Dark or Light? Which Hardwood You Should Go With!


Hardwood floors are always a stunning option to install in a room, no matter what kind of house you own. They are so versatile in the impression they give off, from traditional American to modern-chic. However, to have the style you desire translate well, you are going to need to choose the right shade of wood and/or wood stain. Should you go with a deep ebony, or a light oak? Dark brown or white wash? Here are a few things to consider when making this decision:

1) What kind of lifestyle do you lead?

Believe it or not, the way you live your day-to-day life is going to affect the shade of hardwood you'll need to get. If you're an active, busy individual with a fast-pace lifestyle or family, light wood might be the best option for you. It won't show marks or scuffing nearly as much, and doesn't technically have to be cleaned as often as darker shades of wood. That being said, if the specific room you're putting a wood floor in is used for low-impact activities (Dining room, office, entertainment room), then a dark wood floor should be fine.

2) Do you have pets?

If the answer is "yes" to this one, especially if that pet is a dog, you'd better think long and hard about whether or not you want to risk a dark floor. If your pet sheds, that hair is going to make itself known when it hits the floor, and scratches will be easy to spot. It's not impossible to have a pet and a dark hardwood floor at the same time, but it may require a bit more maintenance to keep the floor looking nice.

3) How big is your room?

If we're being completely honest here, a dark floor will make your room look a bit smaller than it actually is. Dark wood is a fantastic option for larger rooms or rooms with high ceilings, but can make some average-sized rooms look puny. If, however, you can't stop dreaming about those beautiful hickory floors for your room, you can counter the "shrinking effect" by choosing a lighter paint color and bright window treatments. This will open the room back up for you.

4) Will the color I like affect my budget?

This one really depends on what you're buying. If you've chosen to go with pre-treated floors, the price will be about the same no matter what color you go with. Whitewashed or painted floorboards can be a little more expensive too. Costs will go down a bit if you decide on purchasing or refinishing natural wood, which tends to be on the lighter side.

5) Are you worried about seeing "problem areas" down the road?

With wood being a natural and porous substance, changes in your floors are inevitable. Houses expand and contract with the seasons, which means your floor is likely going to get gaps between boards, stains, and a bit of warping eventually (check out how to fix cupping and crowning here). There's little chance of avoiding these changes, so you should think about whether or not you're comfortable leaving them exposed. This is where dark wood has a distinct advantage. When these problems do happen down the line, dark wood will be able to hide them more easily.

6) What is trending right now?

This is a fantastic question to ask, not because we think you should make semi-permanent decisions based on the latest flooring fashions, but because it could affect your return on investment. Let's say you're planning to sell your house in the near future; the value of the house could go up a bit if you cater to the styles found to be stylish by the general public (which is darker shades right now, by the way). Ultimately, though, the choice comes down to what actually looks best in your home. It doesn't matter how trendy your floor is if it doesn't go with the overall style of the room it's in.

P.S. As a friendly piece of advice, stay away from woods with a reddish tint if you can. Red shades are becoming less popular and are harder to decorate around.

So, which will you choose? Let us know in the comment section below!

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