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Popular Exotic Wood Finishes for Contemporary Interiors

Posted on December 30, 2011

When modern décor is mentioned, the ordinary layperson usually envisions lots of chrome perhaps partnered with black or white leather. It looks very streamlined, rather minimalist, perhaps a little futuristic… We know that is not always the case for modern or contemporary interiors. All sorts of materials are possible elements in contemporary décor. A favorite and very tasteful feature in many a contemporary interior is an exotic wood finish.
Wood can be very stylish. It adds the suggestion of nature in a decorative setup. Of course, in picking wood furniture, you have to be mindful of practical things such as durability, style associations, staining, finishing, etc. Nowadays, wood finishes figure prominently in contemporary design. The choices for wood finish are more than ever now. Many like the appeal of a wood finish and the organic touch it brings. In the past, exotic wood was ordinarily used for such things as musical instruments, jewelry and decorative accents, but now entire furniture sets can be made of it. Naturally, it takes an expert furniture builder to be cognizant of such things as natural oils and resins to know how to properly finish an exotic wood.
Two of the primary factors to consider when choosing what type of wood finish to go for are the purpose of the furniture and the environment it will be in. You have to know how and for what the furniture is going to be used. For instance, you may want to use a non-toxic oil finish for something like a butcher’s block, an easy to clean glossy paint finish for a kitchen work surface, or a finish with fungicide for something that may be exposed to the elements. Exotic wood is preferably finished with oil as an oil finish brings out the natural beauty and the grain details of the wood.
Some popular exotic wood finishes are dark mahogany, macassar ebony, natural walnut and zebrawood. Of course, you have to realize that color is also an important element in choosing a wood finish. Dark colors such as those on mahogany and macassar ebony tend to be more transitional, complementing both traditional and contemporary settings. Lighter colors blend in better in a casual setup.

Mahogany is exceptionally popular as it is both practical and attractive, not to mention highly versatile. Dark mahogany furniture makes a smart investment as it is easy to find separate pieces in the same material or finish. Dark mahogany, as is typical in dark wood colors, never goes out of style.


Black or macassar ebony, on the other hand, has a color banding that gives it a very dramatic appeal. The irregular striping of black and dark brown is quite uncommon. It is a really beautiful wood and very ably enhances the style of any interior.

A natural walnut finish is usually a very distinctive deep chocolate brown color. The walnut is the only native American hardwood that is naturally dark, so it has an appeal for those who want to patronize local resources.

Zebrawood is definitely an unusual finish with its dark stripes on a pale golden yellow background. It is a very decorative sort of wood and looks great on wall panels and furniture trims.

Any of these exotic wood finishes will bring warmth your contemporary room.

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