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Style it dark: how to avoid feeling intimidated by darker wood and tips to make it look fabulous!

Darker woods, whether natural or stained, are not always the obvious choice. Some may feel that dark wood is too austere or formal. This isn’t always the case! Wood is a wonderful, natural material to introduce into the home and its beauty lies in the limitless variety of tone and texture. An interior only starts to look bland when this tonality of woods is unvaried and all looks the same. Blonde trees – elm, ash, beech and so on – are especially popular choices today in compact homes, due to their ability to create a sense of light and spaciousness. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend filling a home with too much dark wood, it does harness other enormous advantages when it comes to balancing out a space. A touch of darker tone here and there really helps to anchor a room. Much antique furniture is quite dark and pairs brilliantly with sleek mid century references, just as you can see in the dining space below! Note how the airy room with tall white walls and light herringbone floor is brought together by the focal point: the dark antique chairs and table. The delicate spindly detail on the darker chairs is a fantastic choice of furniture as they anchor the room without appearing too overbearing or dominating other features.

Image: houseandgarden.co.uk

Here are some key pieces of advice for achieving the perfect balance of wooden tones in your home:

  • Pick a dominant wood tone – this could be the wooden floorboards or perhaps a larger item of furniture. The dominant tone will then provide a guide by which to select other pieces of furniture.
  • Match the undertones to create a sense of continuity. For example if you have a selection of furniture to accent the dominant tone, try to keep these in the same tonal family.
  • Keep all tones within the same temperature. Is the dominant wood tone cool or warm? Try to pick pieces which also strike you as belong to the same colour climate, no matter whether they are light or dark.
  • Add to visual interest by playing with the contrast of tonal depths. People will often try to match exact tones but try to avoid this as the end result can look very outdated.

Top tip! If you have too much wood in the same space, it can quickly become too much… particularly if you’re blessed with wooden floors! Combat this by breaking up the space with a rug and other furnishings. Throws and cushions will do much to add colour and texture to complement the wooden features.

Here is a selection of darker wooden vintage furniture which boast beautiful, richly dark patinas. Find the full collection below and let us know if you find anything inspiring!

The elegant frames of vintage chairs are the perfect way to add a note of dark wood into a decorative scheme without dominating the space.

These coffee tables have a glass centre which breaks up the darker wood without preventing it from serving the space as a focal point.

Add tonal variety with dark wooden accessories, such as these carved candle holders.

Balance a space filled with lighter tones by adding a signature piece of furniture which has darker tones, such as a storage unit.

These benches would look wonderful in an airy hallway or as additional seating elsewhere.

Find the perfect dose of dark wood for your home in this hand selected collection of vintage finds.

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