Should Flooring Be Lighter or Darker Than Furniture?

It's natural to think that décor, like clothes, should match perfectly, but not in the case of flooring and furniture. When you create a monochromatic room scape, it creates a flat interior like a vast desert.

Rules of Tone

Instead of exactly matching shade for shade, when decorating with wood, use a tone-for-tone rule. Wood either has a cool, warm, or neutral tone. Warm wood features hints of orange, red, or yellow. Cool tones feature hints of blue or gray. Neutral wood matches with either.

Use warm-toned furnishings with warm-toned flooring and cool-toned furnishings with cool-toned flooring. Neutral-toned furnishings you can use on any flooring.

Create Visual Contrast

Here's the second rule decorators use to make hardwood floored rooms come alive - light floors, dark furniture; dark floors, light furniture. That's an oversimplification, but it gets you started with the right idea.

With wood that appears white or sand-colored, use darker wood furnishings, such as mahogany, ebony, or walnut. Use lighter wood furniture on ebony or mahogany floors, such as white oak, oak, or pine.

Combine the Two Rules: Tone and Color

The red-streaked box elder flooring or live edge cedar looks fabulous paired with cherry furnishings. Conversely, cherry floors look great with furnishings in much lighter wood, such as cedar or aspen. Dark floors, such as smoked chestnut or hickory, look best with light-colored furniture like white oak.

Colors Convey Décor Theme

When building your décor, you can mix some rustic with polished pieces, but judiciously. How you integrate furniture and flooring determines the feel of your room. Start by choosing your flooring.

Dark wood floors: convey a high-class tone of sophistication. The room will appear to have more depth.

Light wood floors: convey a rustic or coastal tone. Their light color helps create an airy feel and makes small rooms seem larger.

If you're unsure, choose medium-colored wood flooring. You can always have a medium tone stained darker, but you'd have to sand the floors to start over to take a dark wood to a light color, such as whitewashed.

Don't Overdo Mixing Contrasting Pieces

Create a color palette for each room with two to three colors. Similarly, with wood grains, two to three maximize impact without making the room too busy.

Keep the room scape simple with a clearly defined palette that offers a comfortable, pulled-together look. Use rugs featuring the colors of your palette to add color to the floor. They'll also help protect your hardwood floors from scratches and dirt.

Light or Dark Wood by Room

Let the room's use influence the color of your hardwood flooring. Dark woods show dirt and dust easily. This fact makes them poor choices for foyers, hallways, and playrooms. Dark woods look lovely in a conservatory, library, home office, or other rooms where many rarely track in dirt.

Light-colored flooring stands up to daily wear and tear better. It hides pet hair and works well with the high traffic that small children bring into the home. Light hardwoods work terrifically in foyers and playrooms. They're ideal for bedrooms since nearly all the furniture looks excellent on them.

Furniture Beyond Wood

When decorating your home, you don't have to stick to wood on wood for it to look good. Try a modern look that pairs metal furniture with hardwood floors.
Metals like bronze, brass, steel, silver, and gold offer an industrial feel. Glass, granite, or marble lend a modern feel. All of these options pair well with hardwood floors.

Size Matters, Too

Contrast the sizes of the furniture pieces, too. Use one large piece as the focal point of the room, such as a sofa in the living room. Mix in smaller pieces of furniture, such as wingback chairs and ottomans.

Vary the scale of tables, too. Coffee tables, end tables, and occasional tables all work well together.

Typically, delicate furnishings and light-colored floors match well, while more assertive, bulky pieces of furniture go better with dark wood floors.

Going Beyond the Basics

You're still not done once you've installed the floor, unrolled the carpets, and placed the furniture. You've only begun.

Comfortable, cozy rooms require layers. Until you add the little touches that enliven a room, you essentially have a movie or TV set. So, what do we mean?
Hang art on the walls that match your color palette. Either hang pieces in a collection format in one area on a wall or take the maximalist approach and cover an entire wall in artwork.

Place real or faux plants throughout the room. Hang them in planters from the ceiling or place them on bookshelves and windowsills.
Hang window treatments that match your chosen color scheme and décor theme.

Intersperse objects, art, and knick-knacks throughout the room. This interspersion doesn't mean cluttering the room; one item here and there adds depth to the room and shows your personality.

Getting Started

Every room décor starts with the flooring, so acquire the proper foundation for your décor at From The Forest, a flooring store specializing in hardwood, engineered hardwood, and laminate flooring. We also carry cleaning and scratch treatment supplies and materials.

Also, shop From The Forest's extensive selection of wall and ceiling wood options. From shiplap for your walls to oak flooring for your foyer, you can find it online at From The Forest. Get free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

Do you still have questions about which flooring color would work best for your home? If you're not sure which tone of wood matches your existing furniture, contact customer service at From The Forest for help choosing the right flooring for your décor.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.