Why We Love Natural Wood

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Many homeowners have an affinity for wood, both inside and out.

Americans are crazy about the look of natural wood. Outdoors, we love wooden decks and fences. Indoors, we love hardwood floors and wooden cabinets, furniture, and moldings. Our desire to use natural elements in our décor says something about our affinity for nature.

Exteriors

Wooden decks are often the centerpieces of summer entertainment. A deck can be a showcase, finished with products that accentuate the wood’s natural beauty. Semi-transparent stains are popular for that very reason: They offer protection against the elements but don’t mask the appealing intricacies of the wood grain.

Color choices for exterior wood are more diverse than ever. Cedar, redwood, walnut, pine, and oak colors continue to be popular because they’re taken from the natural colors of wood itself. But gray—an emerging color trend in the paint market—is reasserting itself in exterior wood finishes as well. There’s also been an emergence of bolder color: reds, greens, deep blues. These more unusual colors work well as accents to more traditional colors on floorboards. One great color scheme for a deck, for instance, is a pine or oak brown on the deck floor and a sage or forest green on the railing system. White is another great choice for a deck railing system, providing a clean, eye-catching contrast to wood tones used on the floorboards.

Interior Wood

We have wood surfaces in practically every room of our homes. Consider furnishings—coffee, end, and foyer tables; nightstands; dinette sets; desks; bookcases. But our permanent home surfaces—flooring, molding, trim, cabinets, doors—likewise offer expanses of wood that we can finish to meet the latest decorating trends.

As in the case of deck stains, interior wood finishes run the gamut of color choices. The gray choices that are prominent in other product palettes this year are likewise popular in the interior wood market. Homeowners can stain their wood surfaces to fit any style they desire. (Among the most popular looks is “country chic,” an updated version of the previously popular country look.) Interior wood stain colors run the gamut. Black adds a sense of sophistication, while white (either bright and clean or done in a whitewashing/pickling technique) adds a light, airy feel to a room.

One factor that has greatly increased consumers’ desire to use interior wood products is the advent of water-based products. Instead of nasty smells and long drying times, consumers can use low-odor interior wood products and, thanks to waterborne and water-based technologies, complete their projects within a day. The desire to enhance the look of interior wood was previously at odds with the difficulty of using oil-based products. Today, though, consumers have the best of both worlds: a product that is more pleasant and easier to use that will allow them to burnish the beauty of wood.

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