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Five beautiful ways to mix woods in your home

by Framebridge Editorial
October 09, 2023
4 min read

Gone are the days of perfectly uniform furniture sets (thank goodness), but with the passing of the trend comes a question: What are the best ways to mix wood tones and finishes? Whether your style is traditional, modern or somewhere in between, combining dark and light wood furniture and frames will make your space feel layered and personal. 

A great place to start? Our American Hardwood Collection. These frame styles range from darker woods like Walnut (Gallery) to light tones like Bleached Maple Mini and Ash Gallery, with plenty of opportunities to mix and match to create a look that’s all your own. 

Here, five easy tips for mixing wood tones like the pros.

1. Check the undertones

The key to mixing woods is keeping the undertones consistent. Woods with warm undertones will look yellow or red — think Cherry, Mahogany, and Hickory. These work well together, even if they vary in tone and grain. Cool-toned woods like Ash, Maple, Poplar, and Pine will look a little bit gray. Neutrally toned woods like Walnut are the most versatile. Walnut has soft purple undertones that work with warm and cool-toned wood alike. Feel free to mix dark and light woods of varying finishes and grain sizes, so long as the undertones are consistent.

Via Hannah Lawrence @hannah.genevieve featuring Sonoma, a warm wood frame.
Via Lisa Shaffer @lisaandleroy and Stacy Goldberg @stacyzaringoldberg featuring Jambi, a tiger wood frame
2. Mix wood finishes throughout the room

If you pile all your darker wood pieces on one side of a room, it will feel heavy and a little bit off-kilter. Instead, mix lighter and darker pieces throughout the room to add visual interest and balance. Many rooms have permanent wood components (floors, paneling, exposed beams) so you can play off the character of the room by adding furniture, frames, and other wood elements to create balance. 

The same advice applies to gallery walls. If you’re using frames with a variety of wood, metal, and painted finishes, spread each type throughout the arrangement so one side doesn’t appear weighed down. If you want help designing a gallery wall, our Gallery Wall Design Service is a great solution. You can also check out our curated, ready-to-hang gallery walls that are designed with hardwood frames: The Hardwoods Cozy Organic, The Hardwoods Grand Organic, and The Hardwoods Triptych

A gallery wall featuring our Solid Cherry Frames via @emily.magers
3. Vary the grain patterns

Consciously or not, we think about wood grains in the same way we think about style. Typically, large wood grains suggest a more casual, lived-in look, while fine wood grains are usually perceived as more formal. Mixing wood grains can keep a room from feeling too contrived, but if you want a specific look, focus on the grain that fits your style.

Walnut (Gallery), Black Walnut (Gallery) and Gray Ash (Gallery)
4. Mix old and new pieces

More than likely, the furniture in your home has been acquired over time — a dresser you inherited, a nightstand you picked up at a flea market, the couch you splurged on. The same is probably true of your frames. This mix of old and new is the goal, making a space feel like it’s evolved through the years.

However, when you add furniture here and there, the woods will most likely not match. We recommend embracing these differences and upping the contrast. Mixing a variety of finishes will look like a deliberate (and chic) design choice. Depending on how you style your pieces, the end result can be modern, traditional, or a happy medium between the two.

Photo of our Hardwoods Collection via @donborsch with art by @visual_contrast and @mandymandible
A gallery wall featuring Cherry with White, a solid cherry wood frame with white lacquered sides, via @neon.doves
5. Repeat wood tones

While we love a wide variety of wood tones, pay attention to how many you’re using in a room. If you’re mixing multiple woods, try to use each type at least twice for a pulled-together look. The same goes for frames. Notice that The Hardwoods Cozy Organic and The Hardwoods Grand Organic gallery walls each keep to two kinds of wood, with the frame width varied to add variety. 

Ready to start framing? Check out our Hardwoods Collection or browse all styles.

Shop The Story

architectural blueprint framed in bleached maple gallery frame

Bleached Maple (Gallery)

Solid Maple gallery frame with whitewashed finish

Photo of a woman wearing a hat in a boat on a lake framed in Ash Gallery with a white mat

Ash (Gallery)

Solid Ash wood gallery frame

photograph of the license plate on the back of a camper framed in Walnut Wide hardwood frame style with white mat

Walnut (Wide)

Solid Walnut wood wide frame

Maryland license plate framed in Gray Ash gallery frame

Gray Ash (Gallery)

Solid Ash gallery frame with warm gray finish