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PAINT + WOOD: Our Tips for Using Paint to Bring Out the Best in Natural Wood

We often talk about the wonders that paint can have in your home or office. We stand by it! But sometimes the trick to painting is limiting yourself. Paint can enhance the natural wooden elements in your home. Here are our tips for how to strike the perfect balance in your home or office.

Our first tip: natural wood has a rich depth of color with many different shades — balance that with a neutral color.

This complexity cannot be matched by paint or wallpaper! Lighter wood can look dated and retro (and not in the good way) if it is not balanced by modern elements. Cool neutrals, like gray and white, balance the complexity of natural wood. This balance works  well when the wood, like in this example from Alvhem, is beautifully detailed. This parquet floor pattern is simultaneously modernized with elements like dark marble and bright neutral paint.

We see this tip utilized in another example from Homepolish. The room uses a similarly-light wooden floor but balances the warmth of the floor with a neutral wall color and brass accents on the lamp and end tables. The modern art panels on the walls further modernized the room, striking a balance between retro and cutting-edge without teetering into the extreme of either end.

Our second tip is to use the natural wood to accentuate the architectural accents of your home.

By strategically leaving wooden support beams un-painted, you have the opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of the contours of your home. This example from interior designer Palomas Contreras makes the ceiling an aspect of beauty in this living room.

In another example from the wonderful Chip and Joanna Gaines, the entire ceiling is raw, natural wood. The ceiling makes the home feel connected from one room to the other and showcases the amazing craftsmanship that went into making this house a home.

And here is a third example from interior designer Natasha Baradaran. This shows both the warmth and stunning architectural lines created with a natural wood ceiling. The ceiling is set apart from the painted walls but tied into the rest of the room with the natural wood window and door frames.

Our final tip is to use natural wood as an eye-engaging detail.

Accents like wooden doors show a real attention to detail. This also creates a balanced feeling in a home. These wooden doors from Michael Abrams make the room feel sophisticated yet home-y. This works because the wood is dark while the paint and color palette on the walls and in the fabrics sticks to a blue-neutral spectrum, striking an engaging balance for the eye.

True, natural wood, with all its variations and color-spectrum is a huge asset in a home. It is important to know how to balance it with paint because there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. Light paint colors and strategically painted architectural features of your home go a long way toward showcasing the natural beauty of your home’s shape and the inherent beauty of natural wood.