Q: I have oak furniture, but I want to put alder cabinets in my kitchen. Is it OK to mix woods?
A: It is perfectly fine to mix woods. With some of the beautiful woods being introduced into interiors, there is no reason to keep everything uniform. Using only one wood and stain throughout the home would become monotonous. Blending woods gives variety and character to a home.
Wood has several characteristics that make it beautiful. Grain is the first characteristic. Oak has a grain that is easily distinguished from others. The rich lines of oak are natural characteristics. The grain lines in pine and ash are not as visible as the grain in oak. The second characteristic is stain. There are many different stains you can use to achieve a specific color desired. very piece of wood accepts stain differently. This will vary depending on the wood, climate and its origin.
Lastly, consider the feel and look of the wood in its finished stage. The grain of the wood and the stain applied to it define the style or look. An example: Cherry relates to formal, clean lined, and traditional. Alder translates to rustic, distressed and Americana. Maple reads casual, clean lined, and contemporary.
Many of the styles are eclectic and thrive on blending woods together. Going back to the original question: Mixing woods? Definitely. Which ones blend? It depends on how you are going to stain the woods and what you want to bring out. I suggest involving an interior designer to coordinate woods and other surfaces you plan to use in your home.
— Carolyn Tong, Steve Peterson Interiors