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Dark and Light Hardwood Floors: Which is right for your project?

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.

When it comes to dark and light hardwood floors, there are so many products and designs out there, which colour is going to be the right one for your project?



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Interior by Juliette Byrne

Natural Light:

 

One of the first things to decide when choosing a dark vs light wood floor, is 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 wood 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.

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?



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Image by Dezeen

Light Hardwood Flooring:

 

Light floors work well with organic modern and modern farmhouse style interiors.

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


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Nordic Ash Arctic

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Cotton Sawn Oak

Mid-Tones & Grey Wood Flooring:

 

I often find that mid toned floors work well in period properties that are being refurbished and modernised and grey works easily with a lot of other colours within an interior and be easily slotted in a modern design.

Grey works a good middle of the ground alternative when it comes to dark vs light hardwood floors.



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Bespoke Grey Oak

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Stonework Oak

Warm Wood Flooring:

 

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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Campsite Oak

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Black Forest Oak

Dark Wood Flooring:

 

When I get asked 'should I get dark or light wood floor' I advise my clients 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 it with contrasting colour tones.



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American Walnut

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Kiln Fired Oak
 

DARK VS LIGHT HARDWOOD FLOORING RELATED ARTICLES:


 
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Distressed Herringbone Oak

Dark vs Light Wood Flooring in Parquet:

 

If you are thinking of 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.

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

When deciding on light or dark flooring for a small room, keep in mind that adding a pattern will make it feel smaller and less spacious.



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American Walnut Honeycomb Parquet

Flooring Maintenance for Dark and Light Wood Floors:

 

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 your wood floor is important too.


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Interior by House & Garden

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 and you can grab my post on how to clean hardwood floors here.



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Mansion Weave Parquet


Which is Better - A Dark or Light Wood Floor:

 

I would say on balance that dark wood 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.

Keep in mind that whatever colour you choose, you floor will lighten slightly 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.




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

I hope this article has helped you decide on light or dark wood flooring for your refurbishment project.