Step aside, light Scandi interiors – darker, traditional woods are making a comeback

Word on the street is that darker woods have once again fallen in the public's favour

Dark wood chest of drawers in living space
(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Step aside, light Scandi interiors – we're welcoming the return of darker woods that have long been a staple in vintage and modern Victorian-esque home decor trends.

You and I know all too well that lighter-coloured Scandivanian-inspired woods have been dominating home trends, seen in abundance within neutral living room ideas, neutral bathroom ideas, and more.

Surprisingly, however, word on the street is that darker, more traditional woods—like teak, walnut, and mahogany—have fallen back in the public's favour.

Dark wood chest of drawers in living space

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

Dark wood interior trend

According to Etsy's 2023 Home Decor Trends Guide, dark wood is making a strong comeback, so if you're especially into vintage living room ideas and modern Victorian interior themes, this one's for you.

In fact, they also revealed that every 15 seconds, someone searches for handmade or vintage furniture on Etsy.

'On Etsy, there has been a 337% increase in searches for walnut desks and accessories and a 28% increase in searches for brown seating or furniture,' confirms Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert at Etsy.

Dark interiors in decorated living room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)
Head shot of Dayna Isom Johnson
Dayna Isom Johnson

Dayna Isom Johnson is the trend expert for Etsy and a judge on the NBC primetime series ‘Making It’. As part of her role at Etsy, Dayna is responsible for keeping her finger on the pulse of the hottest trends on the market. She is in constant pursuit of new and unique finds on Etsy in an effort to unearth the latest and greatest designs, up-and-coming Etsy shops, and sellers with exciting stories.

'Meanwhile, we've observed a 24% decrease in searches for Scandinavian decor, a 14% decrease in searches for raw or light wood, and a 29% decrease in searches for beige decor on Etsy (so long, sad beige), indicating these styles might be on the way out.'

And to be fair, we've also been a little bored of beige, constantly scouring for new paint trends to tell us what the new neutral to know about is, so seeing the return of dark wood is a pretty exciting change.

Light coloured bedroom with dark wood accents and colours

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Dayna adds, 'Darker woods create a sense of warmth and cosiness into a space, while also providing a touch of character and sophistication to a room. Another reason why darker woods are popular? Their timeless quality. Just ask our 2023 Collections Curator, Martha Stewart, who recently shared that 'brown furniture is alive and well' and that 'what’s old is new again.'

Our suggestions of what to buy to bring dark wood into your home

How to source and style dark wood interiors

In an interview with Ideal Home, BBC's Interior Design Masters winner, Monika Charchula shared her love for vintage and modern Victorian interiors.

Her top tip for sourcing dark, vintage interiors are internet marketplaces (for example, sellers on eBay like betterthannewofficial), as well as car boot sales in the summer. 'It's also really important to check quality. It's important to be cautious, to ask questions, and check the piece underneath and at the back.'

Dark wood dinner table and chairs in dining area

(Image credit: Topology)

When styling dark wood in a vintage-inspired space, Monika Charchula stresses the importance of having a balance between old and new. 'As much as antique furniture and decor is amazing and it will never go out of style, it's important to mix it with something new and mix it with something current,' she advises.

Tala Fustok, designer and founder of Tala Fustok Studio agrees saying, 'When styling dark wood furniture, it's important to think about contrasts. Light hues and colourful accents can cheer up a somewhat dated dark wood aesthetic and bring a contemporary edge.'

Kitchen with dark oak interiors and light accents

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

'Cohesion is also a significant factor – introducing multiple dark wood pieces, sourced from travels or perhaps passed down generations, cements the direction being channelled and adds an elevated richness to the space that now appears considered and purposeful,' adds Tala Fustok.

This is because 'darker woods are typically considered much more decadent and richer if we think about the origins of where they are sourced' says Athina Bluff, lead designer for Topology. 'So make sure that if you're using dark woods that they are sympathetic to their surroundings,' she adds.

Dark wood accent chair with decorative accent pillow in corner of room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

This darker wood is the perfect way to spruce up any living space and give it a more sophisticated, curated edge. We'll be looking forward to seeing how interior stylists and the public alike continue to style it throughout the year.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is Ideal Home’s Junior Writer. She’s always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham in 2022. Previously, she was an Intern Editor for ArchDaily. Now focused on news stories, Jullia can be found down the TikTok and Pinterest rabbit hole scrolling through any new and upcoming trends, hacks, and home inspiration.