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choosing between dark and light hardwood floors

Choosing the floor for your interior is a big decision as it will cover one of the largest areas of your room and you will use it everyday.


But with so many products and designs out there which colour is going to be the right one for your project?


Please note that this post does have affiliate links. Interiors I like from various designers which will be linked under each image. You can read my privacy policy here.

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Interior & image by Juliette Byrne


One of the first things that dictate which colour tone would suit your interior best is how much natural sunlight the space gets.

If your property has limited natural light, a dark floor could make it feel darker and drain any sense of space.

A lighter tone will help bounce light around and make it feel brighter.


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Image by Dezeen


The other elements that you will be adding to the room play a major role in choosing the right floor too.

What colour is going to work with your furniture and overall scheme for the room?


Light floors work well with scandi and shabby chic style interiors.

Pale and neutral tones as a foundation allows you to create an atmosphere of spaciousness and serenity.


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American Ash Artic by Urbane Living


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Catmore Shrunk Oak by Urbane Living


I often find that mid toned floors work well in period properties that are being refurbished and modernised.

Grey works easily with a lot of other colours within an interior and be easily slotted in a modern design.


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Bespoke Grey Oak by Urbane Living


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Dominica Oak by Urbane Living


If you want to create a rustic, cosy interior choosing a floor that is on the mid to darker shade of the spectrum is going to be better suited.

Use warm tones such as smoked oaks and toffee colours.

Adding a distressed edge with give this type of interior instant character and charm.


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Ritz Oak by Urbane Living


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Odel Oak by Urbane Living


I feel that the darker the floor, the more grand and sophisticated the interior.

Usually used in a contemporary setting, they provide the perfect backdrop for those of you who want to pair with contrasting colour items.


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American Walnut by Urbane Living


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Swinley Oak by Urbane Living


If you are thinking are opting for a parquet pattern, the colour and grade of this will have a huge impact on the finished result.

Lighter parquet options in a Prime or Natural grade are more subtle than darker options.

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Distressed Herringbone Oak in Colours 1917 and 1913 by Urbane Living


Especially when it comes to Walnut, the Natural grade will carry a lot of variation and this will draw your eye down.

If the interior is small, adding a pattern will make it feel smaller and less spacious.


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American Walnut Honeycomb Parquet by Urbane Living


I often get asked by my clients which hides dirt better, a dark floor or a light floor?

They both will have pro's and con's.

Dark floors will hide scuff marks better but tend to show up dust and surface scratches more than lighter floors.

This of course depends how much traffic the area is getting, kitchens will have more traffic than bedrooms.

The type of finish you select, oiled or lacquered, and how you maintain it is important too.


I cover the different finishes in a recent blog article, 5 Questions I get asked most about hardwood floors.


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Kitchen from House & Garden

 

My Top Floor Cleaners

I always recommend a Bona Spray Mop to my clients for cleaning your floor with.

The mop has a liquid floor soap cartridge attached to it, simply squeeze the handle to squirt cleaner out and mop.

The liquid soap is gentle enough to work on any finish. However if you have a an oiled floor and want to rejuvenate the finish use Bona's Cleaner for Oiled floors.

For a deep clean, especially if you have had other refurbishment work done, use Bona's Deep Cleaner.

 
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Sanderson Oak Mansion Weave Parquet by Urbane Living


I would say on balance that dark floors, in order to look their absolute best, need more ongoing maintenance than a light floor.

A lighter tone will be more forgiving when it comes to everyday traffic.

Its worth keeping in mind that whatever colour you choose, you floor will lighten in colour over time.

This is largely due to sunlight and general use, although it will take a few years for this to happen.

Often blonde toned floors can become orange over time and with Walnut they can turn from a honey tone to a more yellowish tone.

Should this happen, you know it's time to have the floor sanded and refinished to bring back that original colour and lustre.


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The lovely thing about wood flooring is that because it's a natural product it's not a solid colour. Unlike if you order a carpet, hardwood floors natural variation means that you will have slightly lighter and darker bits throughout.

The colour is more tonal rather than solid, when you pair it against it different colours it will pull out different tones from the wood.

When putting your scheme together, get samples of the flooring you like to see what they look like against the fabric for your curtains, counter tops etc.


If you are embarking on a project and weighing up what colour floor to choose, please see my consultation page here.


jx




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