Updating the flooring in your home to beautiful wood floors is a significant investment. Hardwood flooring can be a timeless and classy look in any room, but learning how to choose the right color is essential before you jump into installing a different wood floor.
There are so many colors to choose from, from light wood tones like ash and oak to dark wood hues such as walnut, or redder ones like cherry wood. Depending on your home’s look and a few other criteria, choosing the right one helps you fall in love with your house all over again.
Hardwood Floor Color Choices 101
Did you know that not every type of “hardwood floor” is hardwood? There are softwoods too. Let’s cover everything you need to know to choose the perfect wood floor color for your rooms.
When it comes time to make significant changes like this, it’s essential to take the time to make the best decisions. Different treatments can make very noticeable changes in your floor color, whether light or dark, painted, or stained.
Start With What You Love
Are you working around your favorite heirloom furniture pieces, decorating your first home, or updating an old house to a modern look? No matter what final look you are looking for, when it comes to choosing the right hardwood flooring color, the first step is to determine the kind of result you want.
Color families can radically alter the feel of your interior design & decorating, and we’ll talk a little more about that below. Whatever final product you want, whether that be rustic and warm, or modern and cool, start by looking for lots of samples that play well with your planned decor.
Try It, Before You Buy It
First things first, before you buy enough flooring to finish your project, or paint, stain, or even start ripping out your old floor remember to try it out. Color swatches and samples aren’t just for paint and wallpaper.
Make sure to try your new look before you make the financial commitment to keep it, or start nailing it down. That goes for wood choices, stain choices, and even paint – yes, paint. While many people avoid painting wood, this isn’t something you should dismiss out of hand.
To Paint, or Not To Paint
Yes, this is an option, though one that many people dismiss offhand. If you are looking for a bright color, or one that isn’t easy to come by when it comes to wood varieties, paint is acceptable for wood floorings. It’s not for everyone but is great at bringing beachy vibes to a room.
Softer woods, like pine, cedar, or spruce, may not stand up to high traffic areas, kitchen chairs, pets, or kids. If you need a durable, tough floor, choose a hardwood, like maple, oak, or walnut.
All of these woods species can be stained to get you a darker look if you want it, or left lighter, depending on the finish you choose. Remember, though, each of these woods has a different grain and takes finish staining differently. That goes back to trying before you buy, you’ll want to do a test stain on any wood you choose, first.
The finish of the wood is either the sealer or stain used to seal the wood. Believe it or not, this is also where the wood oftentimes gets the deep colors commonly found in hardwood floorings.
You can get anything from deep, dark mahogany to a brilliant cherry color depending on what finish treatment you use. Darker stains also accentuate the wood grain, causing the natural pattern to pop and adding character to the wood.
Simply sealing the wood and not staining it can preserve the natural tones, leaving you a lighter, brighter color. The sealant protects the wood and helps to keep it from taking on stains such as from wine or grape juice.
Undertones aren’t just important in makeup and paint colors; each stain color has an undertone that is either warm or cool. Deep reds have a warm brown undertone, which is lovely in a rustic room but may look dated if you are going for a modern look.
Cool undertones don’t have to feel dull or boring, though. You can get a slick, modern look with a silvery-grey stain that showcases a floor with bright, cool tones. The important thing to remember here is to choose a color family that makes you happy and fits the overall look of your room.
If you have anchor pieces, like furniture, art, or decor that you absolutely know aren’t going anywhere, make sure that whatever you choose looks good with them. You will have this floor for a long time, so having compatible pieces will make any future redecorating easier.
The grain is the pattern that shows on the surface of the wood floor. Stain accentuates the wood grain, showing the patterns better and adding character to the floor. Once you have chosen a color family, we recommend looking through a lot of samples to find a pattern that makes you smile.
A good wood flooring can last for the life of your home with proper maintenance , so it’s essential that you choose not only something compatible with your favorite things but one that feels right to you. Part of the character of the wood is the grain, so choose carefully.
Fall In Love With Your Flooring
Real hardwood flooring is gorgeous, and when it comes to color, there are many, many options out there. Just remember, this is your floor, and in most cases, it should be the best possible combination of color, durability, and grain for you. With great care, it will last a lifetime.
If, for some reason, you are choosing the perfect color for a house you are going to sell, match those things with the overall architecture of the interior of the home. Also it is necessary to polish them time to time. Lighter colors will open up smaller rooms, while dark wood floors can add a classic (or dated) look, depending on the overall look of the home.