What Wood Pairs Well With Red Oak?(Surprising Combination)

Using red oak for furniture and other woodwork around the house makes sense. It’s the wood of choice for flooring and popular for other uses as well. But sticking to the same species for everything will make your setup a tad boring. 

You might be wondering what wood pairs well with red oak?

White ash pairs well with red oak. But you’ll need to keep a lot more in mind. The stain on the wood and the type of finish are important factors. Keeping those factors in mind you can easily pair the woods in any way you want. You can pair the woods by using them in a single piece or a set.

In short, that is your answer. But, we suggest you keep reading as we are about to delve deeper into the topic. 

What Wood And Why?

White ash. Why? It’s simple really. Both the woods are similar enough to be used together. Yet they have enough of a difference to not end up looking the same. 

Aesthetic Reasoning

Both red oak and white ash have similar grains and textures. They come with zig-zag grains and have a coarse texture. The end grains are also similar. Both species have large pores. 

All in all the two types of hardwood are similar enough to be each other’s substitutes. However, they are still different in color. White ash is mostly light brown. Red oak on the other hand can range from light to medium brown. 

There’s also a reddish tint on red oak wood. These subtle differences allow the woods to work well together. Sometimes they can even be used in the same piece. The contrast in them allows you to create an aesthetically pleasing look. 

Financial Reasoning

You can use white ash to lower your woodwork cost too. They are indeed different in color. But a dark coat of stain on white ash will produce an oak-like finish. You can make use of this feature to mix and match the two kinds of wood.

This will drive down cost. White ash can be found at $2.28 per board foot. Compared to the $3.44 price tag of red oak, it’s almost a 34% savings. That can add up to a substantial cost reduction. 

Aesthetics and savings aside you need to think about the health of the wood. Both ash and oak are susceptible to termites. And the popular solution bora care won’t be enough to keep the woods safe. You’ll need to look for alternatives.

That covers the why. But there’s still the question of how. 

How to Pair Oak and Ash?

Pairing different woods for an aesthetically pleasing look doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to make sure that the texture and grains are matched. With oak and ash that part is already covered. 

So here are a few ways you can pair the woods. 

Oak Floor and Ash Furniture

A good way to pair the two is to use white ash furniture. Red oak is naturally a darker wood. Hence a red oak floor would be nicely contrasted by the lighter ash. 

The similar grains on the two types of woods will keep the look from becoming disorienting. Another thing you should maintain is the finish on different pieces. Make sure that the different pieces used all look the same.

If you have a few inherited pieces of furniture you can work it in too. It’d help if the pieces are of a similar color tone as the other pieces. But make sure to revamp the old furniture with wood fillers and staining. 

Staining the fillers won’t be as simple as staining the wood though. It will take a bit more effort on your part. You can also look into stainable fillers. We suggest you use one of these.

Either of these will hold on to the stain much better than normal fillers. 

Oak and Ash over Carpet 

When the floor is made of oak, you can just bring in ash furniture. But what if you have a carpeted floor? The principle is still the same. 

Since oak is naturally darker, use it for the larger pieces in the room. And use ash for the smaller pieces. You might want to slap on a layer of UV protection when adding finishing touches. This will help maintain the look of the wooden surface longer. 

You can leave the ash pieces as they are. Or you can stain them to achieve a certain color. Here are the wood stains we would prefer for such a scenario. 

You can use these to give the pieces a darker tone. However, if you stain both the oak and the ash, the oak will turn out darker. 

Oak and Ash in the Same Piece

Till now the woods have been used separately to create a set. However, you can also use these together. The grains on the woods are the same. Hence, they’ll easily blend. 

You can use either to accent the other. It means making the majority of the piece out of one. And then adding in the other to make the handles, or the edges, etc. This gives the piece a uniquely eye-catching look. 

You can try this for wall cabinets, wardrobes, chairs, anything. And it is sure to come out looking artistic and attractive. 

What Else to Remember? 

We’ve already covered most of what you need to know. But there’s one last thing you should keep in mind. And this applies to all woodwork, not just mixing oak and ash.

You must use pieces of the same finish together. If the floors and the majority of pieces are sanded clean, don’t add a rustic piece. It will ruin the aesthetics of the room. Don’t do the opposite either. The result will be the same.

To make sure you don’t make that mistake you should learn more about wood finishes. On that note, if you choose to stain the wood, you’ll need a good brush. We would use one of these for that purpose.

These brushes are some of the best and will serve you well. And that covers our thoughts on mixing woods. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What items should I use in a room with a red oak floor?

Answer: You should use items with colors that bring out the warm undertones of the oak. Cherry red, ocher yellow, or lime green will have that effect. 

Question: Can you use gray with oak furniture?

Answer: Yes, you can. Grey will work with all kinds of oak. Lighter-colored oak furniture or ones that haven’t been stained look exceptionally well with gray.

Question: What are the differences between white and red oak?

Answer: Red oak is more porous than white oak. The endgrains on the white oak are tighter. There are fewer pores in the white oak than the red oak. In addition, the face grain on white oak has a tiger stripe pattern absent on red oak.


We hope now you know what wood pairs well with red oak? It’s a small and simple answer..

When using different kinds of woods to set up your room, don’t use too many. The more differences you introduce, the harder it’ll be to put everything together aesthetically.

Kevin Smith

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *