15 woods perfect for interior decor

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Wood is a material widely used in construction since ancient times. Since the Palaeolithic period, it was already used to create tools. Later, with the refinement of the cutting and carving methods, its use extended to other fields, including construction. Currently, the use of wood is pervasive; to such a degree that we could build a house entirely using wood exclusively. This article focuses on the most used types of natural wood, their characteristics, and their application in interior home decor.

Wood types

A simple way of classifying wood is according to this whether it is hard or soft, depending on its weight:

Hardwoods

Hardwoods weigh 700-1000 kg/m3. Hardwoods come from trees that require prolonged growth before being felled, making them more expensive, but these woods also have better mechanical and aesthetic properties. They are generally darker and more resilient than softwoods, but also harder to work with. They resist moisture better than softwoods.

Softwoods

Softwoods weigh 450-600 kg/m3. They require less growth than hardwoods, making them more affordable and generally lighter, more flexible, and malleable. On the other hand, the durability and strength of softwoods are less than hardwoods. In general, they are also more sensitive to changes in humidity. They are better thermal insulators than hardwoods.

The group to choose from, hard or softwoods, will depend on the use you intend the wood. For outdoor use, hardwood will always be recommended or, if not, a type of wood with good resistance to weather and moisture. For indoor finishes, we can use softwood. But what are the soft or hard natural wood species? Next, we look at the most interesting woods typically used indoors:

Hardwood examples

Mahogany: Mahogany is a tropical, dark, intense reddish wood with fine grain, which has a natural resistance to woodworm. It is strong wood and easy to work with, so it is a favorite of carpenters. Often it is used for floors, decorative uses, pieces of furniture, and interior elements such as doors.

Oak: Oak is a very resistant and durable wood. Its grain is generally relatively straight. Over time, oak hue goes from light or medium brown to a velvety gray. It is widely used for parquets, hardwood floors, and furniture.

Walnut: Walnut is a noble wood, characterized by a wavy grain and intense chocolate brown color. Although it is one of the hardest woods, it is prone to woodworm. Today walnut is widely used for luxury paneling, furniture, cabinets, doors, ornaments, and carved elements.

Cherry: Cherry is a very decorative wood with an appearance that varies over time. In origin, it has a pinkish-brown hue, which with time, darkens towards a mahogany red. Although hard, it is a delicate and woodworm-prone wood. It is popular for the manufacture of cabinets, carvings, and doors.

Olive: Olive wood is easily recognizable by its striking and decorative grain, especially as the cut approaches the root. It is a sturdy wood with yellow, grey, light, or reddish tones depending on the origin. Today it is frequently used decoratively and in producing rustic furniture.

Elm: Elm is a rot and woodworm-resistant wood formerly used to build carts. It has a light brown tone, sometimes with reddish or grayish tints. It is currently widely used in cabinetry, sculptures, and even boats.

Beech: Beechwood has warm and light tones and is exceptionally durable, even stronger than oak when dried in processes using pressure. Nowadays, it is prevalent for furniture, work surfaces, and floors.

Ebony: Ebony is one of the strongest, densest hardwoods with the finest grain; it is practically black. Its density is so high that it sinks in water. Its good texture and the possibility of a very soft polishing make it an unbelievably valuable wood. In historical times it was considered a precious material.

Teak: Teak is a wood that improves over the years. It is resistant to deformations, cracks, and deterioration, even when in contact with metals. Today it is highly appreciated and used in making indoor and outdoor furniture, given its high degree of resistance to weather and moisture.

Softwood examples

Pine: Pine is one of the most economical and most used types of wood in construction. Today, “pine” is a generic term for many light-toned softwoods wood types that acquires a characteristic honey color when sealed. It has an even texture and is easy to work, making it widely used by carpentry professionals for panels, furniture, and moldings.

Lebanese Cedar: Although a softwood, Lebanese cedar is somewhat harder than other softwoods. It is an aromatic wood and can be fragile. The wood of this cedar tree is fascinating since its aroma repels insects, among them moths. For this reason, it is often used to line wardrobes and chests of drawers.

Chestnut: Chestnut wood has high durability, is strong and elastic. It is currently widely used in kitchen furniture, window frames, and moldings.

Alamo: Alamo is a light and easy-to-work-with wood. It resists wear and shock well, making it widely used in furniture manufacturing, but is not resistant to moisture or woodworm. It is a light-toned wood with yellowish-brown and even olive-green tones.

Fir: Firwood is light and soft, but with good strength and elasticity. It behaves well against chemicals and contains few resins.  It is popular for the creation of wall and ceiling coverings for home interiors.

Birch: Birchwood can be yellowish or whitish red, in any case, with light tones and fine grain. It is an elastic wood but does not excel in durability or strength. It is often used in the carpentry of interior coatings, such as moldings or skirting boards.

As we can see, there are many types of wood for decorating and construction. If we want to use natural wood inside our house, we can use any of the above, although we should consider not only the aesthetics but also the advantages of each type in terms of strength and durability.

In general, hardwoods are more robust, more striking, but also have a higher price than softwoods. Its use is more suitable for permanent or almost permanent elements in the house, such as floors, ceilings, or partitions. Softwoods are generally of more discreet tones and used without problems in many decorative elements that will not suffer wear over time, such as friezes, coatings, moldings, paneling, etc.

Regarding how to combine them, light woods can perfectly blend with each other with different shades. Dark woods can be used in contrast to a broader surface of light wood. As for the paint colors, the shades of gray, sand, and beiges will fit perfectly with almost any wood type.


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