How to Decide Between Dark & Light Flooring

New floors change the entire vibe of a space – especially if there’s a dramatic change in the material or color. It can make all of your existing furnishings look totally new again. They can make your home feel and even sound different. But some people get caught in the indecision of not knowing how to decide between dark and light flooring.

How to Decide Between Dark & Light Flooring

The first step to selecting a final flooring color ultimately will be choosing to go dark or light. I created a short process to help my client with this important decision, and it was so helpful that I felt inspired to share this here.

While this is geared to wood, luxury vinyl plank, or laminate flooring, you may still find the ideas in my process helpful.

Phase 1: Review Your Likes

For a lot of you, this might be the game-changer all by itself!

Do you have an active Pinterest account? Do you have a stash of saved items on Instagram? A folder of magazine clippings? Or better yet, a vision board created ages ago for your dream home? It’s time to dust these collections off!

You can even go back to see items you’ve liked on Instagram. Click the menu on the top right > Settings > Account > Posts You’ve Liked.

Instagram Account Settings Screenshot

If there’s a glimmer of a chance that you’ve accumulated design inspiration relevant to your home today, do this exercise. Even if you think you’d remember what’s there, just like watching a movie again, you might catch something you didn’t notice before. And that something, that I want you to look at, is the floors. Track as much down as you can!

The unique styles you gravitate to – indicate how you want your home to feel. I’ve done this exercise myself and felt like I was seeing images I’ve never witnessed in my life. But frankly, I probably mindlessly liked/saved it with my first sip of coffee, waiting in line at a store, etc. And I think there’s a chance you’ve done the same!

The power of this exercise is to gather insights on what you enjoy when you’re not overthinking it. It might be a grab bag of flooring options, but look for consistencies. Maybe they are all one material, one tone, or there’s a majority? Analyze your “data stockpile” and note if there’s a trend in color. Does this help you eliminate options? Or maybe you rediscover a “north star” image that completely encapsulates what you are looking for.

Phase 2: The Photo Test

So let’s say you uncovered lots of inspiration pics, but there isn’t a clear preference on floor tone/color. Use your image stockpile and organize them by dark and light floor tones so you can view in one glance. Stand back or zoom out on your screen. Are you liking one set better? Imagine walking through the different areas of your home with the new floor. Does one excite you more than the others?

You can also use my reference images below to help decide between dark and light flooring. The first five will include dark, wood tone floors and the second set will be light wood tones. Be sure to take your time in scrolling through so you can best envision them in your home.

Dark Floor Inspiration Images

Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

The examples I chose here are dark wood floors with light walls/accents that have a high contrast since this is a big design trend right now. Dark floors can bring a formal quality to a home and create a yin and yang-style color balance to the rooms. I also like that it meshes with many different decor styles from traditional to modern or even bohemian.

Light Floor Inspiration Images

Source: Pinterest
Source: Studio McGee
Source: Pinterest
Source: Pinterest

So ending with the light floor examples, you can see they also work in a range of styles. However, it would seem that light floors in general have a more casual feel. Because they reflect more light, it can make a space feel brighter. These examples also show a bit more texture, where the dark can feel more like a smooth back drop, in terms of color.

Phase 3: Connect with a Professional

If you feel close to a decision following phases one and two, and have some favorite images in mind, you are ready to connect with a professional! A designer like myself can work with you to next determine which materials, specific finishes, and products will mesh best with both your new vision and the rest of your home. And we can connect you with a great flooring professional to make it happen.

If you are in the Tampa, Ocala, or Gainesville area, I would be happy to help you with this project personally. Just use my contact form and I can schedule a consultation and send you my new client style questionnaire.

For the rest who just like to day dream about the someday projects (join the club!) feel free to subscribe to my blog so you can read more.

What did you think of this process? Please let me know if this helps you decide between dark and light flooring for the home of your dreams!

If you want help selecting materials or floor color, a Virtual Design Strategy Session can cover this, PLUS address up to two additional design concerns in your home. The package consists of a style assessment, a 90-minute Zoom call, a prioritization roadmap, and linking you to relevant resources with a summary PDF at the end. 100% remotely! And you can get on the schedule in as little as three business days. If this sounds like a fit for you, click here to learn more.

About Kaitlyn Loos

Kaitlyn Loos Headshot

Kaitlyn Loos [loh-s] is a virtual e-designer for interiors and organizing. She helps busy moms with young families create dreamy spaces that function for their unique needs. She notably developed the Decluttering Personality Type quiz which has helped hundreds of people break down mental barriers about clutter. Kaitlyn loves to collaborate with clients to bring modern, fresh, and color-savvy design into their homes. Kaitlyn Loos Design delivers style for nearly any investment level. She also enjoys sharing her ideas and projects through her blog and discussing hot design topics on Instagram live.

Kaitlyn is located in the west-central Florida area (Tampa, Ocala, Gainesville, and everywhere in between) with availability for select in-person projects for 2021.

You can also subscribe to the blog and contact Kaitlyn directly here.

Disclaimer: All of my DIY blog content is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I share what works for me in my home, but you should consult with professionals/landlords before taking on any construction projects. My blog does not constitute interior design advice for readers. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.