color that magnifies their natural grandeur. Don’t shy away from bold or trendy hues. The right one will simultaneously play up the wood tones and create a chic contrast to give the room its signature vibe.  

Each type of wood, whether it’s light, medium or dark, has a certain color palette. Staying within that realm—or exploring the fringe if you’re more adventurous—is your best bet for locking in that impeccable incongruity designers love.  

To keep it simple, woods with warm undertones like walnut, cherry and mahogany mesh well with cooler paint colors. Conversely, lighter woods like poplar, pine and birch contrast well with warmer shades. The rest is up to you, so experiment, have fun and test those colors out before you cover your walls.  

Wall Color-Wood Combos We Love

With so many different types of wood and thousands of paint colors to choose from, the idea of picking the best one may seem daunting. Here are three combos that perfectly pair wall color with wood type.

Minty green & mahogany wood

Have a vintage piece like an antique mahogany desk or secretary? Try a minty green to stir up the deep rouges and rusts in this fine wood. This upgrade for your study or parlor proves that the warm-cool contrast is sublime.  

Powder blue & cherry wood

If your bed frame or dining table is crafted from cherry wood, try surrounding it with powdery blue walls. The fiery reddishness and orangey streaks will glow even brighter against the pale backdrop. 

Rosy peach & blonde wood

Looking for paint colors that go with blonde wood? Try a warmer, trendier pick like rosy peach to give your lighter wood furniture a halo effect. Don’t white-wash your minimalist digs. Find comfort through color.

If you’re redecorating your bedroom, living room or dining room, our selection of solid wood furniture is a great place to start. Find a wood type that suits your style and then put these tips to work when choosing a new paint color. Need a sounding board? Contact us today for a design consultation.

Jerome Rackers

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