New ways with wood have been catching our eye over and over again on Instagram, Pinterest, and magazines. To be entirely honest, they aren’t that “new.” These five trends have wood being applied to interiors in fresh ways, and turning heads in the process!
We’ve gathered some of our favourite examples of these wood trends along with an explanation (where needed) to inspire you in your next home update. Most of these can be explored in a room remodel or if you don’t have a project on the horizon, you’ll also find the first three trends in furniture design.
1 / Fluting
For a unique way to add texture to a space, we love the versatility of wood fluting. A modern look that pays tribute to classical architecture (think Roman columns), fluting can be subtle and elegant, or bold and minimalist. Designer Emily Henderson describes fluted accents as a way to “add texture without screaming HEY I’M MODERN AND COOL!” We’re on board with that description.
What is Fluting?
Fluting is characterized by repeating vertical ridges or ‘flutes’ that run the length of the surface. The flutes are separated by rounded recessed areas. Remodelista notes that the vertical channels of fluting “create an elegant interplay of light and shadow”, which is one of the reasons why this style of ornamentation is so captivating.
It’s versatile in its scale, application, and ability to adapt to different design styles. You’ll see it used in millwork, stone, and plaster. Tight spaces (the “leading”) between flutes builds a more intense texture, while spaced out fluting creates a softer effect. If you compare the bathroom vanity above to the first image by Zoe Feldman Designs, you can see the contrast between the two approaches.
Where to Use Fluting
A little goes a long way. In a contemporary or transitional space you might try it as an accent on a kitchen island or as a piece of statement furniture. In more modern spaces, you’ll see larger expanses of fluting take centre stage for visual impact.
It looks spectacular on walls or ceilings, or both: We love how designer Athena Calderone and architect Elizabeth Roberts utilize fluting as a transition to an elegant bathroom.
2 / Reeded
Reeded wood is very similar to fluting—the two are often confused. It tends to be a quieter texture, but its presence can be played up in darker woods, with paint, or in bold designs.
What is Reeding or Reeded Wood?
The reeded wood profile is rounded like a series of undulating bumps or scallops. It has almost the opposite profile of fluting: instead of straight-edge flutes, the raised area is rounded. Its profile looks like a scallop.
Where to Use Reeded Wood
You’ve likely seen this look a lot on cabinetry by top designers across the globe. It’s embraced for the interesting detail that it provides in simple white and wood interiors, as well as when wrapped around table pedestals or the fronts of credenzas.
Reeded wood provides beautiful texture to walls in bedrooms and studies.
It’s definitely popular in modern farmhouse styles, but we’ve seen some stunning applications in more minimalist spaces like the above kitchen by Toronto designers Collective Studio or on modernist furniture.
3 / Slats
If the above wood slats look familiar to you, it’s likely because slats – AKA timber cladding – have been widely used on the exterior of contemporary and modern buildings for many years now. Wood slats have moved into interiors as a sensational way to dress an accent wall.
Instead of wallpaper or paint, we love how wood brings warmth, character (depending on the type of wood), and texture. If the wood slats are applied to a painted wall, they can add even more dimension.
What are Wood Slats?
The slats are multiple lengths of square boards placed at even intervals. The dimensions of the boards can vary, but you’ll see 1” x 2” as a popular size. The slats may be mounted on wood, to give the effect of moulding (above); to drywall; or to the ceiling and floor, creating a partition.
Where to Use Wood Slats
Besides feature walls, we’re also seeing slats in contemporary bedroom built-ins that often incorporate headboards, bed frames, side tables, and/or closets.
Wood slats are striking as room dividers or to frame staircases. In this application the slats create a see-through partition. They can be left natural to warm up a stark space, or painted for contrast.
Here’s another look that we’re really into: oversized slat wood doors, both sliding and pivot styles, inside the home. Slat wood allows you to seamlessly disguise drawers and doors (as in our Moodyville project above, which hides an electric panel); or there can be a discrete built-in latch or pull.
4 / Natural Wood Walls & Ceilings
This trend is reminiscent of cabin decor but more sophisticated. Designers are turning to natural woods for warmth and texture on areas which might normally be left white.
It’s an interesting twist to the neutral kitchen and white oak cabinetry look which is also trending hard right now. Above is a fabulous reminder of what this related trend looks like.
Where to Use
The natural wood ceiling trend has been most popular as a straightforward tongue-and-groove ceiling with a white kitchen or neutral-coloured living room. We’re seeing more showy ceiling executions too, alongside wood beams or placed in patterns like herringbone.
Planks are also being applied to walls as a statement maker. These aren’t small feature walls either, we’re talking wood for really good measure. This application works in unexpected places, like the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. In a family room, natural wood walls might feel a little too 70s rec room retro.
5/ Faux Beams & Framing
Okay, you’re right: wood beams are old as the hills but faux beams are new. How? Homeowners no longer care whether it’s obvious that the beams are fake because they look so fabulous. And unlike some truly faux beams, these ones are solid hardwood. They can be left natural, or stained to work with the decor.
Same thing for interior wood framing. A traditional style no longer the domain of quaint British cottages, wood framing delivers a rustic, welcoming vibe in transitional homes. If you’re a fan of Studio McGee, you know what we’re talking about. Not only do Shea and her team use faux beams a lot, they used timber framing throughout the Ranch House above.
Where to Use
Beams are a pretty obvious option in any vaulted ceiling room where they add an architectural element, drawing the eye up into the space. They look beautiful in hallways where the beams form ‘trays’ or squares along the ceiling. They’re also very popular in kitchens with contrasting white ceilings. In a rustic farmhouse design, you might see reclaimed wood beams standing out from white shiplap on the ceiling.
Wood beams even work on flat ceilings for texture and interest without making the ceiling feel too low. Chris Loves Julia is a fan of faux beams. Above is the result of their DIY post, “How to Install Faux Wood Beams in Your Home”.
No matter which design direction you’re going in, you can’t go wrong with adding warm-colored natural wood as a focal point in your decor.