13 Homes That Prove This Classic Wood Trend Is Back

published Mar 10, 2023
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It’s official: The trend of painting wood is on its way out and the design world is embracing warm, natural wood finishes. Whether your design style is mid-century modern, minimalist, or full-blown maximalist, you can make wood in its natural state work for you. Leaving wood in its lighter or slightly stained finish can inspire a calm ambiance that complements any style or size of home. Not covering your wood with paint can let the wood’s texture and pattern shine. These 13 stunning homes below let natural wood finishes be the star of the show.

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1. This floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinetry is simple yet stunning.

Katarzyna Kowalska lives in a 355-square-foot apartment in Poland that is colorful, and cool from corner to corner. She hired Kalina Juchnevic and Robert Juchnevic, architects and founders of blok585m2 to maximize her small space. The showstopper in this apartment is the set of floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinets. “We love this apartment as a whole, but if we have to choose a favorite space — we especially like the kitchen,” Kalina and Robert say. “This is not only a place to prepare food but also the main furniture in the living room. The oak veneer kitchen doors are imperfect perfection!”

Credit: Justin Chung

2. This Japanese-inspired apartment is bright and beautiful.

Amanda Gunawan really let natural wood shine in her 1620-square-foot loft in Los Angeles. “I also knew exactly what I wanted to do with the space because I knew how I wanted to live and feel in my home,” Amanda says. One way she cultivated a calm, serene space is by using light-colored wood features throughout her home, and her biggest inspiration is nature. She says, “I wanted the space to feel pleasing to the eye the way nature feels natural to us.”

Credit: Erin Derby

3. The wood ceilings may surprise you, but they really work.

When you’re dealing with a tiny space, it’s important that every inch of it feels like home. Talia and Andy live in a school bus that they’ve converted into a stylish 280-square-foot home on wheels. The couple covered the ceiling with light, natural wood panels that pair perfectly with the wood floors. The design style is giving lots of Scandi vibes, but still has bright pops of color that make it feel fun. “Since this was the first home we’ve owned, we wanted to make it bright like our personalities,” Talia says. “Our home feels a lot like Palm Springs and Miami had a baby!”

Credit: Antrom Kury

4. One look at this Oakland home and you’ll be a natural wood convert.

Aleksandra Zee and Antrom Kury are a couple of woodworkers who have filled their entire 1002-square-foot home in Oakland, California with more types of wood than you could imagine. Aleksandra and Antrom consider their design style to be “lived-in minimal and monochromatic” and they strike the perfect balance between cozy and chic. “My biggest inspiration is the California landscape,” Aleksandra says. “From desert to the ocean. It’s the relaxed design that California is known for.”

5. The trim on these windows is a celebration of wood.

Olivia Burnett lives in this plant-filled 500-square-foot studio apartment in Virginia that has loads of natural light and original details. “The building I live in is more than 120 years old. It has a ton of original character — huge, south-facing windows, high ceilings, arches, and curved corners,” Burnett says in her house tour. While some may feel like newer is better, Olivia wouldn’t live anywhere else. “I fell in love with this apartment,” she says.

6. You’d never want to plaster over these wood-paneled walls.

Jason Odd and Kristina Sostarko‘s house in Victoria, Australia has a cool, mid-century style with a warm, colorful palette that is inspiring from every angle. A consistent element around their home is warm shades of wood. It’s everywhere from the floors to the dining table to the frames displaying their art. The wood paneling on the wall that supports the staircase, though, is a real gem. The couple even found a chest that’s nearly the exact same finish and it blends right in.

7. When the paint was stripped off, these UK homeowners left the wood as-is.

Camilla and Andy live in a 1300-square-foot Victorian Terrance in the UK that’s bright, earthy, and full of natural wood tones being celebrated. “As we stripped away layers of paint, pulled up carpets and discovered original hidden four-panel pine doors. We started to get inspired to leave the things we had uncovered as they were,” she explains in their house tour. “…We decided to leave the newly stripped original doors and upstairs floors and stairs raw wood as I never like the finish of oils or varnishes. It also made our lives easier as it meant less decorating! It also stops the house looking too perfectly ‘done,’ and gives it character and a sense of history.”

Credit: Erin Derby

8. The wood in this Brownstone is otherworldly beautiful.

Naj Austin, the founder and CEO of Ethel’s Club and Somewhere Good, lives in this 1,000-square-foot Brooklyn Brownstone. And while it’s full of lovely decorations that’s created a calm and soothing space, the natural wood featured in the home is statement-making and stunning.

9. The custom wooden door on this home takes curb appeal to the next level.

Dylan Odbert and his wife Jess Odbert live in a beautiful, modern 1450-square-foot home in San Clemente, California with their kid, Waylon. When you live in a house, curb appeal is everything. The couple’s biggest indulgence is their natural wood front door and it’s absolutely stunning. While it may be the most expensive purchase, “it’s one of our favorite pieces in the house,” Dylan says.

10. The wood paired with a creative color palette gives this home a bold twist.

Warm wood and loads of deep colors are a surprising combination that makes India‘s 1100-square-foot apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio look so cool and creative. “The foyer walls and ceiling are all wood, plus the original tiled floor and stained glass double doors are still intact,” India says. “And it’s gorgeous!” She and her boyfriend Jerome fell in love with the woodwork when they first viewed the apartment and saw it as a challenge to design. “It took me a while to find ways to honor the architecture while still making it work with my style and I’d like to think that I figured it out,” India says. “The clean lines and bright colors still leave room for the woodwork to shine.”

Credit: Erin Derby

11. The moldings in this apartment make you want to move right in.

Katie Rogers lives in this 450-square-foot apartment in Central Harlem, New York that is oozing with charm and character. “From the moment I moved in I felt at peace,” Katie says in her house tour. “The southern exposure, the fireplace, the exposed brick in the bathroom, the moldings — I knew it was going to be my home.” The building was built in 1920 and has a lot of its rich, original features like warm natural wood floors and moldings on the tall windows. Katie leans even further into that style by creating a little office nook with a natural wood-stained desk.

12. This beautiful botanical home is like a modern, livable garden.

Ross and Marianna Popejoy live in a 1012-square-foot biophilic beauty in East London with their six-year-old son. They bought this 1900s worker’s cottage eight years and fully renovated it with thoughtful, nature-inspired projects. “We were always determined to fill our home with natural materials,” Marianna says, and the couple did just that. They have entire walls and ceilings in their home made of natural wood, making the entire space feel modern, bright, and calming.

13. The wood in this makes it super warm and cozy.

Ellen, Patrick, and their little one Joni live in a home in Melbourne, Australia. The house has beautiful natural wood features like the floors, window trim, and the ledge on the fireplace. Patrick even works with wood, so he’s created smaller wooden items throughout their home like bedside tables and a shoe rack. This couple’s home has a handful of wood features and they aren’t exactly the same, but it’s beautiful and unique. “Not everything has to perfectly match,” Ellen says. “Sometimes, contrast ends up working the best.”