When we think about color combos that stand the test of time, black and white immediately comes to mind. But for those who prefer a less high-contrast look, there’s another pairing that’s equally timeless: white and wood. Neutral enough to complement any decorating style, this classic combo brings warmth and brightness to rooms.
After scouring our archives, it’s clear that designers also agree that white and wood are a perfect match. Here are 50 ways to incorporate the look into your home.
Get creative with railings. Instead of a traditional staircase, white oak slats create a Scandi-style design moment leading into a crisp white and wood kitchen.
Draw the eye up. Exposed Douglas fir rafters add architectural interest to an all-white envelope, highlighting the height and slope of the ceiling.
Incorporate playful wallpaper. To add personality to a light and bright staircase, opt for a pattern that picks up the warm tones of the oak flooring.
Look to art. Don’t want to commit to cladding your walls in wood? Invest in a statement-making carved sculpture instead.
Create a striking architectural moment. To keep an all-white eat-in kitchen from feeling spare, grand fir columns and statin brass finishes inject warmth.
Evoke rustic charm. The combination of exposed wooden beams with bright white walls and an elegant freestanding tub creates the ultimate country bathroom.
Design an “invisible” kitchen. “The fridge and dishwasher are panelled in the same color,” says food writer and homeowner Lindsay Cameron Wilson. The result is an understated kitchen, so all of the focus is on the home’s storied architectural elements.
Don’t get rid of original elements. Designer Tiffany Piotrowski decided to keep her 1950s cottage’s wood ceiling and floors, which feel fresh when paired with crisp whites, wovens and pops of mint.
Experiment with hardware-free cabinetry. For a modern Scandi look, tall, flat-front maple cabinets with built-in niches provide a clean, timeless look.
Use white and wood as a canvas for artwork. A white oak envelope provides a calming effect in this principal bedroom, while a large-scale piece by Colleen Heslin adds interest to the freestanding white wall.
Achieve bohemian beauty. In this dining room, a modern white oak table and antique dresser fit the laid-back cottage aesthetic, when paired with vintage water skis and a playful seashell light fixture.
Get the farmhouse look with exposed beams. In this tailored kitchen, a white and wood gets the country-chic treatment with wide-plank white oak flooring and reclaimed ceiling beams.
Reimagine patinated wood. In this nautical boathouse, designer Cory DeFrancisco added interest to the white palette with a wooden console adorned with hand-painted details and reclaimed oak floors.
Clad the vent hood in wood. For instant rustic character, oak panels evoke farmhouse flair, especially when paired with white subway tile.
Bring the outdoors in. Draw inspiration from the lush view with mid-toned wood walls and simple white linens, which don’t steal the spotlight.
Embrace vintage. This antique bed is the epitome of Parisian elegance, especially topped with crisp white linens. “I saw the rose and daisy details carved into the wood and fell in love,” says entrepreneur and homeowner Jackie Kai Ellis.
Rethink the look of kitchen storage. A Shaker-style peg rail in a rich maple wood ties in the lower cabinets and is an unexpected alternative to open shelving.
Add mid-century modern flair. In this pristine home office, a vintage teak Poul Cadovius wall unit holds books and cherished collectables.
Try a wood headboard. An artful downtown penthouse feels anything but builder-basic thanks to a screen-style headboard, which offsets the mod side tables and bench.
Rethink kitchen lighting. For an unexpected design moment, a dropped light panel with wood trim inset into glass provides a modern alternative to pendants.
Mix reclaimed barnboards. Various tones of barnboard look at home next to soft whites.
Match rough woods with aged metals. A weathered pine harvest table and antique tin planters are balanced with a crisp white backdrop.
Go for black, white and wood. In a bright white kitchen like this, consider adding wood stools with practical black upholstery.
Add a wood trim detail. Reclaimed beam edging helps soften the contrast between the drywalled range hood and patterned backsplash.
Mimic wood with leather. If you’re looking for the warmth of wood but want something softer, try cognac leather in the same tone as your wood accents.
Use white and wood to offset louder accessories. An understated vanity and white countertops let an eclectic mix of keepsakes — like antlers, a porcelain pig and vintage still life — capture most of the attention in this bathroom.
Consider using plywood. The light tones of plywood work especially well with white walls (and slim budgets!)
Go low. For an airy look keep your furnishings light and ground them with wooden legs, like Sarah Richardson’s team did in this Muskoka cottage.
Try a two-toned railing. In this hallway, also designed by Sarah Richardson’s team, soft white pickets are offset by a warm wood railing and barnboard floors.
Offset dark floors with light hues. Designer Sam Sacks paired her dark hardwood floors with a linen sofa, cream Beni Ourain rug and crisp white walls.
Balance cool tones. Blue and white can read as cold, so in this child’s bedroom a small weathered wood table helps to add character and warmth.
Try wood shelves. Wood shelves feel oh-so appropriate in a farmhouse-style kitchen like this. They also help add visual interest to the white subway tile wall.
Break up light and dark. A white oak vanity and woven baskets create a pleasing middle ground between black hex tiles and white beadboard and subway tile.
Use wood to offset fancy finishes. In this principal bathroom, mid-toned woods keep golden accents and expanses of marble from feeling too over-the-top.
Use wood to anchor a tall ceiling. In designer Jill Kantelberg’s home, soaring ceilings are grounded with stone floors and wooden accents, like a pair of tall floor lamps.
Use white and wood to strike a nautical note. Weathered woods and soft whites conjure up feelings of summer by the water.
Frame focal points in white. This salvaged pine mantel and original fireplace take center stage when surrounded by bare white walls.
Play up original features: Original dark-stained elements can tell the story of your home. In order to balance the dark hues, choose lighter woods like white oak or teak and a light wall color.
Mix wood with woven. This large dining room’s peaked ceiling gets much-needed warmth thanks to a wood dining table and chairs, rattan pendants and a woven rug.
Install butcherblock. In an all-white kitchen, butcherblock counters are cost-effective, but they also help break up all the white.
Use light woods and white for a Scandi look. A wood base on this kitchen’s island complements the floating wood shelves and wood trim around the window.
Use white as an envelope for unique furniture. Designer Deb Nelson used reclaimed planks to create a large dining room table and painted the surrounding walls in a fresh white hue.
Use flooring for a sliding door. For a cohesive look, this home’s white oak flooring was used to create a sliding barn door, which is surrounded by white walls and fixtures.
Incorporate wood on structural elements. Airy stairs constructed using planks of white oak with white treads create a dramatic focal point in the heart of this home.
Try a wooden feature wall. Wooden wardrobe doors offer a weighty counterpoint to glossy white cabinetry and stark white walls.
Offset concrete with wood. Notoriously cold concrete and warm wood are a natural match, especially when paired with white walls.
Layer multiple wood tones for visual interest. White oak floors, walnut cabinets and white Caesarstone play off each other nicely in this streamlined kitchen.
Create a Zen feeling with natural materials. Maple floors, a cedar ceiling and sparse white walls feel totally tranquil.
Go for the unexpected. Breaking-up this mostly white bathroom with vintage louvered doors makes for a memorable space.
Frame the view. Using cedar on the ceiling and bright white on the walls creates a picture frame-like effect surrounding the window in this home office.