October 20, 2021

Go with the grain: Designing with natural wood furniture

Looking for a place to lay back, relax, and break away from the day? Learn how natural wood furniture can help you zen your space.

Looking for a place to lay back, relax, and break away from the day? Learn how natural wood furniture can help you zen your space.

If you’ve read our piece on wood coffee tables, then you know we have a deep appreciation for natural wood grains. Like the swirls of a fingerprint or the stripes on a zebra’s coat, the pattern in every piece of wood is unique. And you can celebrate this organic beauty by adding natural wood furniture to your home. 

Natural wood furniture is like a creative collaboration between Mother Nature and a furniture maker. The beautiful patterns and textures of real wood grain can be assembled in a variety of ways — from a tabletop made from a single piece of wood to a dresser drawer made from wood planks arranged in an intricate chevron pattern. 

The results of this creative collaboration define the style of your natural wood furniture, and wood is an essential element of many interior design styles. The right real wood pieces can transform your home into a rustic farmhouse, ready for muddy boots and a shaggy dog, or they can help you build a meditative escape reminiscent of a gentle storm in an Indonesian rainforest.

Learn how to set a peaceful tone in your home with natural wood furniture. We’ll cover how the type of wood will affect your furniture. Then, we’ll share tips for using natural wood to create a soothing space, and show you some of our favorite natural wood furniture designs.

Types of natural wood used in furniture 

Natural wood furniture: wooden console table

The type of wood your furniture is made from will affect both the look and price of the piece. Asian hardwoods like teak, mango, Sheesham, and acacia typically cost less than North American hardwoods like oak, cherry, and walnut. Different types of wood also perform better under different circumstances. Here are some of the most popular wood varieties used in furniture design.

  • Teak: An Asian hardwood, teak is pest and moisture resistant, which makes it popular for outdoor furniture. Teak is also a great choice for high moisture environments like the bathroom or kitchen.
  • Mango: Another Asian hardwood, mango wood is lightweight yet durable and affordable. The mango tree grows quickly compared to other lumber-producing trees, making this a more sustainable option.
  • Sheesham: Also called Indian Rosewood, this beautiful Asian hardwood has a distinct wood grain with lighter and darker sections marbled throughout. It’s denser than mango wood, which makes it extremely strong. Sheesham wood furniture also weighs more than mango wood, which makes it harder to move. 
  • Acacia: Another Asian hardwood, acacia is as distinctly beautiful as Sheesham wood and is a similarly dense, heavy wood. It stands up to everyday wear and tear but is not as resistant to moisture and temperature changes as teak, so it’s not ideal for outdoor furniture
  • Oak: Long considered one of the best woods for furniture design, oak is extremely strong and durable. It typically comes from sustainably managed North American forests. But because oak trees take a long time to grow, this can be one of the more expensive woods. 
  • Cherry: Even more expensive than oak, cherry is another North American hardwood. It’s sought after for its beautiful, natural red tint, but the price can make it difficult for the average consumer to afford solid wood furniture made from cherry.
  • Reclaimed wood: Technically, reclaimed wood isn’t a type of wood — it can be made up of any wood variety that’s been reclaimed from another use. It’s often salvaged from old barns or factories, and it has a unique weathered appearance. Because no new trees need to be cut down, reclaimed wood is also highly sustainable.

If you decide you love the look of any of the woods on this list, but you find the price of solid wood furniture too expensive, you can get the look for less by buying furniture made with a natural wood veneer instead. 

Wood veneer furniture is made from a less expensive material, like MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or even a less expensive wood. (Yes, wood veneer furniture can still be solid wood!) Then it’s given a natural wood finish with a thin layer of real wood veneer. 

Designing a peaceful escape with natural wood furniture 

Natural wood furniture: white chair beside a wooden side table

Natural wood furniture is an integral part of many interior design styles — from Scandinavian to industrial style. Compared to other materials, like metal or concrete, wood can make a space feel warmer and more inviting. And because it brings nature into your home, it creates a zen, meditative escape — the kind of place where you can relax and recharge after a long day.

