When you’re choosing the color of your hardwood floors and you’re deciding between light and dark wood floors and flooring treatments, there are a few things to keep in mind. As is the case with everything else, there are certain pros and cons to choosing dark hardwood floors over lighter variations. This list goes for darker stains and species alike.
Pros of dark hardwood floors
- Dark floors are modern, on trend, in style. Dark floors are generally more popular and more contemporary looking than lighter hardwood floors, depending on the treatments applied to the flooring.
- Dark floors pair well with certain interior design choices. If you have light colored walls, for example, a dark floor might be a good choice to provide some well-needed contrast.
- A dark floor hides certain imperfections. If your floor is old and has a bunch of imperfections (e.g. gaps in floor, water stains, knots), a darker stain will often cover up imperfections better than a lighter one. It will also camouflage any gaps in between the planks much better than a lighter floor would.
Cons of dark hardwood floors
Of course, there are also a few cons to choosing dark hardwood floors and stains. Here are just a few, as well as some solutions you can use to counteract them.
- Dark floors show scratches more readily than lighter floors. However, you can avoid this by screening and refinishing the floor every 3-4 years. You can also opt for a prefinished floor, which will have a factory-cured finish that is more difficult to scratch than a typical, site-finished urethane finish.
- Dark floors can make a small space look smaller. However, the extent to which you’ll experience this effect depends on the wall color and can often be counteracted with good interior design choices.
Dark vs. light hardwood floors
Both dark and light hardwood floors have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the style of your home.
Dark hardwood floors are known for their rich, luxurious look. They can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any space and are perfect for those who prefer a more formal or traditional aesthetic. Dark hardwood floors also tend to show less dirt than lighter hardwood floors, making them a great choice for high-traffic areas or homes with pets and children. However, they can also make a room feel smaller and more closed in, which can be a drawback for those who want to create a more open and airy space.
On the other hand, light hardwood floors can create a bright and airy feel in a space. They are perfect for those who prefer a more modern or contemporary aesthetic and can make a room feel larger and more spacious. Light hardwood floors can also help to brighten up a room that lacks natural light, making them a great choice for basement spaces or rooms with few windows. However, they tend to show more dirt than darker floors, which can be a drawback for some homeowners due to the need to clean them more often.
When choosing between dark and light hardwood floors, it’s important to consider the overall style of your home and the amount of natural light in the space. Dark floors work best in formal or traditional spaces with ample natural light, while light floors are ideal for modern or contemporary spaces that require brightening up. Additionally, consider the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to your floors, as lighter floors may require more upkeep to maintain their appearance, while a darker floor will show scratches more readily and may need to be refinished more often depending on the type of finish you select.
The final word on dark hardwood floors
Ultimately, the choice you’ll make between a darker and a lighter floor will come down to the kind of household you run and your specific needs and wants. Do you want a sleeker, modern look and if so, are you willing to trade that for the convenience of having a floor that might not have to be refinished as often?
If you anticipate having a lot of foot traffic that might scuff up the floors, or you have young children or pets in the house, these are all things indicating that you might want to lean in the direction of a lighter floor rather than darker one, since the latter will show scratches more readily. Keep in mind, however, that a light hardwood floor will show dirt and dust more readily than a darker one.
Overall, if you’re going for a more contemporary look, darker floors are usually a good choice. You can also minimize the amount of scuffing and scratches by choosing a prefinished hardwood floor.