Decorating with Raw Wood

The raw wood trend is hot, first and foremost, because of the range this natural material embodies: Looks like driftwood and barnwood, along with reclaimed and upcycled pieces, are included in this creative style. And finishes run the gamut too: from hand-scraped and distressed to whitewashed and unstained. Today, the material often labeled as rustic is being used in a number of modern ways, opening the scope of possibilities to nearly limitless capacity.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Reclaimed and Renewed

    Reclaimed wood is seeing a major resurgence in the design world. The environmentally friendly notion of recycling this well-loved material is the first bonus, but the beautiful, often mottled finish is another game changer. Here, a reclaimed wood beam is brought back to life as a stylish fireplace mantel. By echoing the rough texture of the room's flooring and side tables, the wood succeeds in making a rustic-chic statement.

  • Drift On By

    Take the wood-framed mirror one step further by utilizing an unfinished version of the material. Notched driftwood turns your standard looking glass into a sculptural piece of art. Juxtapose this type of wall detail with contemporary furnishings to keep the vibe fresh and modern.

  • Rustic and Refined Display

    One rule of thumb to keep in mind when decorating with raw wood is to balance the rough, worn finish with elements and furniture that offer a sleek silhouette. Here, clean-lined artwork and seating complements a traditional wooden display cabinet. By featuring additional natural elements into the room, such as the woven tray, the space feels balanced and livable.

  • Softly Spoken

    Wood succeeds in adding casual character to an otherwise ultramodern space. The effect of its imperfections and unique grain tempers and tames modernism in a classic, casual way. For example, try adding wooden trim to sleek glass lighting in order to establish an approachable tone.

  • Onward and Upward

    When working with a largely neutral color palette, wood textures often have the ability to tie the entire space together. By adding planks to the ceiling in a similar shade as the flooring, attention is attracted upwards and around. The cyclical visual effect, when coupled with the earthy gray and mocha tones of the stone and wood finishes, is what makes this dining room so successful.

  • Creating a Wood-Tone Palette

    Wood finishes don't have to read as just the token neutral. Treat the natural finish as you would any other type of colored detail. Here, a ceiling features wood beams with gray undertones, which are mirrored in the cool colors of the finish of the island and the countertops.

  • Take a Slice

    Wood planks aren't the only type of raw wood to have a starring role in today's design trends. Round tree slices are the latest style to take the limelight, and can be used -- as with this case -- as a beautiful mirror frame. Tie the look together by mimicking the same cool brown tones throughout the rest of the room.

  • Sit a Spell

    A kitchen is the type of utilitarian space that tends to have the most trouble finding its softer side. Between square counters and cabinets and bulky appliances, the key to achieving a cozy vibe is in the accessories. Raw wood details, such as barstool seating and butcher block accents, do the trick. The variety in grain and color offers a welcome reprieve for a room filled with cool surfaces.

  • Into the Woods

    Matching dining sets are taking a back seat to groupings of collected styles and finishes. In this dining room, a Belgian-oak dining table is surrounded by a linen banquette and wicker chairs in a weathered finish. Wide-plank engineered oak flooring has a gray-brown finish and hand-scraped look. The mix of wood finishes suit each other, thanks to the interplay of earth tones and thoughtful pattern mixing.

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    Whitewashed Finish

    The term "raw" doesn't necessarily negate painted wood. In fact, some of the finest examples of this trend are seen through a layer of antiqued paint. If your wooden chair has seen a little too much out of life, cover the imperfections with a light whitewashed finish. The character of the original structure will still proudly shine through.

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    Rescued Coffee Table

    Another notable perk of the raw wood trend is the fact that this material is prime for upcycling, thanks to its use as crates, pallets, and boxes. Save these treasures from the trash, and find ways to celebrate the variety in texture and grain coloration. In this cozy family room, a set of old wooden crates is topped with glass and given a fresh start as a coffee table.

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    Hunt for Reclaimed Treasures

    Scraped and aged woods are some of the best representations of this type of raw-recycled trend. Scour your local thrift and antiques stores for wooden furniture that intentionally shows a bit of age -- the mottled patina caused by wear is nostalgic and intrinsically beautiful.

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    Warming Up Minimalism

    Minimalist, contemporary style often is described as feeling cold and impersonal. By injecting these sparse rooms with a dose of natural texture from rough-hewn wood, the tone immediately shifts and feels more comfortable. Large windows in this home allow the spacial relationship between the indoors and outdoors to widen even further, an effect that is accentuated by the wooden mantel display.

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    In the Mix

    One of the wonderful aspects of wood is that it makes mixing pieces a breeze. Because the general characteristics of the material -- things like visible grain and solid tactile finish -- unite wooden pieces, you can pair up any manner of styles and still achieve a cohesion. Here, a trumeau mirror with a wooden frame pairs nicely with the chest below, since they are cast from the same material and sport a similar aged finish. 

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    Up The Ante

    If you think your contemporary space can't handle a dose of raw wood texture, think again. The real strength of wood lies in its ability to complement sleek upholstery and polished finishes. Instead of adding rustic vibes to a room that wants to remain refined and modern, scraped-and-uneven wood accents become like works of art

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    Collective Classic

    Raw wood plays well with other unfettered decorative finishes. Things such as raw metal and blown glass also embody celebrated imperfections characteristic of raw wood. Combining the different materials results in a beautifully collected space with tons of character. Balance the look of the raw accents with crisp-white walls and a single accent color.

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    Design Based On Variety

    Lose your instinct to pair matching sets with one another. The sleek, slender legs of a wooden chair easily match the broader weight of a more formal, weathered-oak dining room table thanks to the similar earth tones. Even incorporating a china cabinet with a thick base works because the wood grains sync.

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    Customized Look

    Honed, aged wood has the uncanny ability of refreshing a space with custom details. Because of the distressed texture, no two pieces will be the same, so each piece becomes a sculptural, unique element

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    The Element of Durability

    Durability is another perk of using raw wood in home design. It's a solid surface, and the look is enhanced -- not marred -- by the occassional scratch or ding, making it the perfect fit for a high-traffic dining room. To balance the hard surface, be sure to incorporate soft accents such as upholstered seating or pillows, rounded decorative vessels, and full-length window treatments.

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    Established Details

    The tone of raw texture is something that isn't easy to replicate. There's something undeniably casual and warm about this reclaimed material, making it an easy focal point when incorporated into a space. Place the detail throughout a room for even more impact, like this room's fireplace mantel and farmhouse-style hardwood flooring. All of these thoughtful details set the mood and establish an approachable elegance.

  • Next Slideshow Stylish Solutions for Awkward Spaces

    Stylish Solutions for Awkward Spaces

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