Are You on the Light Side or Dark Side of Flooring?

Flooring is a foundational feature of your home.  It makes a big statement and will last a long time.  When it’s time to update flooring, evaluating your style preferences and options can make a big decision easier.  If you’re purchasing hardwood or luxury vinyl plank flooring, the first big question is – do you want to go light or dark?

In making your choice, consider room size, ceiling height, furniture & cabinet finishes, your décor style and colors. Here are some tips to help:


Light flooring colors can contribute to the illusion of space.  If your room is small and has limited natural light, consider a lighter color for flooring.   Rooms with low ceilings can also feel more open with lighter flooring.  This is especially helpful in small homes and condos.  Keep in mind light flooring doesn’t have to be “honey” or yellow in color.  There are light grays and other cooler shades available in light flooring selections.

Dark floors make a space feel more intimate, but can make a small space feel smaller.  Darker colors work well in larger rooms and open floorplans.   If your heart is set on the darker floor color and you’re concerned about the size of a space, balance it with a lighter wall color and additional lighting accents.

Furniture & Cabinets

The color of your floor should not match your furniture or walls.  Choose finish colors that have good contrast and complement each other.

Floors with a light finish, such as oak, ash, maple or hickory will pair well with a large variety of other finishes.  If you have light flooring in your room, select darker finishes for tables, furniture or cabinets to create good visual contrast.

If you install dark flooring, your furniture should be a few shades lighter than your flooring finish and compliment the hue of the floor as well.   If your existing furniture is too similar in color, an area rug can create a nice transition between the two.   Try pairing lighter cabinets, tables or other furnishings with the dark flooring.


Lighter hardwood floors create a brighter tone in your room.  If you enjoy light colors like whites, beiges, and brighter hues, lighter floor colors may be ideal for you.

Flooring with gray tones (light, medium and dark) has been popular for the past few year and will continue to be a strong choice for the next several years as well.  Gray tones provide a neutral, calming base for you to build your room from.  Grays work particularly well for modern, industrial and contemporary décor styles.

Dark floors are beautiful and create warmth, elegance and a sense of intimacy, even in larger spaces.  Warm reds, browns and deep-golden wood tones tend to make a room feel cozy.  This works well for traditional and other styles.  Dark flooring with cooler tones like dark gray, blue-grays and mocha can work well in modern styles.


White washed woods are a popular choice for modern spaces.  If your home is ultra-contemporary, you may prefer a lighter hardwood floor that better complements sleek design and architecture.

Gray floors are great with contemporary, modern, and urban styles.  Because different shades of gray have an undertone color, you will need to know what it is when choosing décor colors to complement flooring.

A traditional home is often a good setting for dark wood flooring of warmer tones. Dark flooring finishes like walnut can have both a traditional or a modern aesthetic.


Lighter wood colors require less maintenance, since minor scratches will blend right in.  Dust and pet hair don’t show up as well on the light color.  Dark wood tends to show damage more readily than the lighter shades and show more dust, dirt, and pet hair on its surface.  All hardwood is susceptible to dents and scratches, but luxury plank flooring provides an alternative that is waterproof and highly resistant to damage.

Making the Decision

After evaluating your space, furniture, and style preference, it’s time to do some shopping.  Beware of choosing your floor color from photos.  Lighting in photos (as well as backlit on your computer) can alter the true color.  You want to see the flooring in person in a showroom.

Take along a furniture throw pillow, paint chip or cabinet wood sample for the room.  A professional can help you select floor colors that complement your furniture/cabinets.  You can even take home samples of the flooring, to place near furniture, cabinets, and baseboards for comparison.   Be sure to check them in natural daylight and under artificial light at night.

Fortunately, it’s not a decision you have to make alone.  Eastman’s Carpet experts are ready to help you with sound advice, flooring samples you can see, touch and event walk on.

Whether you choose to go to the light side, the dark side, or somewhere in between, hardwood and luxury plank floors make a beautiful space and add value to your home.

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