When choosing the right engineered hardwood flooring for your home, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether you want dark or light wood. Both options are gorgeous and can transform a room. However, both light and dark wood have unique advantages that make one better than the other in certain circumstances. Choosing the perfect wood flooring for your project involves several considerations. You must think about your décor style, the size and feel of the space, the needs of your home and lifestyle, and your personal preferences. Discover when to use a dark wood vs. a light wood with this guide.
Let’s Talk Lighting
Lighting affects everything in the room—and we mean everything. From the exact shade of your accent color to how big the space feels, light plays a crucial role in interior design. Light also influences how your wood flooring works within the room, and vice versa. Lighter shades reflect more light and brighten the room. Meanwhile, darker shades absorb light and make the rest of the room feel darker.
Consider this when choosing the type of wood color you want. A room with little natural light will benefit from paler wood shades that can brighten the space. However, dark wood can create a darker, more serious setting. This is also a great way to counteract rooms with massive windows, skylights, or other light sources that can overwhelm the space and make everything look washed out.
When thinking about lighting, you also have to consider sun damage. Woods that sit in direct sunlight will fade over time. Lighter wood colors are particularly prone to sun damage. Keep this in mind when renovating rooms that experience a lot of sunlight. If you choose a lighter wood for these spaces, make sure you use UV-resistant finishes to protect them from the sun. You can also place mats or area rugs near glass doors to help protect the parts of your floor that see the most sun.
Just as your wood color affects lighting, it also affects the size of the space. Lighter woods create a more open, airy feel that makes even smaller rooms feel spacious. The extra light that paler woods reflect also helps this. Darker woods, on the other hand, bring a weight to the room that can make the space feel smaller than it is. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, in large, open rooms, darker woods can help ground the space. However, lighter wood may be the way to go if you’re working in a smaller space.
Matching Your Furniture
The room itself isn’t the only factor you have to consider. Your wood flooring must also work with the furniture you use to decorate. You have to pay close attention, especially when working with wood furniture. If your coffee table and chair legs match the flooring too well, they’ll disappear against the wood floor and create an awkwardly uniform look. On the other hand, too many varying wood grains and styles can make the room look busy or unorganized. Find a balance by choosing a few different wood tones that complement each other. Light wood furniture creates a satisfying contrast with dark wood floors, and vice versa.
Your Décor Style
What kind of design are you aiming for in your home? Do you want a warm, cozy, rustic feel? Perhaps you’re leaning more toward modern and minimal. Should the room feel bright and airy or elegant and serious? Whatever vibe you’re going for, your wood color plays a huge role in getting you there. Generally speaking, lighter colors work best for modern designs while darker colors complement traditional and rustic atmospheres.
However, you can always mix and match your wood color to achieve the perfect design. Keep in mind that undertones also influence the feel of a room. Both light and dark woods come in cool and warm undertones, so make sure you find the perfect match for your dream design.
Tackling Dust, Dirt, and Debris
No matter what color flooring you choose, your floors are going to get messy. That’s part of living on them. However, the type of wood flooring in your home can affect just how obvious those messes are. Lighter floors disguise dust and dirt due to the similar color. Most debris is lighter, so it will stand out and catch the eye on darker floors.
That said, homes with dark fur pets will see a lot more pet hair on light wood floors. When thinking about cleanliness, you have to consider the kind of messes you track into your home. It’s also good to remember that a weekly sweeping routine will keep dirt at bay and allow you to enjoy your gorgeous floor no matter what color it is.
Handling Scrapes, Scratches, and Dents
Hardwood flooring maintenance is more than just keeping your floors clean of dust and debris. You also have to consider scratches, dents, and other damage that can occur on your beautiful floors. The type of flooring you use can reduce the damage your floors take. For example, hickory is a hard, durable wood that doesn’t scratch as easily as other species.
However, all floors can gather scratches and dents over time. Like with dirt, these flaws tend to show up more on darker woods because the contrast is more obvious. If you have a high activity home with lots of pets, foot traffic, and commotion, you might feel more confident with a lighter floor that can conceal the damage your flooring takes over time.
What Catches Your Eye?
Like all home design options, the ultimate decision of when to use a dark wood vs a light wood comes down to you and your personal preferences. If you have a smaller room with less natural light that sees a lot of activity, but you really love the way dark wood looks in that space, there’s nothing stopping you! The good news is that all forms of engineered hardwood flooring are versatile. All it takes is a little cleverness and creativity to make your space match the wood flooring that you want. Plus, there are endless design tricks and hacks that can help you tie a space together and accomplish your dream style.
No matter what kind of flooring you’re looking for, you’re sure to find the perfect option at From the Forest. Our expansive collection of light to dark brown engineered wood flooring makes it easy for you to browse your options and find the right choice for your space. Visit From the Forest today to find superior species, gorgeous color options, and other details that grant the perfect finishing touch for your new flooring.