Blending Old and New Wood Furniture

A question we frequently get asked is, how to match pre-existing wood furniture with the new? Wood is known for being a timeless material. However, as of late its popularity, whether it be wood flooring, shelving, walls, or tables, has increased over the last few years. It is a design element that is used in more ways than one, even the smallest hints. Depending on the use, this will impact color, wood species, and a few other details. Take a look at a list of a few suggestions to follow when considering your old and new wood furniture and its cohesion throughout a space.

Main Takeaways for Mixing Wood Furniture

Samples: Shop with your samples or take photos of existing pieces. This is much more reliable than trying to match the color tones you THINK are similar. You’ll save yourself some hassle.

Designed room displaying a blend of light, medium, and dark stained wood furniture throughout a space.

Photo by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Undertones: Look for the same color temperature or undertone. Warm undertones are yellow, orange, and red. Cool are a grayish tone and beige undertones have a neutral color temperature. Of all the undertones, neutrals are the most versatile because they can be mixed with cool, warm, or neutrals.

Avoid Matchy-Matchy: Mix complimentary instead of matching. If you try to get too matchy-matchy chances are it will end up looking like a mistake. A variety of wood finishes that complement one another will look cohesive and intentional instead of an “oops!”

Common Element: Keeping a common element such as period, style, shape, undertone, etc. can aid in a cohesive room.

Unifying Pieces: A piece with multiple tones, containing the variety of tones in your room helps tie all the colors together.

Scatter Close Finishes: When using more than one wood tone don’t clump them together. Evenly scattering pieces throughout the room balances the varying tones.

Whitewashed wood furniture showing how to break up wood tones in a kitchen.

Photo by McCaren

Dominant Tone: Choosing a dominant wood tone can create interest and drama. The largest surface or dining table set can be a great start for the dominant wood tone. If a large surface or dining set isn’t a possibility, set aside two or three pieces to play the dominant role. Don’t worry about an exact match, simply use similar tones.

Soften Transitions: Adding rugs, blankets, and other textiles can help soften the transitions between wood tones making it appear less jarring.

Other Hard Surfaces in Mix: Tossing in other surfaces such as glass, metal, or painted wood can help break up the wood variation making for an interesting room.

Whiteout: Whitewashed pieces are a good way to calm a space down and break it up if there are too many wood tones or too many similar pieces. Just make sure the whitewashed furniture fits the feel of the space.

Kitchen displaying how to use one tone of wood furniture but in light, medium, and dark.

Photo by Risa Boyer Architecture

Rule of Three: The safest way to blend furniture is to stick to a maximum of three wood tones in a room. Allowing each color to be distinct, while not being overwhelming.

Hopefully this bit of information has not overwhelmed you, but simply broken down a few “rules” to follow when adding new and old wood furniture together. There’s no perfect science, just a mix of personal style and being informed.

Have additional questions about our furniture and the process? View our FAQ for more information.

Contact us today to start designing your custom Rustic Elements table or schedule an appointment to visit us in our Joliet, IL shop!

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