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Is walnut furniture in style?

Walnut furniture has been a staple in homes for centuries. Its rich, warm brown color and striking grain patterns make it a timeless choice. As with most trends, the popularity of walnut furniture has ebbed and flowed throughout the decades. However, it remains a classic style that never truly goes out of fashion.

The History of Walnut Furniture

Walnut trees are native to North America, Europe, and Asia, and the wood has been used in furniture making since ancient times. Walnut timber was highly prized by early American furniture makers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Simple but sturdy walnut furniture was common in Colonial American homes. During the 19th century walnut furniture increased in popularity and designers created more ornate styles featuring rich carvings and veneers.

The most popular period for walnut antiques is the Victorian era. Walnut wood was used to create intricately carved chairs, tables, wardrobes, and more. Victorian walnut furniture pieces are now sought after collector’s items. Other periods known for walnut furniture include Queen Anne, Chippendale, and Art Deco styles.

The Mid-Century Walnut Craze

Mid-century modern style, popular in the 1950s and 60s, relied heavily on walnut. The wood’s smooth texture and ability to be easily bent and molded was ideal for the clean, simple lines of retro-inspired furniture. Danish and American designers like George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames created iconic mid-century pieces in walnut such as credenzas, lounge chairs, and triangular tables.

The craze for mid-century modern has been revived in recent decades. Walnut remains a top choice for reproductions and retro-inspired contemporary furniture. Its natural beauty and warm glow fits seamlessly into mid-century, boho, and modern spaces.

The Allure of Walnut Furniture

So what makes walnut so appealing decade after decade? There are several factors that contribute to its lasting popularity:

  • Rich color – Walnut wood has a chocolatey brown hue that adds warmth wherever it’s used.
  • Beautiful grain – The flowing, swirling grain patterns of walnut wood are mesmerizing and unique to each piece.
  • Workability – Walnut is relatively soft and easy to cut and shape into various designs.
  • Durability – Walnut furniture stands the test of time. Pieces made over a century ago still endure today.
  • Timeless style – The minimalist shapes and graceful curves of walnut suit traditional and contemporary aesthetics.

Beyond its appearance, walnut holds sentimental value for many. Family heirlooms like walnut dining sets or bedroom suites carry generations of memories. Its nostalgic charm makes the wood difficult to replace.

Is Walnut In Style Today?

Currently, walnut furniture is enjoying a revival once again. The craving for natural textures and sustainable materials in home decor has put the spotlight back on this classic hardwood. Some ways walnut is appearing in contemporary interior design include:

  • Minimalist furniture – Walnut wood pairs perfectly with pared-down, modernist furniture. Its neutral tone serves as a simple backdrop that lets other colors and textures shine.
  • Kitchen cabinets/tables – Walnut’s water-resistance makes it ideal for kitchen furniture. Its soft glow provides warmth against sleek countertops and backsplashes.
  • Accent walls/built-ins – Architects are using walnut paneling on walls and custom cabinetry to create stunning focal points.
  • Bedroom collections – The natural look and feel of walnut offers a peaceful ambiance for sleeping spaces.
  • Office furniture – Walnut desks and bookshelves provide warmth and reduced visual noise for home offices.

Beyond furniture, walnut is appearing on accessories like cutting boards, charcuterie boards, and kitchen utensils. Walnut is also a trendy choice for flooring due to its rich color and natural texture when stained.

Walnut Furniture in Modern Spaces

The question remains – does walnut furniture mesh well with today’s interiors? Or does it read as outdated? Interior designers seem to agree that walnut’s versatility makes it a fixture in contemporary homes. The key is incorporating it thoughtfully within current styles. Some suggestions include:

  • Transitional spaces – Blend traditional walnut pieces with modern and contemporary elements. The mix of old and new creates an eclectic, collected look.
  • All-white color schemes – Use walnut as a contrasting accent against bright, airy spaces. Walnut dining chairs or console tables really pop against white.
  • Coastal rooms – Walnut’s natural grain pairs perfectly with white wash or beach-inspired color palettes.
  • Earthy tones – Coordinate walnut with terra cotta, olive green, or avocado accents and textiles.
  • Brass fixtures – The warmth of unlacquered brass and walnut play nicely together.
  • Industrial lofts – Walnut softens stark, modern spaces and adds organic texture.

Walnut can fit seamlessly in all different design aesthetics by using color, texture, and styling to make it feel current. While walnut furniture has roots in the past, it also has an exciting future in the world of interior design.


Walnut may never be as trendy as rose gold or millennial pink, but it has something even better – staying power. The understated elegance and versatility of walnut furniture keeps it circulating through the decades while flashy trends fade. Its natural beauty, sentimental charm, and flexibility make walnut a sound investment and fixture in the modern home. While its popularity may rise and fall, walnut retains its status as a new classic. For those looking to make a sophisticated, lasting statement, walnut furniture remains an excellent choice.

Era Walnut Furniture Style
17th & 18th century Simple colonial American styles
Victorian Era Ornate, carved furniture
Mid-Century Retro, modular pieces
Today Minimalist, modernist, natural

Related Questions

What are the different styles of walnut furniture?

Walnut furniture comes in a wide range of styles including:

  • Traditional – Ornate carved walnut furniture from the Victorian, Queen Anne, and Chippendale movements.
  • Country – Simple walnut pieces like armoires and farmhouse tables.
  • Mid-Century Modern – Walnut was used extensively in retro-inspired furniture of the 1950s/60s.
  • Contemporary – Clean lines and minimalist shapes in walnut suit today’s interiors.
  • Transitional – A blend of traditional and modern walnut pieces.

What are the pros and cons of walnut furniture?


  • Beautiful rich color and grain
  • Withstands daily wear and tear
  • Easy to clean and care for
  • Versatile enough to suit any style
  • Timeless, enduring look


  • On the expensive side
  • Susceptible to scratches and dents
  • Not as stain resistant as teak or maple
  • Requires periodic re-oiling

Is walnut furniture eco-friendly?

Yes, walnut is an environmentally friendly wood choice. Reasons include:

  • It’s sourced from abundant, rapid-growing trees.
  • Walnut trees filter CO2 from the air.
  • The trees are nearly zero-waste.
  • Walnut furniture is highly durable and long-lasting.
  • It can be easily repaired, recycled or repurposed.

Many manufacturers use reclaimed walnut from old buildings or furniture. This gives it an even smaller environmental footprint.

The Takeaway

Walnut may wax and wane in popularity, but its classic elegance keeps it relevant through the ages. Its soft texture, swirls, and timeworn look never cease to delight. Today, walnut feels right at home in contemporary, minimalist spaces where its natural beauty shines. For those desiring furniture that makes a statement but stands the test of time, walnut is a safe, eco-friendly bet.