Light vs. Dark Wood Floors: Pros and Cons of Each Color Choice

You’ve decided to remodel your home and restore your floors. The house features gorgeous hardwood flooring; at least, it started out gorgeous. Time took its toll, and you now realize you need to strip and refinish the existing hardwood to save it. Sometimes, the professional contractor you call in for this project may tell you that you can’t save the flooring. Let’s consider your options if you can refinish the floors; if you can’t, you must put down new flooring.

Color choices comprise your first decision in designing your new room. With so many wood floor colors, you might wonder what would look best with your desired look.

Decide on Your Room Style

Everyone has a personal preference for light wood or dark wood. Sometimes, it depends on the room. For example, you might adore light, airy kitchens, so you want a white or sand-colored wood floor in that room. White or grey oak works ideally for this look.

You might want dark wood floors reminiscent of classical university libraries in your home office or library. This décor style, called dark academia, features woods with little grain visible and natural dark woods or deeply stained planks and sheets of wood. Walls often use sheets of veneer and match the flooring. The popularity of dark flooring makes it a smart choice if you’re updating the home to sell it.

Whatever you choose, light or dark, you choose the right flooring for you. Where you use light or dark wood flooring makes all the difference to the décor’s outcome, though. Some rooms in your home may need a lighter or darker color of wood stain. Let’s consider how wood color and room size influence each other.

Room Size and Wood Color

Since flooring color influences how large a room feels, you can use it to enlarge a smaller room. Choose light-colored wood like pine or white oak to create an airy space in a small room. To make a vast room feel more intimate, choose dark wood flooring.

If you need to refinish your existing colors, choose oak or maple stains to enlarge the space. To create a cozier aesthetic in an oversized room, use darker stains on the flooring, such as mahogany or ebony. What about medium-sized rooms? You can choose either in a medium-sized room or with a walnut stain that offers a color that’s not too light or dark.

Wood Flooring and Existing Furnishings

Since wood offers a neutral material, essentially all furnishings go with it. You can place a cherry-finished chair on mahogany floors, which will still look great. The only exception to this happens when the furnishings include the opposite undertone of the flooring.

Wood, like human skin, either has a warm or cool undertone. Warm undertones take on a reddish or pink hue, while cool undertones appear bluish. As long as the undertones match, your furnishings will match the flooring.

Your flooring influences the home’s vibe or feel. Typically, lighter-colored wood floors offer a more casual feel. Darker woods evoke a more formal feeling and make a space feel elegant.

This doesn’t work the same way with existing wood-building elements. If you install new kitchen flooring, use the same wood as the cabinets. It’s safe to go two shades lighter than the cabinets, but that’s all.

Cleaning Considerations

Light hardwood flooring shows less dirt and debris than dark hardwood. If you have little time to clean, your oak or pine floors show the week’s traffic less than ebony or mahogany does. You can put off sweeping and vacuuming until Saturday with lighter-colored wood. Use light flooring in high-traffic rooms, especially if you have pets or children.

Also, no matter what shade of stain you choose, go with the satin finish to show fewer dents, scratches, and other time-caused imperfections. Also, to help your flooring last longer, screen and recoat it every three to four years.

Beware of rooms with many windows and wood floors. While natural light enlivens a room and makes it feel larger, it can also fade the wood flooring. This increases the importance of the recoating process. Lighter natural hardwoods fade more quickly than darker hardwoods, so ebony floors keep their appearance longer than natural pine or oak.

Modern Flooring Choices for Wood Floors

Modern flooring choices can save you if you want to replace your flooring as a do-it-yourself project but have little DIY experience. That’s because you can purchase natural wood flooring using the click-and-lock installation method or tongue and groove flooring that fits together similarly to a jigsaw puzzle.

These easy-to-install flooring options don’t reduce your choices. For instance, at From the Forest, you’ll find more than 20 options for click-and-lock hardwood flooring and more than 70 options for tongue and groove hardwood planks. The color choices include white, grey, a variety of browns, and a luxe number that appears nearly black.

Choosing Traditional Wood Flooring

What if you want truly traditional décor? Perhaps you want to replicate the pale wood floors in your grandmother’s farmhouse. Try reclaimed wood planks. Construction experts salvage these planks from historic-aged properties undergoing update or demolition. Common choices include reclaimed pine from colonial barns.

Choosing Light or Dark Wood Flooring

In summary, your lifestyle and personal preferences decide whether light or dark wood floors best suit your home. Today’s modern flooring options provide you with a plethora of wood floor colors. Start shopping at stores like From the Forest, specializing in hardwood flooring, matching trim, wall treatments, and the installation and cleaning supplies you need to perfect the installation and upkeep.

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