We love using natural, unstained solid wood in our furniture, and for good reason. The grain patterns and colors of our American walnut, cherry and maple are so gorgeous that we hate to cover them up with anything other than a clear finish to protect the surface.
Even after wood is harvested and turned into furniture, it continues to be a living, breathing material that responds to its environment just like a tree would in the forest. It expands and contracts with changes in humidity, and changes color over time as it’s exposed to air and sunlight. Today we’re sharing examples of how dramatic—and beautiful—these color changes can be.
Fresh-cut maple is light and bright and then takes on a deep honey color. Here’s an example of a brand new maple office cabinet (below) next to a drawer from a much older cabinet (above).
Like maple, cherry gets darker over time. Here’s an example of a fresh-off-the-truck cherry bookcase (left) next to a cherry cabinet we’ve had at our headquarters since the 90s. A little shocking, no?
New walnut has a consistent dark brown color but as it gets older it does two things: 1) Unlike maple and cherry, it gets lighter and 2) a rich honey color starts to come through the grain. You can see the difference between a new table (left) and a four-year-old table (right).
Color changes tend to be the most dramatic in the first year—even within the first few months. Here’s a tip from our (unfortunate) experience: move items around on your new wood furniture so you don’t get spots that are darker or lighter. For example, we put a lamp on this walnut end table a few years ago and then never moved it. Lesson learned. If this happens to you, don’t panic—because the color keeps changing, the contrast will even out with time.
Photos by Room & Board