Expert tips on how to match wood furniture with flooring
SHOWROOM: Calle Modena, 33, Las Rozas, Madrid - Av. Diagonal, 352, Barcelona

Expert tips on how to match wood furniture with wood floors

Natalia Kolomiets

Published on March 20 2021

NordicStory Scandinavian oak solid wood writing desk


Wood offers a warm, classic look, so it's no wonder many people choose it for flooring and furniture. However, all that wood can be a bit tricky to blend together. Do you match wood furniture and wood floors? Does it go with contrasting colors? Does color matter? It may seem intimidating but our expert tips on how to match wood furniture with wood floors make it a lot easier.


The case against matching wood tones

You want your furniture and flooring to reflect your style and show favorably, that's a given. In a 2013 study on furniture choice and habits, approximately 67-72% of participants said they feel their furniture expresses their individuality and that their homes should have something to say about it. And wood furniture is always a favorite. In fact, when respondents in the same study were asked how long they thought their furniture would last, 92.4% chose wood as the most reliable.

So how can you incorporate stylish, quality wood furniture into a room with hardwood flooring in a way that complements the space and matches your preferences? The answer may be different than you think.

Matching the finish of your furniture and flooring seems like a safe option. How can you go wrong if you use the same color for both? It is an option, but there are a few reasons why you may want to avoid this match.

First, matching all the wood in the room can make the space look flat and boring. Think of it as too much of a good thing. When all the wood is the same color, it blends in and loses its charm. Nothing stands out as unique. By mixing different finishes, it adds visual depth and interest to the space. Pieces stand out and showcase individual charm and beauty.

Working in different wood finishes creates a cozy feeling in your room. The space becomes homey. Combining all wood elements can feel like you're trying too hard.

Another challenge in matching wood finishes exactly is the fact that most people don't buy everything at once. Older pieces often have an aged look, so even if they have the same finish, it won't necessarily look the same as a new piece with that finish. Some people intentionally choose different pieces instead of a matching set to create a select, updated look.

That doesn't mean you can't have any combination of woods, but you may want to incorporate contrasting colors to add some dimension to the space. Looking at the different characteristics of wood finishes can help you find pieces that match well with the color of your existing wood floors.

 desk wooden table with drawers



Elements affecting the appearance of wood

The color of the finish is only one aspect of the appearance of the wood, whether it is the flooring or the furniture. Several elements work together to create the final look of a piece of wood. Before you can compare these functions and find others that work together, it is important to understand them.

Some things that affect the appearance of wood include:

  • Wood species: The type of wood the piece is made from affects its appearance, even if the piece is stained. The type of wood also affects aspects such as quality and durability.
  • Grain: Different types of wood have different grain appearance. Some have distinct and prominent grain patterns that stand out. Others have subtle wood grain patterns that are less noticeable. Grains may appear straight, swirled or patterned in other ways.
  • Stain: Wood floors and furniture can be stained to change the color of the original wood. Stain can cause the wood to take on a different color or darker appearance.


Analyze the characteristics of your soil

Hardwood floors bring an elegant touch to any home. Did you know that 54% of homebuyers are more likely to buy or pay a higher price for a home with hardwood flooring? If you already own a home with hardwood floors, you'll want to do everything you can to accentuate the authentic beauty of your flooring as much as possible. Here's how.

Since your wood floor is already installed, it's easier to start there and choose other wood pieces to complement it. Before you buy new wood furniture, take a close look at your wood floor to learn more about it. Look at things like color, how dark or light the floor looks, grain patterns and any other unique features. If you have a sample of your flooring, take it with you when you look at furniture to see how well it works with different pieces.


Limit the number of wood finishes

Mixing wood finishes that work well together is a good thing, but you don't want to have too many different finishes in the same space. When you place too many different wood styles, the space can look busy, mismatched, sparse or disconnected. Two or three different finishes is a good place to start. If you have a large area to furnish, using four different finishes can work.

Spaces tend to work best when it has a dominant wood finish. Since you are working in a space with wood floors, your floor finish is likely to be the dominant color. It is the one constant that covers the entire room and will not change unless you go through the refinishing process. The other finish or two will complement that main wood tone.

