2024+ Color & Design Trends in the Wood Market

Doing whatever makes you…you. That’s what is coming in 2024. After a few years of the pandemic, we are resuming our lives with more vigor. This shows up in our choices from fashion to travel to home décor. The themes trending in 2024 all have self-expression as their common denominator. The themes also include a connection to deep nature, finding balance, and a focus on well-being.

There are many ways to express these themes, and sameness is not cutting it anymore. This means no more all-white kitchens for everyone. There have been too many years of copycat design. Today, we want more originality, and more personality. Generation Z is driving this movement, and it’s poking its head into all the generations as a wake-up call.

Paint Color Trends and Flooring

We can’t look at forecasted wood floor colors without first looking at the 2024 paint colors of the year. Next year, we see a mix of dark and moody colors that match self-expression and confidence. Behr chose Cracked Pepper, a soft black, and Dutch Boy chose Ironside, a deep olive. On the other side, PPG Paints and Glidden selected Limitless, a buttery hue, and Sherwin-Williams picked Upward, a pale blue. For these diverse colors, we see an intentional, visual contrast on the floors. Dark walls equal lighter floors (pale pine, blondes, but no yellow-based versions, medium browns), and lighter walls equal darker floors (medium-toned and dark, espresso black browns).

Let’s look next at the overall wood color themes. These trend drivers still are important, but we added self-expression to show how individual these themes can become.

Expressing Yourself in Deep Nature

The connection to being true to nature runs even deeper. We are in nature more often, and we understand the benefits of this exposure. This means, for our interiors, we want authenticity in colors, looks, and textures to bring nature indoors, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, enhancing moods, and increasing productivity. More than adding plants, we see the mimicking of nature patterns (fractals), curves, and geometric shapes in artwork. This also includes using wood and stone over synthetic materials, breaking down barriers between inside and outside. This is where wood can be used effectively. The trends for exterior wood colors have moved to all shades of brown, just like interior trends, to create a seamless indoor/outdoor transition.

If we look at the paint colors, the darker colors on the wall create calm, resiliency, and a quiet luxury. The dark colors pulled from nature, including sage and dark greens, and deep lake blues allow for light to medium-toned wood floors to create the contrast we are so interested in.

For 2024, get ready for more expression than we’ve seen in a while, with wood as the anchor for all the trends. This is not only residential. We will see more unique designs in health care, hotel, and office settings.

While not as popular, we also are seeing a deep nature trend, with dark floors, matte finishes, and wire brushing, giving a moodier vibe throughout the space, as well as giving the feeling of being immersed in nature.

The wood floor colors for this trend are colors mimicking tree trunks (gray blacks, mid- to deep-tone browns) and colors of soil, like espresso black-browns and every version of brown, except yellow-based blondes or browns. Mixed lengths of boards work well with this trend, simulating nature’s randomness.

Expressing Yourself in Balance and Order

Tonal simplicity design, tone on tone, is organized, clean cut, and restful to the eyes. Adding light- to medium-toned wood floors adds warmth while looking minimalistic. These floors are smooth instead of having a wire-brushed wood finish. They also are finished with a dull to medium gloss.

This trend is all about easy functionality. Spaces that need to be clean, geometric, ordered, but still warm and not antiseptic achieve that look with the addition of wood. Light to medium-toned wood works well in these spaces. This look is relevant especially in health care settings, where creating an atmosphere of precision and order builds confidence and calm for patients, while wood floors and/or paneled walls add a feeling of home.

Join Dee Schlotter for an NWFA webinar, “The Beauty of Wood: 2024+ Design & Color Trends” on December 6, 2023 at 2:00 PM CST. A recording of the webinar will be available on NWFAU.

Expressing Yourself in Well-Being

Organic soft, subtle textures, and tranquil palettes are anchored with pale- to mid-toned woods to create spaces that are more than calm. They are rejuvenating and refreshing. In these types of settings, the raw, rough-cut, and random but softened, rounded, and curved design is meant to engage your senses.

The “return of the room” trend that we see in residential homes, moving to more individual rooms versus open concept, allows for increased spaces of privacy and separation between work and living spaces. The wood colors for these spaces range from pale pine to deep, dark espresso browns. As with the other trends, the more natural looking the better.

For 2024, get ready for more expression than we’ve seen in a while, with wood as the anchor for all the trends. This is not only residential. We will see more unique designs in health care, hotel, and office settings. I am discussing more of these segments and how they influence residential in an NWFA webinar in December. The best news as we move into 2024 is that self-expression and confidence in design have never been higher, and we will see a lot of originality and showcasing of the natural beauty of wood.

Dee Schlotter is the owner of Dee Schlotter Consulting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After almost three decades at PPG, Schlotter retired in 2020 to start her own consulting business in color and design forecasting and marketing for the architectural segments. She initiated the PPG global color workshop to identify color trends across architectural, automotive, and consumer products. Contact her at deeschlotter@gmail.com.

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