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Light Flooring or Dark – How do I choose?

Posted March 13, 2024

Commonly referred to as the “fifth wall”, flooring is undoubtedly an important aspect of any room or home. When it comes to design, the floor is often the starting point, acting as a foundation upon which other design decisions are made. It is far easier to change your walls than your floors so getting the flooring right is crucial. Colour is an integral part of this which raises the question we seek to explore in this blog; light flooring or dark, how do I choose? We will discuss the pros and cons of each with the hopes of helping you make a more informed choice.

A good starting point before diving into the pros and cons of both dark and light flooring is asking yourself which colours you tend to be more drawn to. Personal style and preference is important to consider as ultimately (in most cases) you will be the one living and spending time in the space and on the floors. Ask yourself why you prefer theses colours. Do they make you feel calm and relaxed? Do they create a more dramatic and moody vibe? Do they open up a space and make it feel more inviting?

Trends certainly change over time with both light and dark flooring having periods where one is more popular over the other. Regardless of this, the pros and cons of each haven’t changed and are unlikely to. Dark floors make more of an impact and are usually chosen to create a more cozy, intimate and elegant aesthetic. Because of this, they tend to be best in larger rooms and open plan spaces. When used in smaller spaces or rooms they can make that space feel even smaller and closed in. Another benefit of using dark flooring in larger spaces is that it grounds the room, acting as an anchor. Dark flooring colours often tend to be richer; this allows them to create a warmth and depth that cannot always be achieved with lighter floors. When paired with lighter walls, dark flooring can provide beautiful contrast, creating a sense of harmony.


Dark flooring is great if you're wanting to make an impact and create a cozy, intimate and elegant aesthetic. Sienna Oak in the Spirit Hybrid range by Belgotex and Jacobsen's Timber Top in Coronet Peak are stunning examples of darker flooring.


One downside to darker flooring is that dust and pet hair is usually more visible. This can mean more regular cleaning is required to keep the flooring looking its best. If you choose hard flooring such as timber that is a darker tone, scratches are often more obvious, this is important to be mindful of when selecting your colour. However, precautions such as putting felt pads on the feet of tables and chairs, utilising rugs, and taking shoes off when arriving home can be taken to greatly minimise the occurrence of scratches. It is also important to take your lifestyle into consideration – if you have children and pets, scratches are almost impossible to avoid entirely so it may be best to go with a lighter floor. If you have your heart set on darker tones, make sure to select highly durable and scratch resistant flooring such as a top quality laminate.


Having a rug underneath your dining suite is a great way to protect hard flooring from scratches, especially if you have darker floors where scratches are more obvious. If you have pets and children, this is important to consider when choosing your floor colour as pet hair is more visible on darker floors.


Not surprisingly, with what has been said of darker flooring, the opposite is true for lighter flooring. Light flooring creates a casual and laidback feel, matching most design aesthetics. Most of the time, it works in any sized space – large or small, but lends itself particularly well to opening up small and more enclosed spaces. Lighter flooring is great for spaces or rooms lacking natural light, providing much needed luminance. Another benefit of lighter coloured flooring is that it provides an excellent canvas allowing other elements of the room to stand out or act as a feature. Light floors also provide contrast to darker coloured walls, bringing balance. When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, lighter hard floors tend to be easier as dust and pet hair are not as visible and scratches usually blend in more, not being as obvious as they can be on dark floors.


Lighter flooring provides a beautiful contrast to darker walls or cabinetry as pictured in the kitchen above which features Woodland Lifestyle's Vitality Style in Honey Oak. If you're after a laid back and relaxed look that is easy to change, light floors such as Villa by Godfrey Hirst pictured above in Sand Drift are the way to go.


A downside of lighter coloured flooring is that, if too light of a colour or the wrong tone is chosen, it can look washed out and dull. This can affect the whole feel of the room or space and throw off other colours too. When trying to decide on the tone your flooring, it is very important to take into consideration the other colours in the space as well as how the colour will look at different times of the day in varying levels and amounts of light. Another downside of light flooring can be that it will show any marks or stains whereas darker floors will disguise these more. However, if you choose a quality product and follow the manufacturers care and maintenance details, the chances of permanent staining or marking on your floors is greatly reduced.


When choosing the colour of your flooring, it is important to consider the overall design scheme and make sure the colours of various elements and materials work together cohesively, lighter flooring can looked washed out if the wrong tone is chosen.


So, both dark and light flooring have their upsides and downsides and it is important to consider each of these alongside your lifestyle and personal preferences when making your flooring selections. Our team can guide you in weighing up your practical needs when it comes to flooring as well as your unique style and help you make a confident and informed choice for light or dark flooring. Pop in and see our helpful team of experts or get in touch, we would love to help.

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