Once you have your color choices, repeat them throughout the space. You may choose to hang dark wood frames similar to the dark wood flooring while placing a lighter wood finish on the dining room table and sideboard. Using each wood finish more than once ties the room together and creates a sense of balance.

 natural wood fixed dining table


Find a unifying feature

Choosing wood types to match can seem tricky. You don't want the wood tones to be too similar, but you also don't want too many completely different finishes. Mismatched wood pieces can create a disconnected and too sparse feel that detracts from the pieces.

Instead, look for at least one feature that the different pieces of wood have in common. You can choose two pieces with similar large grain patterns, or you can choose two types of wood with rustic tones. The two types of wood may still look completely different, but they have that one common trait that unifies them.


Diffuse similar wood tones

To create balance in the room, use the area to distribute the different wood tones you choose. Instead of grouping all pieces of one color, place them in different parts of the room. If you have a rich mahogany piece on one side of the room, balance it with a similar color piece on the other side. This distribution of finishes creates a more natural look without making one part of the room appear heavier or darker than others.


Consider wood shades

Wood can have subtle shades or colors that affect the overall look of the piece. The hues of your wood flooring and wood furniture pieces should blend together. Shades can be warm, cool or neutral in appearance. Warm tones in wood tend to appear yellow, orange or red. If the wood takes on a gray color, it has cool undertones. Neutral shades give wood a beige appearance without any distinctive color.

Since wood flooring is not easy to change, focus first on the shades of that wood. Woods with the same type of undertones often work best together. For example, if your wood floor has warm undertones, look for other pieces of wood with warm undertones as well. You will get the best results if you choose shades of the same specific hue. If your floors have red undertones, choose furniture that also has red undertones. If your floor takes on a yellowish appearance, choose furniture that also has that yellow hue.

If your wood flooring has neutral hues, you're in luck. You can opt for warm, cool or neutral woods because they all look great with neutral wood flooring. However, if you add multiple wood finishes to the room, make sure all of those additional wood pieces have similar hues.

Note that the undertone is not the same as the darkness of the wood. A piece can have red undertones and be very light, very dark, or somewhere in between. While the pieces you choose can all have red undertones, you can create variety by choosing pieces with different levels of darkness and with other unique characteristics, such as different wood grain patterns.


Avoid heavy finishes

Mixing wood floors with wood furniture becomes easier with pieces that look natural. In nature, many different types of wood grow together in harmony. By keeping your wood pieces as close to that natural state as possible, you can better coordinate the pieces.

Wood with a thick shellac coating ends up looking unnaturally shiny and smooth. The gloss takes away much of the wood's natural beauty and the characteristics that make it easier to match with other woods. Choose pieces with natural stains and finishes to allow for more versatility in matching different pieces of wood.

At Oak.Store we offer a wide variety of natural wood furniture that will adapt perfectly to your space.


 solid natural oak wood


Mix the veins carefully

Grain refers to the lines and patterns that occur naturally in wood. As the wood grows, the grain develops as a function of the wood cells. The species of wood often determines the overall grain type because growth patterns vary from species to species. However, each piece of wood has its own distinctive pattern, even within the same species. Some types of wood have prominent grain patterns, while others are less noticeable. That difference is noticeable in the finished product, especially in pieces with natural finishes.

The grain is described as open or closed. Open grain patterns occur in wood with large pores, such as pine, elm, ash and oak. The wood often has a rough appearance. It may appear more textured than smooth. Close-grained wood has smaller pores that minimize the appearance of lines and marks. Also known as fine grain, this type of wood includes maple, birch, alder, cherry and walnut.

The grain also varies in the way the patterns appear. Some wood species have a straight grain. The lines in the wood follow a relatively straight path. These woods tend to have a slightly more subtle appearance than other wood grains. Some wood species have unique grain patterns that may appear wavy, swirling, twisted or different designs. They stand out in finished wood flooring or wood furniture because they are often irregular and more noticeable than straight lines.

The type of grain affects the style or mood the wood creates. Large grain patterns tend to evoke a casual tone. Fine grain patterns are associated with formal styles. Keep these sentiments in mind when choosing pieces for your space so you can create an overall tone that matches your style.

Grain is an important characteristic when choosing different pieces of wood to match. You do not need to try to match the grain exactly. However, if you have too many pieces with prominent grain that look completely different, they may compete with each other instead of creating a harmonious look in the room.

