Natural Contrast: Dark Wood Furniture in Modern Spaces

There is nothing quite as elegant as dark wood furniture. Whether it’s a valuable antique in mahogany wood, dramatic Art Deco furniture, or a contemporary designer piece, incorporating a dark wood object into your space allows you to work with contrast. Juxtaposing dark and light is one of the most exciting and elegant strategies for making your interior come to life.

In today’s blog, we want to introduce you to some of our favorite pieces of dark wood furniture. Right alongside them, we’ll showcase design objects and modern pieces that provide an engaging contrast, to lend you inspiration for your own home.

Before we jump in, some exciting news: Our friends at Redfin have compiled design advice for working with 19th-century furniture over on their blog. Our perspective is listed with other brilliant ideas from some other respected names in interior design! Check out their inspiring takes on working with dark wood furniture right here!

Baroque and Neoclassicist Dark Wood

The Baroque period is frequently associated with light woods and splendid, bright gold ornamentation. But there are treasures out there that combine the period’s whimsical elegance with darker shades.

Antique Desk- 18th century- styylish
A Louis XV desk – available now on Styylish

This Louis XV Desk, for instance, has the shape and make of a Baroque piece. Its elegant kingwood veneer makes it feel a little more refined and compatible with understated modern aesthetics than some of its contemporaries.

Dutch baroque Secretary Desk- Styylish
A Dutch Baroque Secretary Desk – available now on Styylish

Or go for a Dutch Baroque Secretary Desk, which features voluptuous dark wood shapes with the same restraint on metal ornamentation.

Once you enter the Neoclassical Period, dark wood becomes more common. It’s certainly seen as a more refined expression of elegant tastes than light woods, and more aligned with the simple contrasting colors of classical aesthetics.

Louis XVI Roll top Desk- styylish
A classic Louis XVI Roll Top Desk – available now on Styylish

This Louis XVI Rolltop Desk is a classic Neoclassical object. It features columns, symmetrical ornamentation, and a truly elegant build. Note the dark mahogany wood veneer, which lends the gold accents additional luminescence.

Biedermeier Beauties

Biedermeier furniture is all about the wood. And while most Biedermeier features lighter shades of brown, there are certain pieces, especially from Northern Europe, that make exquisitely elegant additions to a dark wood space.

Danish Biedermeier Dresser- four drawers mahogany veneer- styylish
A Danish Biedermeier Dresser – available now on Styylish

This Danish Biedermeier Dresser is the perfect example. What elegant mahogany! It seems to lend a delicious chocolate hue to the piece and is sure to fit into a modern interior with ease. There are few pieces of furniture easier to play off of.

Biedermeier Display Cabinet- styylish
A Biedermeier Display Cabinet – available now on Styylish

Consider something like this Biedermeier Display Cabinet for an elegant library or lounge space. It excels especially if used to display bright modern objects. Invest in an internal contrast for refreshing visual surprises in your home.

Accenting Antique Dark Wood

Modern Pendant Light "Drop"
Pendant Light “Drop” – available now on Styylish

The best way to make a dark wood antique feel well integrated is to put it in direct conversation with something unexpected and bright. The Pendant Light “Drop” has a near-futuristic aura but carries itself with quiet elegance. In a room with high ceilings, furnished with dark wood pieces, it can provide the shot of modern energy you need.

Boucle Sofa- Styylish
A boucle sofa – available now on Styylish

Add a modern white Boucle Sofa, for instance, to really emphasize the contrast between dark wood and modern aesthetics. The result is a deeply comforting and truly elegant atmosphere.

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The “Dervish Big” Glass Vase – available now on Styylish

But you don’t have to include a designer sofa to make dark wood function effectively in the present day. Bring the Glass Vase “Dervish Big” into your dark wood space. Atop a Neoclassical Commode or a Biedermeier Dresser, it will seem like a beacon of light. Fill it with vibrant flowers to achieve a magical effect: contrast darkness with life, brown with color.

Painting by Natasa Kekanovic- Styylish
“Through Looking Glass,” by Natasa Kekanovic

Alternatively, accent the dark wood of your antiques with a bright contemporary painting, like “Through Looking Glass,” by Natasa Kekanovic. Explosions of modern color can work much like a bouquet of fresh flowers in your darker rooms: they catch the eye and prevent the darkness from feeling overwhelming and soul-sucking.

Vintage and Modern Furniture

You don’t need to go into the deep past to find elegant dark wood pieces. 20th-century design is full of contrast and dark shades that you can use to bring definition to a well-lit space, for instance.

Art Deco credenza- Styylish
An Art Deco Credenza – available now on Styylish

Something as simple as this Art Deco Credenza, for instance, can bring a grounding depth to your space. A credenza is a small sideboard or cupboard. Combine it with a small modern lamp. Or place it atop a contrasting or matching dresser for a wonderful interplay between periods and colors.

Art Deco Armhairs, Walnut and Black Lacquer, France, circa 1930
A pair of Art Deco Armchairs – available now on Styylish

Pieces like these Art Deco Armchairs are very dark. The wood frame is dark, and the geometric fabric is dark, too. That’s what makes these fantastic for combination with bright modern coffee tables or other chairs. Or simply place them in your most sunlit room for an interplay between object and environment that will not go unnoticed.

Modern Side Table, "Un Su" black- Styylish
Side Table “Un Su” – available now on Styylish

Speaking of tables, the Side Table “Un Su” is the perfect example of a piece of dark wood furniture from cutting-edge designers. Have a room with a light floor? A Table like “Un Su” will rise out of it with impressive contrast.

Modern Wooden Bench, "Less"- Styylish
Wood Bench “Less” – available now on Styylish

Or find simple dark wood accents with pieces like the Modern Wood Bench “Less”. It doesn’t take a big piece of furniture to develop new focal points in your space.

The Versatility of Dark Wood

It does not matter which period of time you find your favorite piece in! Bringing dark wood furniture into your space is guaranteed to make a positive impact. There is nothing quite like it, in terms of providing opportunities for contrast – whether it be a contrast only in color or contrast in centuries of style.

Browse the Styylish catalog for more dark wood furniture and prepare to fall in love with your home all over again.

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