Knowledge Center

Hardwood Floor - What is the Right Color?

January 25, 2016

Your flooring plays just as important a role in your color scheme as your walls and furniture do. When it comes to hardwood flooring, you are not stuck with only one color. Wood flooring comes in a variety of tones, so choosing one that complements your décor can be rather easy. Here are some things to consider when determining which color is best for you.

Size of Room

Light wood tones tend to work best in very small rooms, as dark colors can make an area appear boxy. Even so, there may be occasions when dark wood is well suited for small rooms. One is whenever the space is connected to another larger room or hallway that has similar flooring. The continuity in flooring will actually help draw the eye beyond the room’s walls, allowing it to seem bigger. Dark wood is often preferred in very large rooms because it makes the space seem smaller and cozier. However, the presence of dark colored cabinets or trim might make a dark floor overwhelming, in which case a medium or light tone would be better instead.

Style

Generally speaking, dark wood tones are considered more formal, and are therefore ideal for dining rooms and living rooms. Light tones are thought to be informal, which is why they are often chosen for children’s playrooms. When choosing, you should consider not only the purpose of your room, but the other furniture and fixtures that are in it, providing contrasting tones whenever possible. For example, a kitchen with dark cabinets might look better with light wood floors and vice versa. Try to avoid using all dark or light tones whenever possible, as mixing things up will provide you with better aesthetics.

Maintenance

Light wood tends to hide dirt and dust better than dark wood, and also makes scratches less noticeable. As such, you should avoid installing dark wood in high traffic areas such as your foyer or kitchen unless you are prepared to mop and wax them on a regular basis. On the other hand, dark wood may be better for you if you prefer your flooring to have a somewhat worn appearance, since dark planks will show wear and tear sooner. Some people find this a desirable feature, particularly when placing wood floors in rustic or historic homes.

Cost

Some species of wood cost more than others, and can therefore affect your choice. Cherry and walnut are both dark species, and tend to be more expensive than poplar or aspen, which are two light-colored species. The cost of wood varies by geographic area, and is based on availability, drying cost, demand, and a host of other factors. Prices are constantly fluctuating, so you should lock in costs with your contractor whenever possible to avoid sudden increases.

These are just a few things to keep in mind when choosing between light and dark hardwood floors. There are no right or wrong choices, so you should feel free to consider your own personal preferences as well.