Home » Dark vs Light Hardwood Floor – Which is Better?

Dark vs Light Hardwood Floor – Which is Better?

Hardwood is a popular indoor flooring material around the world due to its timelessness, strength and durability.

Hardwood floors come in various styles and colors that gives homeowners tough decision for the best coloring choice.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of dark vs light hardwood flooring.

Dark Vs Light Floors

Dark Hardwood Floors

Dark hardwood floors have a deep, rich dramatic look that makes them popular in many homes.

Mahogany, cherry, walnut, oak, hickory, ash and other dark hardwood floors have a strong impression of beauty and luxury that most homeowners love.


Here are the benefits of installing a dark hardwood floor

Does not fade easily: Unlike light colored hardwood floors that fades quickly when continuously exposed to sun, dark hardwood floors tend to resist for long.

This makes dark hardwood flooring a best option for rooms where a lot of sunlight is let in.

They don’t show dirt: Dark hardwood floors hide dirt and grime unless the debris are light colored. This can make you go for long without bothering about vacuuming or dusting.

Although regular cleaning makes hardwood floors to remain in good shape, cleaning on a daily basis can be a tough task.

Increases value of a home: Most homebuyers get attracted to properties with dark hardwood floors as compared to those with light colored floors.

This is due to high sense of style and class attached to dark floors. It is therefore the best option if you are planning to resell your home.

Dramatically beautiful: Dark color enhances wood’s natural color that brings a sense of style not seen before.

The dark natural color suites every traditional décor and also blends well with modern designs.

Less wear and tear: Dark floors do well in high traffic busy areas such as office set up and traffic corridors.

Most dark hardwood floor species are literally strong and tough thus resistant to daily wear and tear.

Compared to light colored floors, dark floors requires less staining and refinishing to look at their best.


While dark wooden floor comes with many benefits, there are also downsides to this dramatic flooring color.

Does not hide scratches: Scratches are more noticed on a dark colored hardwood floor as compared to light floor surfaces.

They usually have a darker finish than a wood itself. Any scuff mark in the finish exposes the underneath wood that appears as a strong imperfection.

Not a choice for pets: Pets will notoriously scratch a hardwood floor while playing. Since scratches are more noticeable in dark hardwood floors, a pet will make your floor to take a beating.

Pet hair and other light colored debris are more conspicuous on dark floors.

Makes a room appear smaller: Dark colors absorb light thus making a room to appear dark and smaller. It is therefore not a good choice for areas with limited spaces.

You can balance off this by doing a light colored décor and furnishings.

Light Hardwood Floors

Light hardwood floors are taking up on their rivalry dark hardwood floors. The ground seem to be shifting towards this timeless and traditional floor color.

Most homeowners are loving this easy to work with floor. Pine, maple, white oak and other light colored hardwood floors comes with plenty of benefits.


Works with most internal décor: Light colored floors are subtle thus able to work with most furnishings and fixtures.

This is the right pick if you want your signature pieces of furniture or classic decorative wallpaper to shine.

Expands your space: Light hardwood floors have an optical trick that makes a room to feel larger and bright. They reflect light thus brightening up a space.

This makes them an option for dark rooms or for areas with limited spaces.

They hide scratches and scuffs: Light colored hardwood floors provide great camouflage for scratches and light colored messes.

They are suitable for homes with pets and children who are notorious at scratching and messing up a floor surface.


Prone to wear and tear: Most light colored hardwood floor species are prone to scratches and denting especially when installed in high traffic areas.

Light-colored Douglas fir, birch, and pine requires proper care and maintenance for look better.

Fewer options: Light floors have fewer options to pick from.

Dark hardwood floors comes in wide range of shades that offers plenty of options for a homeowner to choose from.

Prone to stains: Stains can be more noticeable on a light floor as compared to dark ones.

This places the color in a situation where stains has to be prevent or promptly removed with a relevant cleaner.

Things to consider when choosing a hardwood floor color

Color appearance is part of important factors to consider when choosing a hardwood floor.

When comparing dark vs. light hardwood for your flooring project, you’ll want to consider the following:

The color of your fixtures and furnishings: Your indoor fixtures and furnishings should not disguise your floors, but rather complement them well.

Dark hardwood floors works best for light colored walls, bright furniture, rugs and cabinets. The converse is also true for light colored floors.

Floor usage: What is the amount of traffic do you expect on your floor? Do you have pets and children?

These are key questions you should seek answers to before choosing a floor color. Busy household or high traffic spaces requires a resilient color that resist wear and tear and dark is a preferable choice.

Size and of the room: Bright color of a floor does well in small or dark rooms by making them to appear larger and brighter.

Spaced rooms can still go well with either light or dark floors. But if the room receives direct sunlight, a black color that resist fading is the right choice.


Both light and dark hardwood floors offers a unique sense of style, beauty and a timeless value to a home.

All hardwood floors require proper cleaning and maintenance to make them remain beautiful and strong.

The color of your wood does not protect it from water or moisture damage. Wood will warp, twist or rot when exposed to water or moisture.


Regardless of your preferred choice of a floor color, the way you take care of your hardwood floor will determine how long it last, how it looks and the value effect on your home.

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