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IWF Woodworking Today

Embracing the Natural Look of Wood Grain in Furniture


February 14, 2024 | Dan Wellens

In current interior design practice, functionality is a factor in furniture vetting and selection. But other decision drivers are also at work. Topping the list is the debate between utilizing stain coloring and embracing the organic, natural look of wood grain in furniture.

Until recently, stain coloring has been the deciding factor in what typically are big-ticket furniture purchase decisions. Now a new appreciation for the beauty of wood grain in its natural state has come into its own.

Why the shift? One key factor is the rising awareness of sustainability and environmental consciousness. Embracing the natural look of wood grain aligns with the desire for eco-friendly choices in our homes. Opting for furniture that retains the authentic beauty of wood without the need for chemical-laden stains is seen as a small but impactful step toward a greener lifestyle. A new wave of design minimalism also plays a role.

Interior design practitioners and thought leaders such as Sarah Richardson emphasize the importance of bringing nature into our homes. In her book “At Home – Sarah Style,” Richardson explores the idea that incorporating natural elements, such as the untouched beauty of wood grain, fosters a sense of tranquility and connection with the environment within our living spaces.

Beyond the environmental and design aspects, there is also a psychological angle to consider. A recent Duke University study suggests that exposure to natural elements, including wood, has a positive impact on mental well-being. Choosing furniture that celebrates the unadulterated beauty of wood grain may contribute to creating a more calming and harmonious living environment.

The shift from embracing stain coloring to the natural look of wood grain in furniture is more than a fleeting trend. It reflects a broader societal movement toward sustainability, minimalism, and a deeper connection with nature. As we design and create, let’s embrace the beauty of wood in its pure form, allowing it to tell a story of sustainability, simplicity, and a mindful connection to our living spaces.


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