Style: Mix wood furniture for an evolved look
Upholstered furniture, like sofas and chairs, bring a lot of razzle-dazzle to our rooms, with their endless options to infuse our spaces with beautiful patterns and colors. But it’s their quieter siblings that provide the backbone to our interior spaces. Wood furniture may not always be as fun as upholstered pieces, but it plays a gigantic role in the design of our rooms.
I wanted to share my favorite way to weave wood pieces into my decor.
START WITH YOUR UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE.
When our designers work with our customers to create spaces they love, we start with the upholstered pieces. Sofas and chairs create the color story for a room and set the style. Then, we turn to the wood furnishings. Why? Wood pieces play the supporting role in the room. You can’t pick an end table that’s the right size and shape if you don’t know the style and scale of the chair it will sit next to. Getting wood pieces to match the scale of your room and the other furniture is a fundamental of good design.
EVOLVED ROOMS ARE MY FAVORITE.
When I was trying to decide how to decorate our little lake cottage, it took me a while to select the style of furniture I wanted, which upholstery fabric was my favorite and what other pieces I wanted to include in each room. But the one thing I knew I wanted was a home that felt like it had evolved over time. I wanted the cottage to feel like it had been in the family for generations. An evolved look is my absolute favorite, as if a room has come to life piece by piece, detail by detail, over decades. A great way to get this look in a hurry is to use a wide array of wood finishes and styles. In my home, I don’t think twice about combining a mahogany side table, a natural pine chest, a painted book case and an oak dining table. These different styles and stains add to the story of the room.
DON’T BE TIED TO ONE TREND.
It’s a great idea to watch the trends in interior design, both with an eye to see what’s new and as a way to keep your home ever-fresh. But I’m not one who goes for remaking my interior spaces to match a new design trend. For example, the reclaimed wood trend has brought some beautiful looks to the design world and given us a chance to pull beautiful, organic pieces into our spaces. But a room that only features reclaimed wood can begin to feel flat, unimaginative. Instead, I like to add new pieces, as they grab my heart, but hold fast to the wood furniture I have loved for decades.
YOUR ROOMS SHOULD LOOK LIKE YOU, NOT A CATALOG.
We all love to thumb through catalogs that depict well-put-together rooms filled with a store’s newest look. They are fun to look at and a good place to get ideas. But I would never encourage anyone to replicate the looks. That is someone else’s vision, not yours. As always, I urge you to only collect things you love, including wood furniture. Life is too short to live with a bookcase, table, end table or dining table that doesn’t make your heart race, right?
MIX OLD AND NEW.
You will find a mix of styles in my cottage. While my truest look is traditional furnishings, I mix my timeless classics with pops of fun new modern pieces. I like to hang a stunning piece of modern art above a worn antique. Splash up my chesterfield sofa with a bouquet of pillows in hip geometric fabrics.
If you have inherited some antiques or vintage wood furniture with good bones and in the right scale, but in a stain color that is not your thing, give it a new look. Cover it in a high luster emerald green or royal blue.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at www.nellhills.com