Mixing Wood Tones Successfully in Your Custom Home

Wood grain
Blending wood tones is an art and a science.

How to Mix Wood Tones Successfully in Your Custom Home

Looking for a nice blend of wood tones in your home? This guide is here to help you do it successfully.

Understanding different wood tones and learning how to blend them can make a huge change in your space. At Red Door Homes, we know what a difference this can make only too well.

Below, we’ll tell you everything we know about the art and science of harmonizing wood in your home design.

Understanding Wood Tones

There are three different wood tone shades to choose from:

  • Light

  • Medium

  • Dark

Each of these wood tones has a unique warmth to it, bringing unique character to your home. The wood tones you choose may vary greatly based on your own personal style and home’s aesthetic.

Examples of light woods include maple and birch. These tones can create an open and airy feel in your home. Walnut and mahogany, however, are dark woods that offer richness and depth.

For those who can’t choose, medium woods like oak can strike a nice balance.

It’s not just about color, though. Wood grain plays a huge role in this choice as well. Oak, for example, has pronounced grain that adds a lot of texture and rustic charm to a home. Maple, however, has a smoother grain that offers a more contemporary look.

In Knoxville, we’ve seen a blend of traditional and modern styles, so your home can have a variety of combinations of these woods.

The Basics of Mixing Wood Tones

Mixing wood tones isn’t just about matching - it’s actually about balance. Just because you have light tones in one room doesn’t mean you need light tones in the rest of your home, too.

First, you should choose a dominant wood tone to guide you. This may be your primary hardwood floors or a large furniture centerpiece. Then, introduce other wood tones that are complimentary.

A nice mix of light and dark wood helps to add depth and interest to any room in your home.

Color Palette and Wood Tones

Your room’s color palette needs to enhance your wood tones, not compete with it. Lots of neutral shades work well with all wood tones, which can help create a backdrop to let the wood really shine.

We also recommend considering the effect of natural light in the room. Rooms with lots of sunlight look beautiful with darker woods as they won’t feel as heavy. In dimmer spaces, though, lighter wood can really open it up.

For those who can’t stand a neutral wall, soft blues and greens look lovely with most wood tones. Even painted wood can look great in a room with a combination of wood tones. In fact, painted wood can even serve as a visual break in a room with several wood tones.

Practical Tips for Every Room

You’ll likely have a different style for each room of your home. Here are our top tips broken down by room type.

The Living Room

Living rooms look lovely with a wooden coffee table that is a different wood tone from the floors or shelving. This variety can really help break up similarities in your wood tones. Other wooden pieces like TV stands can do the same.


Your bedroom should be serene so you can relax. Too much contrast can be jarring, so using wood tones that are closer in range is a softer choice. You could also use some medium tones in here, such as with a bed frame or nightstands to really stand out.

The Kitchen

Consider contrasting your cabinets and floors for a more dynamic look. A popular combination is dark cabinets with light wood floors, but some choose to do the opposite and it looks great too! Other furniture like barstools or kitchen tables can help break this up as well.

Accessorizing with Mixed Wood Tones

Accessories can really help tie your wood tones together depending on how you use them. For example, area rugs can help bridge different woods together and can help soften any contrast between wooden floors and furniture. Always be sure to choose a rug color that complements your wood, though.

Metal and glass can also help accessorize your wood tones. Think lamps, vases, and other artistic pieces. These often help bring a modern touch to otherwise traditional spaces.

Finally, consider adding some greenery to the space. Plants make a great contrast with a warm wood backdrop, and help breathe life into your space.

Final Thoughts

Mixing wood tones can seem challenging, but this art is easily learned with a bit of practice. The key is to create a balance for your space that feels comforting and reflects your personal style. Remember: the goal is for you to have a home that you love in every room!

At Red Door Homes, we would love to talk further with you about your ideas for your dream home. Reach out to us today to let us make that a reality.


Can I mix different types of wood in one room?

Absolutely! Just ensure they complement each other. Avoid mixing too many wood tones at once to maintain a cohesive look.

How do I choose the dominant wood tone for a room?

Consider the largest wood piece or the architectural elements in your room. This could be your flooring, a large piece of furniture, or even built-in shelving.

What if my room doesn’t get much natural light?

In darker rooms, lighter wood tones can help brighten the space. Reflective surfaces and strategic lighting can also enhance the wood's natural beauty.

Are there any colors that don't work well with wood?

Most color palettes can be paired successfully with wood. However, overly saturated or neon colors might clash with the natural warmth of wood.

How can I make a small room look bigger with wood furniture?

Use lighter wood tones and furniture with clean lines. Mirrors can also create an illusion of more space.

Is it okay to mix wood tones in an open floor plan?

Yes, in open floor plans, use a consistent wood tone for flooring to maintain flow, then vary the tones in your furniture and decor.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when mixing wood tones?

Avoid using too many different wood tones in a single space. Also, be wary of matching everything too closely – contrast is essential.


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