8 Wood Types and Tones You Should Know

Wood has an enduring charm in home decor and interior design. Its appeal stems from its endless versatility, adaptability to countless styles, and the ability to be crafted, painted, and even sanded down and reimagined to suit any aesthetic. Whether you’re drawn to the warm honey tones of oak, the rich elegance of walnut, the classic beauty of mahogany, or the outdoor durability of teak, wood offers a spectrum of possibilities. 


Let’s walk through the captivating realm of popular wood types, their unique tones, and valuable tips on how to style them to perfection. Whether you’re a fan of rustic oak or the modern allure of walnut, this blog can help you discover the art of infusing wood’s natural beauty into your living spaces. 


Exploring Popular Wood Types


Popular wood types in interior design and furniture are selected based on their unique qualities, allowing each to enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of different design styles and the space it occupies. 


Whether it’s the rugged charm of oak, the sleek modernity of walnut, the regal presence of mahogany, the durability of teak, or the classic elegance of cherry, these eight popular wood types have earned their place in the world of interior design for their ability to transform spaces into inviting and harmonious environments.


1. Oak


Oak is a favorite for rustic and traditional styles due to its durability and warm, honey-toned appearance. Its prominent grain patterns add character and charm to many timeless designs.


Characteristics: Durable with distinctive grain patterns

Tone: Warm, honey-toned hues

Typical Styles: Famously used in rustic and traditional designs. Its classic appeal lends itself well to country, farmhouse, and cottage aesthetics.

Styling Tip: Pair oak furniture with earthy colors, floral patterns, and cozy textures to create a welcoming and rustic ambiance. It’s an excellent choice for shabby chic and vintage-inspired interiors. 


2. Walnut


Walnut’s dark, sleek appearance makes it a natural fit for modern and contemporary interiors. Its fine grain and rich color lend a sense of sophistication and simplicity to various design styles.


Characteristics: Rich, dark brown color with a sleek, fine grain

Tone: Contemporary and modern

Typical Styles: A favorite in mid-century modern and contemporary designs due to its clean lines and sophisticated appearance.

Styling Tip: Combine walnut furniture with minimalist decor, neutral colors, and pops of bold, contrasting accents to help create a harmonious, sleek, and elegant atmosphere.


3. Mahogany


Mahogany’s reddish-brown hue and fine-grain patterns evoke a sense of luxury and elegance. It is commonly a preferred choice for classic and traditional settings, where its regal presence shines.


Characteristics: Reddish-brown hue with delicate grain patterns

Tone: Luxury and sophistication

Typical Styles: Often associated with classic and elegant furniture designs, making it a perfect fit for traditional and colonial interiors.

Styling Tip: Pair mahogany furniture with rich, deep colors like burgundy, navy, or forest green. Incorporate ornate details and antique-style decor for a timeless and regal look.


4. Teak


Teak’s golden-brown color and natural resistance to moisture make it ideal for outdoor furniture. It is selected for its durability and ability to withstand the elements, making it one of the most practical and beautiful exotic wood types for outdoor spaces.


Characteristics: Golden-brown color and natural oils, making it weather-resistant

Tone: Imparts a warm and inviting feel

Typical Styles: Commonly used for outdoor furniture, it’s ideal for patio sets, garden benches, and beachy or coastal decor.

Styling Tip: Embrace teak’s natural beauty by letting it weather gracefully outdoors. Combine it with nautical elements, white and blue accents, and plenty of greenery to create a relaxed coastal retreat.


5. Cherry


Cherry wood’s warm reddish-brown tones and fine, even grain lend themselves perfectly to creating a sense of classic elegance. It is a preferred material for traditional and formal furniture, where it exudes elegant sophistication.


Characteristics: Warm, reddish-brown tones and a fine, even grain

Tone: Provides a sense of classic elegance

Typical Styles: A go-to choice for traditional and formal settings, making it ideal for bedroom sets, dining rooms, and more.

Styling Tip: Pair cherry furniture with soft, neutral wall colors and traditional patterns like damask or floral. Brass and antique brass accents combine well to help provide a refined, classic look.


