A Guide To Paint Colors That Go Well With Wood

Picking out your favorite wall color is easy. Finding the best colors to compliment wood detailing within your home is a bit trickier – luckily for you, we've put together this guide covering the most aesthetic color combinations for a variety of different wood tones.

Whether you're deciding on a wall paint color or thinking about how many houseplants and throw pillows you can get away with buying in 2024, you're going to want to know about the easiest color pairings for your home.

What different wood colors and shades exist?

Natural wood species come in a variety of different colors and shades, and can be categorized under a few simple names: light woods, medium woods, and dark woods. These categories cover a wide range of wood trim types, so let’s briefly go over some of the more common varieties you may stumble upon – keep in mind, some types of wood could appear in multiple categories depending on the specific variety.

Each species of wood may also have a unique grain, a kind of pattern that traces intricate patterns within the material. Going a bit further, wood finishes and wood stains can be used which change the natural colors already present – we won’t be covering any specific wood stain in depth, but it’s good to be aware of them.

Light woods

These are a few of the lightest shades of wood trim you’ll come across, and usually appear as a light tan or yellow color.

  • Maple, most often found in nearly white or cream colored varieties

  • Pine, a warm wood featuring a light orange, reddish brown color

  • Spruce, a simple light brown or tan hue in most cases

  • Bamboo, a fun and light eco-friendly wood made from a species of grass

Medium woods

Falling between light and dark wood trim, most medium or natural shaded wood species range wildly, making this category harder to define, such as:

  • Oak, which can be found in white, red, and other varieties

  • Cherry, commonly found in shades of reddish brown

  • Beech, usually a light brown or slight reddish hue

Dark woods

The darkest shades of wood trim are some of the most coveted, as many of these species can be particularly rare or expensive, here are a few common ones:

  • Walnut, a beautiful and sturdy wood that comes in various shades of brown and red

  • Mahogany, an expensive tropical wood with rich red hues

  • Purpleheart, which is bright purple when freshly cut, as the name implies

What are the best wood and paint color combinations?

Combining natural wood trim with paint colors, fabric, and other furnishings is one of the best ways to bring a room together. Every type of wood can be paired with complementary or contrasting colors; after all, wood is no different from any other material – which means you can use a bit of basic color theory if you want!

Basics of wood and paint color theory

Complimentary colors are combinations of colors that tend to be both bold and harmonious: red and green, blue and orange, or purple and yellow are a few examples. Wood, of course, doesn’t really have a place on the classic color wheel – but we can still use this idea to come up with a few basic combinations.

The main idea behind combining colors with wood is high contrast. Wood is an exceptionally beautiful material, so most of the time you want to draw attention to it, instead of your couch or wall color. Through contrast – for example, dark shades of wood trim combined with a light green wall – the natural beauty of wood details within your home becomes the focal point for wandering eyes.

But that doesn’t mean your creativity needs to be limited by what others tell you. We’ll be going over some of the best combinations, but don’t feel like you can’t do your own thing if you have an interesting idea.

What colors go with different shades of wood?

Finding the best paint colors that go with light, medium and natural, or dark shades of wood can be challenging. Color combinations are also open to interpretation, and none of these rules are set in stone. Below you’ll find some of our top recommendations for paint pairings – however, these combos also work with fabric, furniture, and whatever else may be laying about your home, not just paint.

A chart showing the best paint and wood color combinations.

Creams and off-whites

Bleach white walls aren't the best option to pair with natural wood, but off-whites, creams, and other unique shades of white are classic choices with hardwood floors and other wood trim. Darker woods like walnut or rich medium woods like oak are some of the best to pair with creamy white trim, especially if you’re looking for a simple, minimalist aesthetic for a room.

Honey, tan, and beiges

Even though many shades of tan and beige closely resemble the color of wood, it’s a great choice if you’re working with light wood tones such as pine or spruce with yellow undertones. These hues also work with dark wood tones as well, making tan and beige paint colors very versatile when it comes to wall colors.

Greens of all shades

Another versatile paint color, green comes in a huge variety of shades and hues. Olive greens work particularly well with wood floors and furniture, especially when it comes to wood with medium or deeper tones like oak, cherry, and walnut. If you’re addicted to houseplants, todays your lucky day, as most plants that thrive indoors feature rich green hues that pair elegantly with wooden details.

Sky blue, aqua, and turquoise

A bolder color choice, aqua is a cool paint color complimented best by medium wood tones like cherry or red oak. If you have an adventurous spirit and you’re looking for a fresh, cozy vibe to pair with some wood furniture or flooring – turquoise or aqua may be the wall color you’ve been waiting for.

Muted grays and greige

Lighter shades of gray or greige can pair quite well with lighter woods such as maple, especially if the hue of the wood has faded to an off-white or weather-worn yellow color. Paint isn’t necessarily the only option, as light gray stone fixtures – such as a fireplace – can also serve as a source of soft gray color against pine wood detailing.

