What Colors Go with Cherry Wood Furniture?

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With its rich, warm reddish-brown hues that deepen handsomely over time, cherry wood furniture is a decorating staple. However, choosing the ideal paint colors to enhance cherry pieces can be daunting with so many options.

Should cool tones provide contrast or earthy neutrals better complement? Does the wood’s variability in grain and color make a difference? While keeping key design principles in mind, consider cherry wood’s chameleonic nature and your room’s desired aesthetic. Learn how the interplay of lighting, age, and finish transforms cherry wood’s coloring and why this matters when selecting paint.

Discover recommended colors to make this beautiful woodwork pop or settle serenely into the background. Whether you prize vintage inherited gems or recently invested in new cherry furniture, read on to unlock secrets for pairing the perfect paint palette.

5 helpful tips on pairing paint colors with cherry wood furniture


  1. Examine the dominant tones and grain patterns of your existing cherry wood pieces to guide your paint color selection. The wood’s coloring under your room’s lighting is what you want to coordinate or contrast with.
  2. Consider painting a neutral color like white, beige, or light grey on walls to allow bolder reddish-brown cherry wood furniture to stand out.
  3. Use accent walls or furniture trim to introduce complementary colors like green, blue, or orange that will make the cherry wood pop.
  4. For a cohesive look, go monochromatic with cherry wood stains coupled with brown and red paint hues in the same color family.
  5. Remember light exposure over time will deepen and enrich cherry wood’s coloring. Pick paint that will continue to coordinate as the wood color shifts.

Types of Cherry Wood and Their Color Variations

Cherry wood has long been valued as a furniture material due to its strength, durability, and how its color transforms over time. There are several species of cherry tree, each yielding wood with slightly different grain patterns and hues:

  • Black cherry, also called American cherry, is commonly used. It has fairly straight grain and its pinkish-brown heartwood darkens into a reddish brown.
  • Sweet cherry is a bit harder than black cherry. Its heartwood has golden undertones when exposed to light. The grain is generally straight.
  • Brazilian cherry is dense and often used for flooring. Ranging from reddish brown to lighter orange-brown, its interlocking grain patterns are distinct.
  • Patagonian cherry is a resilient wood found in South America. Pale brown to pinkish in tone, it may display darker streaks.
  • Chilean cherry is relatively soft and not as widely available. Its color varies from pale pink to warm amber.
  • Caribbean cherry demonstrates a wide spectrum—deep red, yellow, tan, and brown—based on climate. The grain can be quite varied.

Even cherry wood from the same source changes over time, as sunlight and oxidation deepen its color. So a new pale tan piece may turn reddish within months. When choosing paint, inspect your wood’s current dominating tones and grain patterns for inspiration.

Design Style Sets the Tone

When determining what paint colors complement your cherry wood pieces, the overall design style you want to create will be a guiding factor. Ask yourself:

  • Do you prefer a more traditional, formal look or something contemporary or modern?
  • Are you aiming to make the space feel energizing or rather relaxed?
  • Will the room be used more for social gatherings or introspective activities?

The answers will help steer you toward either vibrant warm hues or cooler, more subdued tones to achieve the atmosphere you’re after. Always view the wood’s coloring in the room’s actual lighting when making paint decisions.

Coordination and Contrast Principles

Beyond style considerations, two core interior design principles come into play when pairing paint and cherry wood: coordination and contrast.

Complementary colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel, like reddish brown and green-blue. They create a lively contrast. Analogous colors sit side by side, like red, orange, and yellow, producing a soothing coordination.

Monochromatic schemes use gradations of one color. For example, pair light and dark browns with blackish-red cherry wood for a cohesive, elegant look.

While contrast can bring excitement, carefully balancing it prevents discord. Imagine a bright cherry red accent wall overwhelming the wood’s rich reddish tones. Instead, a subtler terra cotta red, with some orange vibrancy, flatters both paint and wood, allowing each to contribute.

Best Paint Colors for Cherry Wood Furniture

Ready to explore paint possibilities for illuminating your gorgeous cherry woodwork? Here are the recommended colors to try:

Cool Hues

Cool paint shades offer pleasing contrast and sophistication.

  • Benjamin Moore Silver Sage – This subtle green-gray nicely complements darker cherry wood in Arts and Crafts furnishings.
  • Graham & Brown Tiru Turquoise – Against red-orange cherry pieces, this vibrant teal makes a dramatic style statement on an accent wall.
  • Finnish Design Shop Albert Mid-Blue Turquoise – Bluish-gray paint spotlights reddish-brown cherry wood, especially with coordinating wood flooring.
  • Dunn-Edwards Black Bay – A moody black, when used judiciously, works with modern and contemporary cherry wood designs.
  • Benjamin Moore Alabaster – For showcasing modern cherry pieces, this warm white with soft gray tones is ideal.

Earthy Neutrals

Woodsy neutral paints effortlessly match the many facets of cherry wood.

  • Kilz Serving Platter – This versatile gray lets red cherry wood take center stage or blends seamlessly with paler cherry pieces.
  • Glidden Oyster Cracker – Warm cream paint is a safe choice to contrast darker cherry or allow golden undertones to shine.
  • Clare Coffee Date – Deep brown makes a perfect monochromatic pairing with lighter orange-brown cherry for a natural look.
  • Clare Fresh Kicks – Crisp white paint amps up the drama with very dark cherry but keeps pale pieces looking airy.
  • Glidden Bonjour – Subtle beige is cherry wood’s faithful companion; use it strategically on accent walls or ceilings.

Lively Accents

Punchy paint colors, used judiciously, will make cherry wood pop.

  • Benjamin Moore Hunter Green – An elegant classic, deep hunter green makes reddish-brown cherry dining sets the star.
  • Magnolia Plum Suede – This earthy plum brown lets lighter cherry wood pieces stand out distinctly.
  • Valspar Bright Red – For dining rooms, an energetic cherry red accent wall celebrates complementary wood chairs and tables.
  • Drew Barrymore Lemon Yellow – Sunny yellow paint brings out golden highlights in lighter cherry wood.
  • Dunn Edwards Chartreuse – This vibrant yellow-green will accentuate orange undertones in cherry pieces.
  • Johnstone’s Aquamarine – Complementary to red cherry wood, bright aquamarine makes it the focal point.
  • Behr Orange Liqueur – Red-orange paint is tailor-made for highlighting vintage deep brown cherry furnishings.

The Most Flattering Paint for Cherry Wood Furniture

Whatever your style, cherry wood offers limitless decorating possibilities when thoughtfully paired with paint colors. From dramatic contrasts to seamless coordination, the hues you choose will determine if this prized woodwork takes center stage or becomes an integral part of a unified design.

With its color depth and rich grain, cherry wood pairs beautifully with paint. Cool tones like soft greens, grays, and blues bring out its warmth. Feathered beiges and creams allow seamless blending. For modern impact, even black and white offer a stunning contrast. For those who like spice in their palette, cherry wood welcomes earthy browns, punchy reds, and oranges, even palette cleansers like yellow and chartreuse.

Trust your instincts, remain open to inspiration, and test samples on walls to find the paint colors that best complement your cherished cherry wood’s natural beauty. Then relax and enjoy the wood’s deepening hues and authenticity—qualities that make cherry furniture enduringly classic.

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