How to Pair Furniture with Flooring

Aug 03, 2018  By Thomasville

If you want a home that’s warm, inviting, and effortless, a houseful of matching furniture doesn’t get the job done. A collected-over-time look feels more natural, but there’s a fine line between “natural” and “hodgepodge.” With your floors being the largest design element in the home, they’re the starting point in any home redesign. Use these tips to get a cohesive result from the ground up.

Let undertones drive you:

Be less concerned about how light or dark your floors are than about the undertones. You can treat pure brown wood floors—without an overtly red or yellow tone—as a neutral, but for everything else tie your furniture and floor together by keeping them in the same warm or cool undertone family. This tip holds true for any flooring—wood, tile, carpet, concrete—whether you’re doing something new with your home redesign or working with your existing floor.

Go with the grain:

Wood furnishings don’t have to match a wood floor or each other, but you need to be conscious of how they relate to each other so you can make deliberate choices about contrast or harmony. If your floor is wood or a wood-look product, pay attention to the grain. An open grain with larger pores and/or knots is going to have a rustic, casual feel. Finer grains that are subtle and smooth will look more formal. Let the floor you choose for your home redesign declare the foundation style, and then introduce contrast consciously. Weave in other materials—metal, glass, stone, textured fabric—for an inviting, layered look.

Buffer with a rug:

There’s no right way to put substantial wood furniture directly on a wood floor. If the woods are too close, the two elements blend together and disappear, or worse, suggest that you want it to look as if the furniture is growing out of the floor. Too different and the room looks like a hodgepodge. Rugs serve as buffers between a wood floor and wood furniture. They can also tie tile to the tones and colors of your furniture. Use these tips to choose the right size rug for every room in your home redesign.

Avoid heavy wood finishes:

You can introduce a lot of interest to your rooms with mixed materials, but wood, in particular, is the party guest no one can really get to know if it’s wearing too much makeup. Avoid wood finishes that are so heavy they mask the wood itself. Wood furniture can relate better to the floor—wood or otherwise—and other pieces when it’s allowed to be itself. Woods mix fine in nature, so let the natural grain and color show through.

Repeat yourself:

Your floors—new or not—are the foundation of your home redesign. And particularly in open floor plans they unify your space, giving you a single element to tie the whole design together. So embrace them. Acknowledge the floor as one element and limit the number of new materials you introduce. Then repeat, repeat, repeat, distributing repeated colors, textures, tones, and materials around the space to create visual rhythm and a cohesive, interconnected whole.

When your floors and furnishings work together, your home redesign will be successful from top to bottom.

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