6. Cedar


Cedar brings a touch of elegance to various interior and exterior design applications. Its enchanting natural aroma is often described as earthy and aromatic. This aroma not only adds to its appeal but also acts as a natural insect repellent, making it ideal for outdoor use and closet linings.


Characteristics: warm, reddish-brown to light amber hue

Tone: Inviting and rustic appearance. Warm and attractive tones enhance as the wood ages

Typical Styles: A popular choice for outdoor furniture due to its durability and natural weather resistance. Its aromatic properties make it ideal for closet linings, acting as a natural insect repellent.

Styling Tip: Cedar’s warm tones work well with earthy color palettes for a harmonious look.

Incorporate cedar furniture in rustic, cabin, or coastal-themed interiors for added charm, and use cedar in outdoor spaces to create a natural and inviting atmosphere.


7. Pine


pine wood is a versatile and budget-friendly choice that brings warmth and character to a wide range of design projects. Its light color, ease of use, and adaptability to different design styles make it a favored option for those seeking a charming and approachable aesthetic. Whether you’re furnishing a rustic cabin or creating a cozy living room, pine offers endless possibilities for crafting inviting and timeless spaces.


Characteristics: Relatively lightweight and easy to work with, with a straight, uniform grain pattern and a light

Tone: Light, pale yellow to light brown color with a naturally light and neutral tone

Typical Styles: Used to create various types of furniture, including dining tables, bookshelves, cabinetry, and interior paneling.

Styling Tip: Pine’s light and neutral color works well with various decor styles, including rustic, farmhouse, coastal, and Scandinavian. Highlight its grain patterns with clear finishes or light stains. Pair pine furniture with soft, pastel colors and natural textures for a cozy atmosphere.


8. Birch


Birch wood is a versatile and elegant choice that brings modern simplicity to a wide range of design projects. Its clean and neutral appearance, coupled with its stability and fine grain, makes it a preferred option for those seeking a light and sophisticated aesthetic.


Characteristics: Fine and uniform grain pattern, consistently smooth texture, and is resistant to warping

Tone: Pale, creamy-white to light brown color

Typical Styles: Often used to craft modern and contemporary furniture pieces, cabinetry, plywood, and veneers.

Styling Tip: Birch’s pale color and fine grain work well with contemporary and modern interior design styles. Utilize birch furniture as a focal point in minimalist interiors for a sleek look, and try experimenting with bold and contrasting colors when incorporating birch into your decor.


Selecting the Right Type of Wood


Choosing the right type of wood furniture piece for a space involves a balance of aesthetics, functionality, and compatibility with the room’s overall design. 


Start by assessing the room’s style and color scheme. For traditional or rustic spaces, warm-toned woods like oak or cherry can add a timeless elegance. In modern or minimalist settings, sleek options such as walnut or birch may be more suitable. 


Consider the furniture’s purpose and size, ensuring it fits comfortably within the available space without overwhelming it. Also, evaluate the room’s lighting and ambiance, as different wood tones can significantly impact how a piece appears under various lighting conditions. 


Ultimately, selecting wood furniture that complements the room’s style, color palette, and intended use can help create a harmonious and inviting living environment. And don’t forget – mixing wood tones is okay, but it’s important to pick a main tone that’ll dominate the space, and let the rest serve as complements!


Where to Find the Right Wood Furniture for Your Space


From farmhouse to mid-century modern, boho to Japandi, you can always find wood pieces in interior design. Knowing how to identify different types of wood types and their uses, and knowing how to style different tones, can improve your decor knowledge and help you along the journey of personalizing your home. The great part of wood furniture, though, is that it can bring a timeless beauty to your home that will last through any trend and flex to the other decor you utilize.

Take advantage of the stunning timelessness of wood and build the furniture rental package that fits your style with CORT. CORT furniture is made to last and bring a classic look to your home, no matter what the current trend is. After you build your package or pick one of our pre-built ones, set a delivery date and the CORT team will deliver and assemble your new furniture. When you’re ready to move out or move on, simply schedule a pickup time and we’ll take it away. Get started in-store or online today.

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