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Best warm toned wood stain colors

Want to add warm color to wood? Here are the best warm toned wood stain colors to use on your next wood project! Learn which stains complement cherry, oak, mahogany, pine, cedar, and more to achieve your desired finish.

Applying a colored stain can completely transformed the finished look of a piece of wood furniture. You might want to stain wood to make it look like a different species, or just to give it a different aesthetic.

But, picking a stain color can be hard. There are so, so many choices. We always suggest that you think about how you want your project to feel when narrowing your stain down to a certain color family.

If you want your wood to have depth and character to it, you probably want to focus on warm toned wood stains.

Let’s talk about what makes a warm toned stain and the best colors to choose from!

5 best warm toned wood stain for diyers

When & where to use warm toned wood stains

Warm wood stains give your wood project a deeper, but still natural wood look. Warm tones are definitely on trend at the moment and most shades are always great for wood furniture and floors.

In general, warm tones work best on woods with a natural warm undertone – or white woods that you are trying to give the look of a naturally warm toned wood.

Discuss the suitability of these warm-toned stains for different wood types, mentioning which woods they complement best.

Warm toned wood stains work best on these wood types:

  • Cherry wood
  • Oak (both red and white oak)
  • Mahogany
  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Douglas Fir
  • Light Maple
10 colors of wood stain on oak

Warm toned wood stains can be used to give white woods – like pine or white wood – the look similar to the following wood species:

  • Cherry: Warm stains on white woods can simulate the reddish tones and depth found in cherry wood.
  • Walnut: Stains can give white woods the rich, dark brown hues reminiscent of walnut.
  • Mahogany: Warm stains can provide white woods with the deep, warm tones resembling mahogany’s richness.
  • Teak: Certain warm stains can replicate the golden-brown tones and warmth of teak wood.
  • Oak: Stains can create grain patterns and warmth similar to red or white oak on lighter woods.

Always test stains on sample pieces or hidden areas to gauge their final appearance on your specific wood before full application.

5 best warm toned wood stains

Popular Warm-Toned Wood Stain Colors

Here are the best warm toned colors to use for wood staining.

Rich Mahogany

Mahogany stains have warm, reddish-brown tones.

Mahogany stains work exceptionally well on hardwoods like mahogany itself, cherry, or walnut. These stains deepen the wood’s natural richness and enhance the grain patterns.

The best mahogany wood stain colors include:

A New Bar Set Up - Charleston Crafted

Golden Oak

The golden hues of this stain are ideal for bringing out the natural warmth of lighter wood types like pine or oak. Because it’s lighter, it’s less likely to show up much on woods that naturally have a darker color to them. That’s a bit like using a yellow pen on a dark sheet of paper – underwhelming results.

Golden oak stains are versatile and complement a wide range of woods, particularly lighter woods such as pine, oak, maple, and birch. They highlight the wood’s natural grain while adding a warm, golden hue.

The best golden oak wood stain colors include:

Wide shot of two tiered serving tray
two tiered serving tray, made from oak, oiled


Cherry stains have a reddish warmth and luxurious depth, ideal for enhancing the beauty of hardwoods.

Cherry stains are an excellent match for cherry wood (enhancing its natural color), as well as maple and other lighter hardwoods. They add warmth and a reddish undertone to these woods.

The best cherry wood stain colors include:

apothecary table before


Chestnut stains have a medium-brown warmth, and are often used to add a cozy and rustic feel to woodworking projects.

Chestnut stains tend to work well with woods like oak, ash, or hickory. They impart a medium-brown warmth, adding depth and character to these grainy woods.

The best chestnut wood stain colors include:

DIY Terrazzo Side Table - Charleston Crafted


Amber stains have a golden, honey-like tone, perfect for infusing a warm and inviting touch to wood surfaces.

Amber stains complement woods like ash, pine, or birch. They bring out the lighter tones in these woods, adding a golden, honey-like warmth.

The best amber wood stain colors include:

wooden wall hanging christmas tree

Creating Custom Blends or Mixes

If you can’t find the perfect wood stain color, you can always mix two colors to create the perfect custom tone for your project.

The key with mixing stains is to make enough to do your whole project at once. If you run out halfway through – it’s really hard to exactly match a second batch.

Another option is to layer 2 stains on top of each other. This is my go-to option if you do a coat of stain and don’t love the look – consider layering a similar but different stain on top. Just always test in an inconspicuous spot, first!

applying pre stain wood conditioner to poplar

Finishing Touches and Maintenance

Once your wood is stained and you are happy with the color, you will want to apply a top coat to protect and preserve your wood surface.

We typically use polyurethane, but you can check out our test of all of the top natural wood sealant options, too.

I personally prefer a matte finish to give the stained wood a more natural look, but they come in glossy or semi-gloss finishes as well.

Allow your top coat to fully cure according to the package instructions before handling heavily.

Sealant makes your wood project easy to maintain. Once your project is fully cured, you can wipe any spills or dirt with a soft damp cloth.

water based polyurethane

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