If you choose a piece or have a floor with a prominent grain, balance it with other pieces that have a faint grain pattern. If all of your pieces have a prominent grain, they should have a similar pattern to help them fit together.


Use contrast to create a focal point

If you want to emphasize a particular piece of furniture or part of the room, choose a finish color that contrasts with the rest of the wood elements in the space. You might choose a dark dining table to contrast with light wood floors, for example. The contrast doesn't have to be too stark. You can pair a light tone with a medium tone with the same hues, for example. A dark wood tone, such as mahogany or cherry, can have ample contrast with a medium wood tone.

Texture is another way to make a piece stand out and create dimension in your space. If your wood floors are perfectly smooth and polished, choose a chunky rustic piece of furniture with lots of texture for contrast.


Consider other colors in the room

The colors you use for walls, window curtains, trim, rugs and decorative pieces influence how the wood pieces work together. A piece of wood furniture may look completely different against a neutral white background than against a bright yellow wall.

If you use several different wood finishes in a space, neutral colors for walls and other elements tend to work best. The neutral palette helps tie the different wood tones together and creates a sense of balance in the room.


Wood tone with soft materials

Having hardwood floors and furniture can sometimes feel a little overwhelming if you don't have anything to balance all that wood. Incorporate softer materials into the room to balance the space. Rugs work well in rooms with wood floors. Rugs break up the wood look and add a sense of softness underfoot. A rug is also a nice visual break between the floor and wood furniture, which can help you feel more comfortable mixing woods. Drawers in furniture also help break up a large area of wood.

You can also work in other types of materials to tone down the look of the wood. You can incorporate a metal lamp or decorative glass pieces, for example.

 round table in solid oak wood


Dark wood furniture with dark wood floors

Contrast helps create depth, but you can combine dark wood furniture with dark wood floors and still make the room look interesting. Dark wood finishes tend to have a formal look and add a dramatic touch to your space. The key is to provide some balance to offset the dark wood so that the entire room doesn't feel heavy, dark and cave-like.

One trick is to choose furniture that is a few shades lighter than the floor, especially if the wood floor is extremely dark. You still get the look of dark furniture, but it helps brighten the room overall. Another option is to place some much lighter wood pieces to offset all the dark finishes. To help create that balance, try two-tone furniture with lighter surfaces and legs to match the dark floor color.

Another important factor in a room with dark wood floors and dark wood furniture is the rest of the room's color palette. Combining lighter walls with dark wood elements helps keep the room balanced overall. Crisp white walls work well with darker woods, but you can use other light tones, such as light gray or cream.

Provide a light-colored break between dark wood floors and dark wood furniture with a light-colored area rug. For example, place a soft gray area rug under a dark wood dining table to provide that visual separation with a touch of lightness.


Light wood furniture with light wood floors

Light wood tones keep a room airy and often make the space feel informal. Light wood floors tend to take on a neutral tone, but some lighter woods have warm undertones. Check for a strong yellow or red hue. If you don't notice one, your light floors are neutral and you have much more freedom to blend. If you do notice a red or yellow tone, stick with other light woods that have the same color undertones.

If you want to use light furniture with light floors, try to find slightly different wood tones to create a bit of contrast. You can choose wood pieces a shade or two darker than a very light floor, for example. This adds dimension and interest to the space while making certain elements stand out, but still maintains the overall light look of the room. You can also use a rug to separate light flooring from light furniture. Opt for a darker colored rug to create a contrast to help create more dimension in the space.

Your accessories also help balance all the light wood. Work in different materials and accents to contrast with the light wood elements. Colors don't have to be dark or intense. You can add a soft green or blue to give it a pop of color without being too loud.

 solid wood living room furniture

Dark wood with light wood

One of the easiest options to match is dark wood with light wood, whether it's light floors with dark furniture or dark floors with light furniture. Sometimes, if you try to match two dark woods or two light woods, the results look like you tried to match the colors but failed. When you choose one light and one dark option, it is clear that you were not trying to match the wood finishes.


Oak.Store is an authority in the solid wood furniture industry. If you are looking for wood furniture that will work with your hardwood floors, we can help. Request a quote today for the new furniture you need. In addition, we are always ready to help you and answer any questions you may have in our showroom in Barcelona, Avenida Diagonal, 352.

More publications