How Important is Matching?
Develop a natural, evolved look in your home with items that go together comfortably but do not match exactly. Each type of wood has a characteristic color and grain pattern, and the color also can be altered with stain. Furniture makers have used stains and varnishes for centuries, both to enhance the appearance of the grain and to change the color of the wood. The stains sold are generally named for the types of wood they simulate: Maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany, ebony, oak, and fruitwood are the most common types.
Over time, wood furnishings acquire a rich patina that gives the surface depth and complexity. Newer woods and veneers may lack this complexity, but they still have an overall color tone that may be yellow, orange, red-brown, bluish brown, or dark brown.
Consider whether you prefer the drama of high contrast or the richness of low-contrast. Don't worry about all the wood pieces in a room matching -- the casual, comfortable, gathered-over-time look of mixed woods is perfectly appropriate today.
Use Contrast to Call Attention
Dark finishes, such as mahogany, walnut, or cherry, stand out in sharp relief against any light color, whether it's a tint of green or blue or a hue from the sunny side of the color wheel. In the same way, light wood shows up boldly against dark or strong color on the walls.
The contrast calls more attention to the furniture, a plus if you have a fine piece you want to focus on. If you love the look of dark wood against light walls (or light furniture against dark walls), keep furniture arrangements orderly and streamlined to offset the impression of crowding. To achieve high contrast with medium-tone finishes, keep the wall color soft and light, creating as much difference as possible between the values of the wood color and the wall.
You can also use the colors in the furniture finish as a cue for wall colors. If the dominant color in the wood appears to be red, then a green background will enhance and intensify the wood's hue. Antique woods, which have a patina that offers depth and complexity, may combine several tones -- that's why they can look good against a variety of light or dark colors.
Color preferences are entirely personal. Here at BOSSWoodworks, we strive to bring these concepts together to create a unique furnishing for you for generations to come.