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Wood Flooring: The Pros and Cons of Light & Dark Hardwood Floors

Posted on May 20th, 2011 by

Wood Flooring: The Pros and Cons of Light & Dark Hardwood FloorsMany homes in today’s market are not in the best shape, but have tremendous potential. Maybe you just got a great deal on a fixer upper that you just can’t wait to move into, decorate and style. On the other end of the spectrum, you may need to sell your home for a job or because of a foreclosure, and need to make some changes to attract home buyers. Perhaps you’re simply looking for some new hardwood flooring for your current home, but aren’t sure what direction to take. MovingCost.com examines the pros and cons of both light and dark hardwood floors, so you have a better idea of how each one will function in your space.

Light Wood Flooring

Wood Flooring: The Pros and Cons of Light & Dark Hardwood FloorsIf you think that light wood floors are just going to show all the spills and messes in your new home, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Light wood floors actually do a much better job than dark wood floors at making a room look cleaner. They are perfect for interior rooms that don’t get much sunlight, and have the added benefit of appearing to enlarge the space. They’re overall look can be categorized as either modern or traditional, depending on how you use the space above the flooring. You can either go light in your choice of colors when decorating a room with light wood floors, or go darker if you want to bring more balance to the room. Types of light wood floors include:

  • Birch
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Red Oak
  • White Oak

Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of light wood flooring:

  • Pros:
    • Brighten up dark rooms
    • Make space appear larger
    • Stay clean longer and disguises wear better
    • Versatile look for modern or traditional décor
  • Cons:
    • Some types are too soft for high traffic areas
    • Light wood that isn’t stained gets darker faster
    • Must have UV protective finish added in sunny rooms
    • May appear too laid-back if you’re going for a formal look

Dark Wood Flooring

Wood Flooring: The Pros and Cons of Light & Dark Hardwood FloorsDark wood floors are often chosen to give a touch of luxury to a room. They offer a rich, vibrant color and gloss that light wood floors really can’t compete with. Dark wood flooring is hearty enough to support high foot traffic areas, like dens and family rooms, but are also classy enough to bring that room up a notch in the style department. Although you may think that the natural color of dark wood fades over time, it actually doesn’t. Dark wood stays dark for longer and depending on the grade of the wood you get, hides dirt well. When you style a room with a dark wood floor, it’s important to balance the dark with light colors for drapes and furnishings. Types of dark wood floors include:

  • Ipe
  • Wenge
  • Mahogany
  • Black Walnut

These are the pros and cons of dark wood floors:

  • Pros:
    • Gives rooms more elegance
    • Don’t fade in color over time
    • Medium grade dark wood hides dirt well
    • Dark stains enrich the wood’s natural grain
  • Cons
    • The darker the wood, the more visible dirt becomes
    • Scratches and dings on dark wood are more apparent
    • Staining may not be an option on some types of dark wood

Don’t forget that there are many eco-friendly flooring options out there. If you want to save money, create a stylish floor and showcase your environmental savvy, green hardwood flooring is your best bet.

Tags: floors, moving, options

This entry was posted on Friday, May 20th, 2011 at 9:45 am and is filed under Learning Center. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Wood Flooring: The Pros and Cons of Light & Dark Hardwood Floors”

  1. What an informative post! Home owners who are still torn between light and dark hardwood will definitely have a clearer idea of what they should choose. Aesthetics is an important part of in making a decision, but of course, a floor that lasts a lifetime and that is within budget should be considered too.

  2. If you want so select hardwood flooring in order to establish a refined look, choose the dark colored type. If you like to have a laid-back appearance that will make your room to look larger and create a comfortable atmosphere, choose the light colored type.

  3. Great Post Paulina. It’s these little decisions that I think are most importanat to think about when moving home. After all, it’s not an esay task to change the wood flooring after you’ve moved in!

  4. I LOVE the dark flooring! My mother sells hardwood flooring though and she has pointed something out to me that has me convinced that I will never be able to have it in my house. As pretty as it looks, the second that someone walks on it, there are dirt marks. It shows every ounce of dust and dirt and everything you can imagine. I am opting for a medium color.

  5. Susie

    We have just remodeled our old kitchen and decided to go with cream colored cabinets with a small amount of maple glazed trim. Because of the light cabinets, I wanted to contrast the hardwood floor stain, so I opted for espresso colored floors all on main floor. Wow, am I sorry I ever did that. I cannot keep up with cleaning it! As soon as I am done, if someone walks in, their shoe mark (after wiping well on a rug) shows. It never looks clean and it drives me nuts. I will change the stain as soon as budget allows and am thinking of a really light wood. Yes, the floor color does stand out with the contrast, but b/c of the dirt and prints that show up immediately, it takes everything away from the new kitchen. I am so mad at myself. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it that way before b/c I do know dark carpet is the same way. Just an gentle FYI if you are hell-bent on getting that dark of a wood. Wish I knew then all of the above issues. Oh, well…..live and learn:)

  6. A good set of carpet can always help both light and dark wood floorings to keep from dirt and scratches. Moreover, adding a set of carpet to areas where traffic usually takes place can really lift the job’s burden. Plus, choosing the right carpet with the right look can also change the way on how people look at your house as a whole.

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