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To Paint or Not to Paint? (The Beauty of Au Natural Wood)

At some point, many of us are bitten by the painting bug, where everything we see and touch must become something – anything – different than what it is now. Painted items definitely have their place in décor, infusing a space color and style and personality. The problem, however, lies in the fact that sometimes we don’t know when to put the paintbrush down and appreciate the beautiful grain and tones and knottiness of real wood.Here are some examples of spaces that benefit because their owners left the wood alone:

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This space is totally and completely defined by wood and natural elements. From the floor to the cabinetry to the stools, chairs, table, and mouldings…there is magnificent wood everywhere! The effect is rich and warm and textural and earthy. If any of these elements were to be painted an actual color, it would cause the entire space to become lesser.

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Un-painted wood here is vital in providing the organic juxtaposition with metallic wallpaper and sheer taffeta-esque window treatments. The drapes and wallpaper are large, visually encompassing elements that are grand and quite formal; by keeping the greyish wood furniture natural here, the room balances down to a comfortable and cozy space. This is such a lovely and inviting space.

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If you’re looking to go with an authentic mid-century modern vibe to your space, unpainted wood is an absolute must. The warm wood tones here highlight the simple (yet fabulous) lines of the pieces, and there is an understated basic, simple, and aesthetic aura. This space is utterly minimalist but still feels warm and comfortable…an atmosphere that natural wood excels at producing.

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When most of a space is comprised of whites and/or super-pale hues, having at least one unpainted wood piece makes a huge difference in being able to take the space seriously. This room, for example, would seem echoey, sterile, and a little float-away-ish if not for the grounding, stabilizing force of this shelving unit and the wood-framed wall mirror. Despite their being darker toned than the other elements in this bathroom, these wood pieces provide us peace of mind, somehow, and allow us to appreciate the rest of the space.

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Of course, when the wood piece is on the shabbier side and has little to offer by way of beautiful wood grains, painting is a fantastic option. Rather than bemoaning the fact that we have no beautiful wooden heirloom to add warmth and sophistication, we can instead capitalize on the fact that, with a splash of color and perhaps a little distressing, an old nondescript wooden piece can become an aesthetic component full of personality, history, and stories to tell.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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Posted in How To, Tips, and Advice on December 18, 2012

About the author

Brittney Smart
Brittney is a wife, a mom of four young children, a writer and editor (B.S. degree in English/Technical Writing), and a lover of interior design. She thrives on finding inexpensive ways to DIY her own home into a stylish yet family-friendly space.

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