Medium-dark Woods in Interiors

February 9, 2011 § 2 Comments

Inspired by the aesthetics of the last post, I just wanted to comment on using these darker walnut-y tones in furniture design.

Obviously, too much of something is never a good thing but I say this with a hesitation because too many little things is also bad. The above pictures aren’t actually my ideal. I don’t look at those and think they’re perfect because they do what I hate about most home designs today: decorative things put there to prove that they’re decorative and stylish.

Perhaps it’s my minimalism peeking through, but I dislike the sort of IKEA mentality that you should buy things with the specific intention of putting them on your shelves to be things that sit on your shelves. But to prove that they too are minimalist, the items have virtually no personality and mean nothing to the person living in the house.

To summarize: I personally (and of course do whatever you like) feel that if you have something on display on your shelf it should have some history, tie or connection to you. Perhaps it’s just an object you like and you don’t know why, that’s fine. But don’t put things with the intention of impressing people with the things you put on your shelf, that’s dishonest design. Good design is honest.

So, I’m not a huge fan of the above pictures in that you’ll notice the shelves have things on them that are perhaps complementary to the colour scheme or nondescript to give it “minimalistic” style (which is incredibly ironic) but they’re useless to the person. That office should have drawings or architectural models that the person has designed or something unique to that person. Something they’re proud of.

I should clarify at this point what I define as useless. It might seem that I’m against, say, wall art. It might perhaps appear that I am incredibly spartan in my minimalism, only allowing products that are useful to living. This isn’t true. Art is valuable to the mind, as long as it means something to you, or makes you feel a certain way. Paintings are a great, cheap way to make you happier. Fact. But don’t put up a painting simply because you want other people to like it. That is, again, dishonest design.


Back to the walnuts.

I like them, personally. They give a rich, deep feel to a room, a dark anchor to ground a room which should be relatively light to offset it. I have mixed feelings about mixing woods because something they work well and sometimes they definitely do not. That’s tricky. But typically you have one of each sort of element present in a style: some hard concrete or slate or something, a shiny object like glass or ceramics, a soft element like area rugs or striking carpet and a duller wood. Of course, these things mix and match. Shiny woods with a duller metal works because you aren’t representing too much shine or dullness.

The problem with the new “minimal modernist” interiors is that the designer, for whatever reason, assumes minimalism = entirely hard surfaces. These designs come across as very sterile, unfriendly places.

Please don't do this.

So! Represent a mix of all the elements. They don’t all have to be equal, but they all have to balance.

Via Some generic interior design inspiration site.


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§ 2 Responses to Medium-dark Woods in Interiors

  • Karl says:

    Probably the biggest problem with this kind of interior is that it’s a showcase, so it’s never “lived in”. I mean if that was my house, there’d be a lot of paper lying around, for one. and a bin brimming with rubbish


    I love the rugs, though. The furniture as well, it’s shape and texture makes it so much better than your average museum room like that last image.

  • Brennan says:

    True that, my living room is filled with papers in a circle around where I usually sit on the floor.

    Other than that I live pretty minimally. My desk has my monitors and a clock, occasionally the iPad will sit on the edge but more often than not it’s in my backpack ready for school.

    I was never one for frames with pictures or anything laying around. I bought a few big canvas with intention to paint some Mirror’s Edge style stuff, but they’ve stayed white and I kind of like them on the wall like that (it’s a white wall as well).

    Heh, call me boring. I dunno, if it’s what I like then that’s what it should be.

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