You’ve heard of blended wool, but have you heard of blended wood?
If you’ve ever walked into a room in which the furniture, flooring, and trim use only one wood species, you know that too much matching can backfire. Same, same, and same can make a room look flat and bland. It’s good to mix up woods in a room. It can also be good to do it within a single piece of woodwork—whether a piece of furniture, a banister, or cabinetry.
In our custom millwork shop, we blend woods into one-of-a-kind pieces all the time. Sometimes customers come to us with specific species they want combined. Mostly they look to us for guidance, and we’re happy to give it.
Just like marriage
It may not be just like marriage, but you do want to find woods that go together both now and down the road. Remember that the color of most wood changes as it ages, so two species that look great together at first might not complement each other so well in ten years. If you don’t know your woods, you’ll have trouble predicting their fate. Fortunately, we can help. For example, experience tells us that walnut and cherry can initially look nice together but won’t be a good fit in a few years. Same is true for most species that have a red tone, since reds can easily clash with each other. Be particularly careful with cherry, because its color changes quite a lot over time and has a deep red tone.
Only one leading lady
Generally speaking, wood pairings are most visually pleasing when one species of wood is dominant, and the other is used as an accent. A piece that is made half of one and half of the other can just look clunky. Ideally, the accent wood will be used for things like pulls, brackets, or inlays, and it also can be used to create a focal point.
As we’ve said, there are no truly hard and fast rules, but we do have some solid recommendations. Here’s a short list of wood species that tend to play well together in designs:
- walnut and maple
- white oak and walnut
- cherry and maple
- red oak and white ash
- mahogony and cherry
- mahogany and curly maple
In the most successful blends, there’s a nice contrast in both color and grain. The goal is to add beautiful depth and dimension. Interested in having a custom piece made at Brunsell? Come take a look at our showroom and portfolio of work, and let’s talk about what wood blends could work for you!