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Wood Finishing and Design Trends for 2024

By now all the reputable design magazines and websites such as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Real Simple, and Houzz have released their design and 2024 wood finishing trends…

And I read a ton of them.

They have all weighed in on what they see will be the hot new color of the year, how to design and furnish your next remodel, and whether bouclé is going out of style…or if it’s something we just can’t get enough of. 

As interesting as it is reading what others predict will be “hot” this year, it also prompted ideas from the Target Coatings team.

To that end, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of the trends we spotted from “the experts” and our thoughts on what we would like to see more of in 2024.

PART 1

Trend 1: A Shift to Warmer, Earthy Tones

Many of the major media outlets agree the colors of 2024 are shifting to warm, earthy tones and even dark browns. 

They say people are getting tired of cool blues and grays and want something more inviting and comforting. Well, we couldn’t agree more. 

I know our master color matcher and compounder, Wally, would love to stop seeing blue and gray and have some fun mixing other colors of the rainbow as part of 2024 wood finishing trends.

And just so you know, our water-based EM6500 Pigmented Lacquer can be matched (for free) to any color you can imagine, including those from Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Farrow and Ball.

Here are some “on-trend” suggestions from some of the sources I consulted:

  • The Spruce offers up Benjamin Moore’s Fossil as a warm neutral color, an easy pick as a backdrop to a bold piece of furniture or that deep color on your cabinetry.
  • In the mid-tones, LivingEtc says Farrow & Ball’s Jitney is like “buttery taupe” and “atmospheric and soulful” perfect for painting wardrobes, ceilings, and walls.
  • What about a dark accent color?  Bitter Chocolate from Sherwin Williams could be a hot selection.  Retail sites like 1stDibs and Chairish say they see customers on the lookout for pieces with dark chocolate brown accents.

Trend 2: Bold Color Statements

Another trend most sources agree on is that more people are making bold statements with their color and design choices.  Whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, or a piece of custom-made furniture, people are making colorful and interesting choices. 

How can you make a bold statement in your upcoming project?  I’m always a fan of two-toning furniture, where you add a splash of color to custom wood piece with an accent color or with contrasting wood. (This is one I’d really like to see included in 2024 wood finishing trends.)

A bright yellow, orange, or green for dark woods or a vibrant red or purple for light woods can be just the thing to make that special piece POP.

You can use this contrasting color overtly – such as on doors — or make it more of a surprise by painting the interior of a set of drawers.

According to RealSimple, mixed-color cabinets are all the rage right now. For example, in a kitchen, the row of upper cabinets or the center island are covered in a contrasting color to help them stand out (see below).

Historically popular choices are blue, gray, and black, but as previously mentioned, warm brown tones are making a comeback.

For the ultimate in durability, we recommend you “candy coat” these dark accent colors with our EM7000hbl, a non-yellowing water based lacquer…

Or use our EM9300 Polycarbonate Urethane, a non-yellowing water based polyurethane. 

This adds an extra level of protection to the color making it scratch resistant and easy to clean.

PART 2

So far, we have discussed trends focusing on “color” in the traditional sense.

The next two trends speak to consumers’ growing desire for “authenticity” and more environmentally friendly finishes.

Trend 3: “Wood Colors” and Wood Grain

Several of the articles we read agreed the trend towards warm brown colors is creating special interest in anything “brown adjacent,” especially natural wood colors. Light woods or dark woods doesn’t seem to matter — people just want to see “wood colors” and wood grain.

One of our main objectives is beautifying wood with ultra clear finishes, so we can’t hide our enthusiasm for this particular trend. We love to see the color and figure of wood grain and show it off for the world to see.

We have many great water based wood finishes that have unique characteristics, so a good place to start is our new Product Comparison Page.

It’s a huge help in deciding which coating is right for your project, and you can also contact us for suggestions.

Whichever you choose, we recommend first applying our EM1000 Universal Sanding Sealer to penetrate deeply into the wood grain and magnify the colors and figure of the wood.

Then, topcoat with our EM8000 Conversion Varnish to give it a hard but super smooth surface that’s durable and protective of the natural wood grain and your amazing project.

Trend 4: Environmental Focus

The final trend is another we saw mentioned across several sources and backed by data in Houzz’s 2024 Kitchen Trends Study.

It found that, “More than 9 in 10 homeowners opt for sustainable choices during their kitchen renovation.”

While the most popular reason cited for this was, “long-term cost-effectiveness” (71%), more than half (55%) said it was because sustainable options were, “environmentally friendly.”

We don’t want to toot our horn too much, but we would like to remind everyone that the products here at Target Coatings make a strong case for keeping up with this trend when it comes to finishing all your projects. 

All of our products are completely HAPs Free (Hazardous Air Pollutants), have low or ultra-low VOC formulas, and are all water based for easy cleanup and less impact on the environment.

If you or your customers are looking for ways to use more sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials, Emtech® is proud to support your efforts!

What wood finishing trends are YOU seeing (or would like to see) for 2024? Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below in the comments section.


Seth Kline has been a woodworker, wood finisher and business owner for the past 25 years. After helping grow his family’s home remodeling firm — Roy B Kline & Son  both as a craftsman and business operator, in 2013 Seth became the co-owner, lead woodworker, and shop manager of Stor Handmade Furniture, a highly successful solid wood furniture shop specializing in bespoke, hand-made and hand-finished pieces. In 2023, Seth launched SBCraftsman, which offers spray finishing and small business consulting to private clients. Originally from Pennsylvania, Seth now resides in Aberdeen, N.J., and is a proud member of the Central Jersey Woodworkers Association.

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