Let’s Talk Floor Color

By Lori Howard at simpleFLOORS Austin

One of the biggest decisions when choosing a hardwood floor is what color will be best for your space. People tend to naturally gravitate towards one extreme or another with a preference for either dark or light floors. The color is the most noticeable part of your flooring and something that you will be living with for a very long time. So how do you choose?

Dark Colors?

A lot of people are really drawn to dark wood floors. They are dramatic and rich looking and make a bold statement in a room when paired with the right wall colors and furnishings. A lot of people ask if dark flooring will make their room look small. This is the most common concern of choosing dark flooring. The truth is obviously dark flooring can make a room look dark, but it is all about what you do with the rest of the décor and room colors that makes the difference.

Dark floors can make a bold beautiful statement when paired very light walls and white trim. Natural light will brighten a room with dark floors but utilizing plenty of light fixtures with bright white bulbs will also really brighten up a dark wood floor.

Light Colors?

Many people are drawn to lighter shades when choosing their flooring color. Light colors are versatile with any size room, they are timeless (think natural oak colored flooring) and they are easy to decorate around. Lighter colors can make a room feel larger and brighter. However, lighter floors don’t make as strong a statement as dark floors do and they are more common. They are safer, work in all rooms and tend to blend in instead of standing out.

Light floors don’t lighten a room all on their own though. They also must be paired with the right color walls and trim in order to avoid appearing drab or boring. Lighting is also hugely important with lighter flooring colors. Lots of natural light and good use of lighting fixtures is still very important if you are looking to brighten and add life to a smaller room. A room can have white walls, light floors and still feel small if it is lacking good lighting.

Which one wears better?

Besides thinking design and décor, it is very important for you to choose your floor for how it will look over time. Lighter floors tend to hide marks and scratches that show more easily on a very dark floor so light is a good choice for a home that will get a lot of traffic, wear and tear. Dark shiny floors show the most wear and tear over time of any type of flooring. If you want to balance your desire for a darker more dramatic floor, opt for one with some grain variation, hand-scraping and chiseling effects. These effects tend to hide marks when they occur on dark floors. Look for a floor that has character that will grow over time with daily wear and tear as opposed to one that cannot risk a single mark. Dark floors need to be maintained more often; they show dust and pet hair more easily than a lighter colored floor. You will need to sweep and clean your dark floors more often than their lighter counterparts. So if you are not thrilled with cleaning, maybe lighter is better for your home.

If you have a hand scraped and/or chiseled dark floor it is easy to touch up marks with a stain pen and blend them into the character of your floor. So the trade-off is that if you want the dramatic rich feel that a darker floor brings, you can opt for one with some variation and character that will hide wear and tear. Just understand that you may need to blend in some character of your own along the way! If you opt for dark shiny floors, know that you will have to be more careful with them. If the higher maintenance is worth the look of a shiny dark floor to you, then at least go into it accepting that you will have to be quite careful and will put more work into keeping it look good.

Final decisions?

When choosing the right flooring color for your home, you have to try your best to balance what you love with what you can live with. Compromise is often the best advice with flooring as in life! Knowing what your options are and making your choices with that understanding is the best advice for picking your floor color. There is nothing worse than entering into a love affair with your new shiny dark floors just to find out that the first morning when you wake up that there is a layer of dust that you cannot look past on your prize possession that no one warned you about!

Ultimately, you can use the design of your room lighting and décor to make even the smallest room look spacious, bright and beautiful with your dark floors. You can also warm up and add a dramatic flair to your lighter floors by pairing them with the rich wall colors, the right lighting and furniture. One thing that is for sure, with all of the colors and textures available there is a floor for everyone!