Choosing a Hardwood Floor Color (5 Easy Tips)

hardwood floor colors
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If you’ve decided to replace your carpet with hardwood flooring — congratulations! Not only will your home have a beautiful aesthetic but you’ll also increase your home’s value. In fact, you could add as much as 2.5% value by adding hardwood. But, you have to do it right. This means choosing the right material, having expert installation, and selecting the best wood color. We’re going to walk you through how to choose the best wood floor color along with some tips for choosing the right material.

Selecting the Material

Before you can choose the best wood floor color, you need to select the proper material. That includes its hardness. The Janka Hardness Scale rates wood’s hardness. As we explained in this blog, a wood’s hardness is determined by the amount of force needed to drive a .444 inch diameter steel ball to a depth of half the ball’s diameter.

The amount of force this takes, measured in pounds-force (ibf), becomes that species’ hardness rating. In simple terms, the higher the rating, the harder the floor. Strand-woven bamboo and eucalyptus are at the top, rated 4,000-5,000. Douglas Fir is at the bottom with 690.

Red Oak is the benchmark. It carries a rating of 1290, which means it balances durability with low maintenance. If you have small children or pets, you’ll want a harder wood. Keep in mind, harder isn’t always better. Harder materials are difficult to work with. In general, the installation cost is higher because it takes longer to drive nails and screws into it.

The material matters when you’re deciding on hardwood floor colors. For instance, bamboo tends to be darker while oaks are often lighter. Remember, how the wood is engineered, manufactured, and finished affects the hardness. But, these factors aren’t taken into consideration on the Janka Scale. Speak to a hardwood specialist about the different types of wood and their hardness before selecting a material. 

Choosing the Best Hardwood Floor Color

Now that you know a little more about the hardness factor, you can start considering your future floor color. The size of the room and how much sunlight it gets matter. 

Here are 5 tips to help you decide how to choose a hardwood floor color for your home.

  1. Install Light Colors in Small Rooms
  2. Dark Colors Add Sophistication
  3. Patterned Wood
  4. Consider the Sunlight
  5. Take Samples Home

1. Install Light Colors in Small Rooms

If you’re installing custom woodwork in a smaller room, consider a lighter color. Light-colored wood floors will, in most cases, make the room appear larger. This is because it will make space seem open and airy. Two examples of this are beige or off-white hardwood. They’re also versatile when it comes to decorating the rest of the room. You can add lighter colors to your window treatments and decor or deflect sunlight. Or, you can add darker pieces for contrast.

2. Dark Colors Add Sophistication

In recent years, exotic woods and darker colors have become a trend. As mentioned, bamboo is an eco-friendly, exotic option that tends to be darker in color. Make no mistake, darker woods add sophistication and elegance. But, they’re not for every home. In many cases, darker floors make rooms look smaller. But, it’s very common to install it in the kitchen and bathrooms. 

3. Patterned Wood

If you like the shabby-chic rustic look, patterned wood may be a fit for your home. Parquet is one type that’s been a mainstay in the category. The different shades complement many different styles and decor. But Parquet isn’t the only patterned wood. Reclaimed wood planks are also popular. These have a natural variance in their colors which leads to a richer texture. Some wood has darker knots than others. Hickory, Knotty Pine, and Mixed-Grain Cherry have a natural beauty because of their color variances.

Keep the Bigger Picture in Mind

If you do decide on a patterned wood, think of the big picture. While it may look rustic and have character in your living room or family room, it may be a little unsettling in a kitchen. You may think there’s a spill or stain when it’s only the wood’s natural color. This shouldn’t make or break your decision, but you should take it into consideration if you use softer lighting in your kitchen. 

4. Consider the Sunlight

Natural light can change the appearance of wood flooring throughout the day. If you’re installing wood in a room with a lot of sunlight, it will look different in the daytime than it will at night.UV rays can also damage the wood over time. In some woods, it will bleach it while it can darken others. Make sure you ask your flooring specialist how sunlight will affect your wood. If your heart is set on a particular material and color, you can limit the sun’s exposure with window treatments.

5. Take Samples Home

The only way you’ll know if you like a color — or don’t — is to take a sample home. Make sure you take samples of all the colors you’re considering. Set them up in the rooms you’ll install them in. For the first couple of days, keep them apart from each other. Then, bring them closer to compare side by side. Put them near your furniture so you can picture how it will look with your decor. Move them closer to windows and light sources, too. You’ll get an idea of how the sunlight affects the wood’s color throughout the day.

The Finishing Touches

After you select which material is best for your home, choosing the best wood floor color will be easier. But, using samples to gauge your choices will take time. Don’t rush the decision! Hardwood is an investment that will last decades. You also shouldn’t trust just anyone with your investment. You need a professional installer that specializes in hardwood.

At District Floor Depot, we’re members of the National Wood Flooring Association. That means we hold ourselves to a higher standard than other flooring specialists. From start to finish, your flooring needs will be in the best hands. If you live in the DC area, contact us today to request a consultation.


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