There’s a reason why adjectives like “woody” and “earthy” have sneaked their way into the decor vernacular. I think it’s because natural elements (i.e., trees!) seem to be the common human equalizer. Who can’t appreciate the beauty of a quiet wooded glen, a sunset over treetops, a secluded evergreen forest, the shade of a whispering willow? The great outdoors is an enviable place to be.
Which is one reason, it would seem, that we often crave the ability to bring the outdoors, well, indoors. Another reason is because there’s no resource quite like wood to ground a space, to even it out with its natural unevenness, to optimize the pleasing yin and yang.
Note in the following photo: White is the primary color of the space (even the wood floor has been painted white), giving it a feeling of airiness and expanse. Yet wood is highlighted at all three major eye levels and in three different shapes (the showpiece rustic table, the chunky round mirror frame, and the ceiling beams) to keep the space from feeling like the inside of a refrigerator, what with all the angles and compartments.
In the space below, the use of wood mimics the order found in the natural world, moving in gradients from dark at earth-level to bright white at sky-level. (And a fabulous aqua-green door in between the two, beckoning like the water of the Caribbean…) The darkness of the wood carefully balances the lightness of the rest of the space; without both, this kitchen would either feel like a sunless dungeon or an uncomfortable mass of colorlessness.
The sparse white-on-white space (below) exudes quiet simplicity. The dark, worn wood floor amplifies the room’s sense of character and also helps immensely in defining it, both visually and stylistically.
The space below seems to be designed to integrate visitors directly into nature. With the ceiling-to-floor and wall-to-wall windows, paired with visually absent vapor chairs, our absolute focus is aimed toward the grounds beyond. The rustic beams of the ceiling, simple and aged wooden table, and wood floors all serve as a seamless transition to the great outdoors. Notice that the wood used is medium to dark, serving as a behind-the-scenes foundation of stability while encouraging nature-centered musings.
So much femininity is packed into the space below – from the flowered wallpaper to the delicate sconces to the thin “framing” of each layer – that it would literally float away without a grounding force. The heavy furniture-esque medium-toned wooden vanity offers a perfect balance to the form and color of the rest of this space.
When used judiciously and carefully, wood is, at worst, a practically perfect grounding force in any space…at best, it is a space’s absolute highlight and perfect punctuation mark.