Karen’s Tips for Selecting the Right Color Hardwood

The finish and color of hardwood flooring can look rustic or elegant, but all shades are timeless choices that add beauty to the home. The choice of wood flooring is one that people need to consider carefully because it has some control over what wall colors will work in the room. Most wood finishes can pair with a variety of colors, so there is some leeway when the homeowner desires a change. Here are some guidelines to use when installing a new floor.

Design for Contrast

Many home experts agree that the floor color should be darker than the walls. The rule generally applies because lighter walls and a dark floor make the room seem larger. Most homeowners prefer a spacious looking interior. However, the rule can change with low ceilings. In this instance, the homeowner may want to create the illusion of height, and a floor finish lighter than the walls can help to accomplish this task.

Match the Undertones

Every hardwood floor has different color tones within the wood after the stain application. Look closely to find these undertones. For example, a light oak will often have yellow or cream undertones and a dark cherry finish will have red or mahogany. Homeowners should look for flooring colors that have an undertone that matches their paint. The combination will help to highlight that color on the floor.

Avoid Monotone Rooms

Stay away from colors that blend too well with the floor. Matching the wall color with the dominate color of the floor can look boring. Monotone color schemes, especially with darker or very bright colors, can make the room feel small and too closed-in for comfort.

Choose Flattering Colors

Light hardwoods look beautiful in rooms with pale yellow, beige or cream-colored walls. White can sometimes wash out the glow of the floor and appear too stark. Dark hardwoods can pair with deep, rich reds and browns as easily as they do with bright green and orange or even a steely grey. A mixture of very dark hardwood and crisp white walls is eye-catching and bold, but sometimes too much of a contrast for homeowners. Rooms in this color palette risk looking cold without the right accessories.

It is much easier to change the paint than the flooring. If a homeowner discovers a hardwood they love, and it will not match with their current wall colors, consider repainting. However, make certain to review samples of the hardwood and the paint together in both natural and artificial light before installation. The type of light can dramatically change some colors and make what seemed like a perfect match at the store look terrible once under the lights at home.