Make wood furniture the centerpiece of your peaceful home decor. Then, use these five decorating tips to complete the look: 

  1. Choose wood furniture with a dramatic wood grain. The two-tone grain in acacia and Sheesham wood serve as an ode to nature.
  2. Pair it with other natural materials. Furniture featuring rattan details or linen upholstery will add more organic textures to your home. Also, look for natural textiles like cotton throw pillows or bamboo window blinds. 
  3. Create a neutral color palette. Natural wood stands out against white walls, and a neutral palette is a form of visual minimalism — it doesn’t overwhelm your senses. Instead, it invites your eyes to relax.
  4. Layer neutral on neutral. Neutral doesn’t mean visually boring. You can add depth to your space by layering your neutrals. Picture a white wall with a cream-colored tapestry or a macrame wall hanging. 
  5. Add texture. When you want to create visual interest without overwhelming a space, texture is your friend. Look for contrasting textures, like a linen sectional topped with a sheepskin throw, or a polished stone countertop adorned with a driftwood sculpture. 

5 natural wood furniture designs to bring it all home 

Now that you’ve had time to meditate on your interior design, take a look at these natural wood pieces to find the best one to complete your space. 

1. Wooden Square Coffee Table in Natural Sheesham

​​Natural wood furniture: Wooden Square Coffee Table Natural Sheesham

This rustic wood coffee table features the beautiful sweeping wood grain and two-tone coloring of Sheesham wood. Its square silhouette is simple, modern, and clean, but never boring. It’s the perfect centerpiece for an organic modern living room

2. Barrett Marble Top Dining Table in White and Natural 

Natural wood furniture: Barrett Marble Top Dining Table White and Natural

With a genuine marble top and solid acacia wood base, this stone and wood dining table will add contrasting natural textures to your dining room. For more contrast, pair it with metal and wood dining chairs or a solid wood Sheesham dining bench

3. Winslow Bedroom Set in Smokey Walnut 

Winslow Bedroom Set Smokey Walnut

This stunning bedroom furniture set celebrates nature with full-tree slab veneers that show the natural color variation of the beautiful hardwood. The headboard, the drawers of the wood dresser and nightstand, and the full-length mirror feature live edge wood for an organic silhouette. It’s available as a set with a bed frame, six-drawer dresser, four-drawer chest, two-drawer nightstand, and full-length mirror.

4. Sorrel 3-Door Server in Natural Mango 

Sorrel 3-door Server Natural Mango

With hand-stencil carvings on the doors, this solid mango wood sideboard adds intricate, soothing beauty to any room. It makes a statement in the dining room, but it’s also a beautiful addition to your living room furniture and can add storage to any small space

5. Rectangular Storage Console Table in Natural 

Rectangular Storage Console Table Natural

With a raised checkered pattern on the drawers, this solid mango wood console table adds depth to your interior design. Style it in your entryway with some DIY shelving or hooks. Then, hang your favorite leather handbag or cotton tote. 

Natural beauty 

White living room with wooden tables

Wood furniture can help you design a peaceful, nature-inspired space. And with so many varieties of wood, you can make a statement with sweeping wood grains, intricately carved patterns, or a live edge. 

But remember, every wood is different, and the type of wood your furniture is made of will affect its look and feel. Make sure you’re creating the space you want by shopping at a local furniture store where you can pull out the drawers on that Sheesham wood side table, open the cabinet doors on that TV stand, and run your hand over the wood grain on that beautiful bookcase

When you shop in person, you’ll know you’re committing to a life with the furniture you love — and that’s one more thing to feel zen about.

Wooden Square Coffee Table Natural Sheesham Wooden Square Coffee Table Natural Sheesham - Hover

Wooden Square Coffee Table Natural Sheesham

Winslow   Bedroom Set Smokey Walnut

Winslow Bedroom Set Smokey Walnut

Winslow Collection

Sorrel 3-door Server Natural Mango Sorrel 3-door Server Natural Mango - Hover
CoasterEssence

Sorrel 3-door Server Natural Mango

Where To Buy

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