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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Au Naturale

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a magazine editor about Meg Braff's fabulous designs in the Round Hill, Jamaica villas featured in Coastal Living earlier this year.  In particular we discussed Meg's decision to leave this rattan porch furniture in its natural, warm-toned wood finish, as opposed to lacquering the rattan in a glossy bright white.  Fast forward to last weekend, and as I started to bring a nightstand down from the attic to paint, I thought back to our conversation and decided to put the can of Rustoleum back under the sink. 

Certainly there are times when a fresh coat of paint in a glossy bright color is just what a piece of old wooden furniture needs.  Particularly if your furniture isn't a valuable antique and is feeling a bit lifeless, we say to go ahead and paint away!  Goodness knows that I have a piece of painted furniture in nearly every room in my house.  On the flip side of that coin, though, nearly every room also needs a piece of furniture that is meticulously polished and stained, showing off the beauty of the natural wood.  A bedroom chest of drawers first comes to mind when I think of a piece of furniture that is best left untouched by paint.  There is something warm and soothing about natural wood in a bedroom that makes the room feel grounded, while the rest of the decor is bright and cheery.   

We are certainly not advocating the "bedroom suite" or matching sets of living room furniture in dark toned "espresso" wood.  But adding a piece or two of naturally stained wooden furniture to a colorful or modern room lends sophistication and style.   Here are some looks that inspire us!

Melissa Rufty

Massuco Warner Miller

Nate Berkus

Phoebe Howard

Ruthie Sommers

Massuco Warner Miller

Meg Braff

Massuco Warner Miller

Meg Braff

So are you on board with natural-toned wood?  Can you resist the temptation to paint every piece of furniture you bring home?


Julie said...

I totally agree! You've got to have some natural wood to balance things out, although I have to admit that I am VERY bad about wanting to paint everything. Beautiful examples.

A Flair for Vintage Decor said...

I completely agree...and with any room it is the mixture of color (natural or painted), texture and scale that creates wonderful rooms! Take care, Caroline

Danielle Sigwalt said...

I am all for painting every last piece in my home, but think at some point all painted furniture can look stagnate. I have a coffee table by Palececk and it is in a rich mahogany. I almost painted it white, but then thought it would ruin the richness. Of course, there are pieces that need to be painted and paint can transform that ugly seventies piece into a modern work of art. I also feel that if the wood is unique, marled or has character then don't paint.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Love the pictures you chose! I love a mix of wood and painted pieces.

Betsy said...

LOVE this post! So true...natural wood is a classic look and adds timelessness to any room.

mydesignchic said...

I love painted furniture, but natural wood grounds a room...beautiful!!

Anonymous said...

I have painted wood all over the place, but I try to leave at least one piece in every room alone. Painting everything is just too much.

thelittlesister said...

This is a constant pull in my mind. To paint, or not to paint? To buy a piece that makes a statement in it's wood toned state, or to only search for pieces that can (and should) be painted! I believe that wood tones add warmth to a room, and a well made piece, with patina and a lovely finish should be kept as is. The key to making it work is in understanding what has value, and to not go overboard in the belief that all wood furniture is worthy of preservation. Choosing a wood piece can make or break the room, and it often dictates all other decisions that are made.

Jenn @ Living Luxe for Less said...

Such a good point! I think you are right that sometimes certain pieces are left best in their natural state. I believe a great example of this is the first picture of rattan patio furniture you chose. It looks so great outdoors in it's natural color!

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