At Home with Merle

Mixing Woods and Stains in the Same Room

One of the most common topics of conversation regarding the design of a room is “Can I put two different woods in the same room?”

The answer is “Yes” and not only can you put two woods in a room, many of the most interesting designs in both commercial and residential spaces include multiple woods. At House of Oak & Sofas we attempt to steer in the direction of a stain or color family rather than one kind of wood.

Recently the cinnamon/rust family of color has exploded in popularity. Whether on oak, cherry, maple or pine, the warm orange/rust tones give any space a sense of “earthiness” and perhaps even, “stability” that many of us welcome. Twenty years ago, the most common way to carry out this color would have been to pile a space full of one kind of wood, say oak or cherry, using the same stain on floor, furniture, and even accessories. Today, we design rooms thinking much more about the color family, and finding similar wood tones in multiple woods and styles. The popularity in Mission, Southwest and Lodge style means the cinnamon family is available in furniture, flooring, carpet, fabric and accessories.

Stressing, as always, that there is not a right or wrong way to decorate a room, today’s family room might include an exotic mahogany floor in the reddish end of the cinnamon family, oak furniture in a darker cinnamon stain, paints in earthy clay colors, perhaps accented by a soft ivory trim, perhaps a family heirloom cherry cabinet with hints of the rust in the stain, and lamps and accessories that tie it all together.

A pertinent question then might be, “Could I use heart pine in the adjoining dining room floor?” Again the answer would be “Yes.” Whether contrasting the cinnamon tones of the family room or working with another monochromatic element of the rust/cinnamon family, most customers would find the texture variety displayed in the heart pine to be a delight to the eye.

Finally, we end many decorating consultations with the recommendation that the customer use as much diversity in their décor choices as they feel comfortable with. If our décor choices always start from the “feeling heart” rather than the “my friend said I should” heart, then it’s hard to go wrong. But, if it is important that your friends approve of your choices, by all means bring them into the decision making process. Some like doing their decorating as a group project while others find that confusing.

In summary, buy wood pieces based on the stain color family rather than the actual species of wood. We often divide the choices into four major categories.

  1. Cinnamon/rust tones
  2. Golden/honey/natural tones
  3. Brown/chestnut tones/walnut
  4. Red cherry tones

The sales team at House of Oak & Sofas is always ready to help you choose compatible stain and color choices. The more items you can bring with you when shopping, such as drawers, fabric samples and floor samples, the easier it is to suggest other complementary pieces.