Today, wooden floors come in all sorts of colors and this guarantees that even the craziest designer’s idea can be turned into reality.
One of the things that make interior design so interesting is creativity and breaking traditional boundaries, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any rules that should be followed.
Yes, you can use any color you like, but you should be ready to face costly and bad-looking (often irreparable) fashion mistakes.
Using light or dark hardwood floors is easy these days as floors change from a variety of whites and bamboo yellows to the darkest of mahogany and ebony colors.
Image source: Celebrity communities
There are pros and cons of both dark and light floors that need to be considered before making a final decision. We have summarized them in a detailed guide on how to choose the color of the parquet floor and we warmly invite you to check:
Which are easier to clean?
Source: Abundant DESIGN
In this case, we need to give light floors a definite advantage just because dirt is actually less visible on them. If you are really a fan of darker floors, choose a slightly lighter material (dark walnut over Jacobean or Jacobean instead of ebony).
A good tactic that can be used regardless of color is to cover floors with tiny satin finishes that perfectly hide dirt, imperfections, and scratches.
Imagine a complementary or contrasting color
Image source: 450 Architects, Inc.
With a few dark pieces of furniture inside, be sure to avoid dark floors. What you would achieve in this case is a complete closure effect, which means elements merge into one another and there is no center of gravity to attract attention.
Dark floors look great with light furniture, or vice versa. Midtones are also a good, balanced solution and are best suited for future homeowners looking for a house to house their furniture in. When choosing floors for multiple rooms, try to maintain visual consistency and not jump from one solution to the next.
This way you just get a patchwork look that suggests you are out of color and instead compensated with another. To further complicate matters, designers say that floors should match the overall appearance of your home, whatever that means.
Resale value: lighter or darker colors
Image source: main building
More specifically, which company is likely to have a higher ROI (return on investment). Note, however, that this equation has two parts: the preference of the numerator and the cost set by the denominator.
If we look at the past few years, preferences have generally shifted to darker floors and natural combinations of dark spots and light colors.
One trend that seems to be disappearing from the scene is the use of shades of red as these are viewed as being too polarizing and you are definitely not as home as you would like to sell.
Image source: MAK Studio
Wood flooring is not just about color, there are many other things to consider! When discussing the style, we will refer to different textures and materials available on the market: smooth marble-like floors with high gloss surfaces, log house floors with a rustic look or extremely natural choices with knots. You decide!
Ultra-modern homes prefer lighter floors with sleek lines and architectural definitions, while traditional homes prefer darker variations that are reminiscent of the time they were built.
While this is a good way to go, we encourage you to think about what you really want and above all else, choose a floor that suits your tastes and needs.
Comparison of susceptibility to scratches
Image source: Highgate Builders
Scratches are the same on all wooden floors – the question is which type of floor makes them less obvious. In simplest terms, scratches with dark floors are more scratchy because the scratch itself is lighter than the stain and creates a visible contrast.
So if you have busy households with children playing and pets running, your solution should be scratch floors to hide inevitable scratches as much as possible.
Another good idea is a lighter colored floor or a high-gloss cover that is not that easy to scratch in the first place.
Go into details
Image source: John Lum Architecture, Inc. AIA
The decision is not as easy as “dark” or “light”. Both dark and light categories have millions of shades and undertones that you can use to your advantage to achieve the look you want.
Hardwood can be reddish, distinctly yellowish, or even neutral. Compare and choose the one that best suits your furniture.
Image source: Osborne Cabinets and Millwork, Inc.
Not all of your furniture has to harmonize with the floor, but it certainly is an essential piece. We call these pieces “Architectural Features” and these can be large dining tables, sofas, kitchen islands, fireplaces, etc.
For example, we recommend enriching your brick fireplace with neutral gray floors or using significantly darker cabinets that remove the monotony.
Another good suggestion is to avoid dark floors under dark cabinets, mostly because their colors are highly unlikely to match.
Most people would tell you that they are more annoyed with small mismatches than two completely different colors that have nothing in common (and that’s actually true!). Contrasts are better than unsuccessful matches, as the later ones suggest that you didn’t really care about your space, but instead the first thing that came to mind.
Start with rehearsals
Image source: Studio M interior design
Go to the local dealer, select the patterns you want and take them home with you. You need to check that they match your furniture, or at least how they look when exposed to different lighting conditions.
The basic comparison that you need to make on any occasion is to see how a color works in daylight and artificial light. This is the ultimate test before your final purchase.
We recommend that you select only three samples to avoid mix-ups. Taking all the samples you find doesn’t get any easier, but you can think more about it instead.
When you shop, you also care about the price. Some floors are ridiculously expensive (hickory, Brazilian cherry) while others seem too cheap for the quality they offer (walnut, oak, ivory).
Due to its availability in all possible colors (chocolate brown, reddish, etc.), oak is considered a very good solution.
The size of the room
Image source: Levy Art & Architecture
The lighter the bigger, there’s no reason this visual trick doesn’t apply to hardwood floors. When the floor is lighter, the room appears airy and spacious, while a darker one adds to its powerful and dramatic appearance.
Still, it all depends on how you combine color with furniture and how your new floor is exposed to natural and artificial light.
Large homes and open floor plans generally look better with dark hardwood floors.
Smaller rooms could take advantage of this, provided the furniture / walls are lighter and there is enough sunlight (furnishings) to make the room appear more spacious.
One thing is for sure, although dark floors are never good in rooms with small or no windows.
How dark is dark after all?
Image source: Kariouk Associates
The darkest choice you have is ebony. Some people think this is not enough for them and they use a technique called “water pop” to make it look darker.
As mentioned earlier, dark floors are not that popular due to maintenance issues and many people try to compensate for this by combining ebony and Jacobean in a 50/50 combo.
The darkness of Jacobean and the warmth of ebony always look fantastic together.
Dark walnut is a little lighter in color compared to Jacobean, but it’s the perfect solution in case the Jacobean is too dark for you. You can even get lighter with antique and coffee browns.
Finally there is no rule! Everyone perceives colors differently, and it all depends on what you like or what you dare to use.
Image source: Kurt Johnson Photography
Using light or dark wood floors is a smart and important solution for any home. With a little creativity, this can become the most fun design experience you’ve ever had at home.
You need to take inspiration from it, choose floors that suit your style and furniture, and worry about some ground rules and principles that can create or break the magic of hardwood floors.