Like many decorating decisions, the introduction of wood tones into a plan requires some conscious awareness. A well thought out strategy for how different types of wood will play against each other can really create a memorable design. But at the same time, when I visit a space for a first time I rarely think, “Well, this would be nice if the wood tones coordinated better.”
I hear about this fear from my clients, too. Mixing wood tones scares people. I think part of this comes from the choices of the recent past. About 20 years ago there was natural oak (country) and deep cherry (traditional). And they didn’t work very well in the same space.
Today case goods are readily available in retail furniture stores in an easier mix of palettes. Deep dark brown tones commonly called espresso and nearly grain-less birch are very common. Both play well with others.
Choose wood tones that coordinate seamlessly with the entire plan. The fore-mentioned oak works in casual rooms, where the rules are looser. If the flooring is wood, consideration should be given to the stain. It is not necessary to match the wood on the furniture to the wood on the floor. This is not necessary or even desirable. A knotty pine floor, oak cabinetry and painted end tables coordinate beautifully. Conversely, in a contemporary plan, light bamboo floors would be a perfect backdrop to a dynamic teak.