Airy blues

Unlike light gray, if you’re going for light blue paint, you may want to pair it with a dark walnut or similar wood tone. While it can work with lighter woods, cool colors like blues that aren’t rich or saturated look incredible if contrasted with a dark, earthy shade of wood in your living room.

Pinks, reds, and oranges

You may think that a bold color like orange or red would look strange when paired with wood, but they can still work if executed well, and will definitely bring a bit of warmth into an otherwise cool room. The key is to pair wood featuring dark colors with lighter, muted shades of reds and oranges – resulting in a unique, rustic aesthetic with warm tones.

Dark blues and muted blacks

Less common, but if you happen to love dark blue or black paints, you’re going to want to pair them with medium woods such as oak or cherry. Darker colors like these attract attention – by pairing them with lighter, honey-hued wood, you’ll be creating a pleasing contrast.

Picking the perfect wood gaming table wood for your home

When it comes to our gaming tables and display shelves, there's a ton of customization at your fingertips.

  • The Dresden, our multipurpose gaming and dining room table combination, can be customized with whatever tone of wood you’re looking for.

Dark walnut can be combined with forest green fabric, medium-toned cherry and oak match with our light blue dove fabric, and light maple pairs well with our sharp gray dove velveteen. You can mix and match tons of other options, resulting in a fully customized piece of multipurpose furniture.

  • The Eolian, our 100% bamboo hardwood display shelf, is the perfect match for fans of the Dresden.

Featuring a variety of different size cubbies, the Eolian was designed by gamers for gamers, with plenty of space to store your favorite collectibles, houseplants, and other odds and ends. As a lighter shade of wood, bamboo pairs well with creams and off-white wall colors.

If you aren’t familiar with the Dresden or Eolian, you should take a look at our board game table guide, as well as the basics of arranging furniture in a living room if you're looking to maximize space.

Can you combine different wood tones together?

Choosing the color of your walls or the fabric of your couch is one thing, but what about pairing different types of wood together within the same room? Your first reaction may be to match all the wood within your home, but that’s honestly just not necessary.

In fact, a mismatched and eclectic collection of furniture tends to be much more aesthetic and comfortable than a sanitized, perfectly manicured setup. If you’ve been keeping up with interior design trends, you may be aware that some of the most popular furniture trends of 2024 are focused around vintage and second-hand influences, as well as more botanical and unique pieces.

If you’re anything like us, you love to mix and match these unique and interesting finds – and that’s totally fine. It’s nearly impossible to find wood tones that match when shopping for interesting odds and ends; wood ages over time and may be coated with various finishes either way. You’ll likely end up with a variety of wood tones and shades throughout your hunt for furniture to fill your home, and mixing and matching these hues usually leads to a more inviting environment anyways.

Can everyone's home have a unique wood color palette?

The key to finding a pleasing color palette for your home is pairing whatever wood furniture, flooring, cabinets, and other detailing you have with the colors mentioned above. Before you decide on paint colors or a new rug and couch, you’re going to want to walk around your living space and take note of whatever wood is already present.

For example, let’s say you have a dark walnut dining room table with matching chairs passed down through your family – or maybe your floor itself is aged oak, a darker hue, well-worn from decades of comfortable living. These warmer woods would pair well with olive green, light blue, creamy whites, or even rusty reds depending on your preference.

If you have a medium tone oak floor and freshly-made cabinets, you may want to consider different options. For honey-colored medium wood tones, pairing them with aqua and turquoise or even a midnight blue or muted black could work quite well. Greens work too, as one of the most versatile colors – both olives and darker shades pair well with medium tone wood.

Perhaps your kitchen table is designed with softer tones of wood like pine. In this case, maybe you could consider a simpler aesthetic, with light gray or greige wall paint or even tan detailing contrasted with richly-colored rugs and furniture.

How should you approach decorating around wood?

Pairing wooden furniture or floors with paint is relatively simple, once you decide on a color scheme. The more difficult part, of course, is mixing and matching all your pillows, rugs, houseplants, and other decorations throughout your home. While color theory does always play a part – honestly, this is where your creativity should take hold.

As long as the backbone of your home (or even your Airbnb) including your overall paint, wood, and furniture layout, the decorating is entirely up to you. As we dig into 2024, the most popular interior design trends are leaning towards more unique, eclectic, and varied styles.

If you’re someone with lots of knick-knacks, plants, fabrics, and other decorations full of pops of color, you’re in luck. Not only are maximalist aesthetics currently trendy, they also allow you to flex your creative skills. So feel free to go crazy with your accent pieces, and take some time to move them about your house to see what feels best.

Final thoughts

Deciding on a color palette for your home can be tough, especially if you have lots of natural wood adorning your floors or walls. While you may feel stressed while deciding, just remember that decorating is supposed to be fun – so relax, and try to have enjoy what you've learned in this color combination guide.