10 Hardwood Floor Colors to Warm Up Your Home, According to Designers

published Feb 6, 2024
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Dark wooden floors in living room.
Credit: Lauren Edith Andersen at SEN Creative for Studio Kosma

If you’re in the process of selecting a hardwood floor color for your home renovation, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the options. Whether you’re investing in all new floors or sanding and staining what’s existing, your flooring color really does set the tone for the furniture and decor you put upon it. The right shade can also brighten up a space, make it feel delightfully dark and moody, or reinforce a certain aesthetic, be it Scandinavian style, farmhouse design, or otherwise. Certain floor colors can also look different depending on what type of wood you’re putting them on, so swatching is an absolute must.

For all of these reasons, picking a hardwood floor color is a decision you’ll definitely want to gather some inspiration for and take the time to think through. To make that process easier, I did some of the vetting for you, going straight to the pros for their recommendations on the best hardwood floor colors for any space. There’s truly something for every style in these 10 designer picks. 

Credit: Christy Kosnic Photography

1. Bleached-Out Blend

“Bona is a great brand, and their Waterborne Sealer comes in five tones — in our project, we did a 50/50 blend of natural and nordic for a light bleached aesthetic,” says Sarah Snouffer of Third Street Architecture in Washington, D.C. “We found that most of the white-washed finishes sit on top of the wood and look like the finish is floating — Bona’s sealer penetrates just enough to provide an organic feel.” 

Credit: Yetta Reid Photography for Gruver Cooley

2. Versatile Mid-Tones

Cathleen Gruver, an interior designer with Gruver Cooley, is partial to a light to medium brown wood floor finish, given that she finds these shades to be the most versatile no matter your furniture selection. “This choice not only enhances the overall aesthetic, but also creates an open, bright atmosphere, making spaces feel more expansive,” she adds.

Credit: Angela Newton Roy Photography for Bungalow 10

3. Natural Oak

Kristin Harrison appreciates that oak flooring — whether raw or stained — looks wonderful with a wide array of stains. “It always looks perfectly rustic and beautiful and can also go with a multitude of styles, which is great for people who tend to get bored of their decor often and like to change things up,” adds the founder of Bungalow 10 Interiors. Oak is a crowd-pleaser and therefore is an excellent choice when it comes to resale value, too, Harrison says.

4. Multi-Colored Charm

While most of Linda Hayslett’s clients opt for wood flooring that is just one color, this approach isn’t for everyone. “It’s nice to combine some traditional elements by mixing darker stained flooring with lighter flooring to create a pattern in wood flooring,” explains the founder of LH.Designs. But if you aren’t ready to go all in with mixed tones, that’s OK, too. In some instances, Hayslett will incorporate a pattern solely in the entryway and then select one of the colors to be used for the rest of the home.

Credit: John Ellis Photo for Olga Doykhen

5. Golden Honey

Olga Doykhen, who operates an eponymous design firm, wove a custom honey wood floor finish into her own home, settling on an eye-catching chevron pattern. She decorated the inside of her home in a contemporary European style, layering asymmetrical carpets on top of the flooring for a dose of modernity. Consider golden tones a warm neural base for whatever furniture you want to decorate with.

Credit: Courtesy of Emily Del Bello Interiors

6. Scandi-Inspired “White”

Designer Emily Del Bello appreciates white oak flooring with a nordic stain. “It creates a very fresh, clean, and neutral tone that works well with so many different palettes,” she says. Best of all, she adds, it shines in most of the main living spaces throughout a home. Bre Hance, the founder of InHance Design Build, is also a fan of white oak. “It is here to stay, and I love weaving it throughout homes, as the stain helps connect and neutralize spaces,” she says. “It flows together and feels seamlessly united.”

Credit: Anice Hoachlander

7. Gray Undertones

Designer Tracy Morris is all about Minwax’s stain Shipboard, which the manufacturer classifies as in the gray family. “This lighter, warm tone works perfectly in either a transitional or modern decor,” says Morris. “This stain allows you to mix either dark stained furniture or white stone pieces throughout the house. Reason being, it provides the contrast to allow the darker/white stone pieces to stand out and off the floors. This color is wonderful for both farmhouse and modern styles.

Credit: Shutterstock

8. Rich and Dark

If you have white oak floors but crave a deeper touch, consider staining them in a walnut, says designer Caroline Kopp. “This is a super classic tone and not overly dark,” she says. She notes that floors that are too deep in hue have a tendency to show dust, where dark walnut has just the right amount of depth while still camouflaging dirt and grime. Dark walnut can read anywhere from mid-century modern to contemporary, making it a bit of a style chameleon in a good way. “For wood floors, you want a timeless color that is neutral, and this combination achieves that very well,” she adds.

Credit: Lauren Edith Andersen at SEN Creative for Studio Kosma

9. Chocolate Brown

If you’re designing a traditional or Spanish revival-style home, a chocolate brown floor is an excellent choice, says designer Kara Piepmeyer of Studio Kosma. “It pairs beautifully with crisp white walls for bright, high contrast or works well with deep, rich paint colors to create a luxe, enveloping feeling in a room,” she says. Then, pair your dark chocolate brown flooring with honey-hued furniture in either a light or dark tone. “They can easily act as a neutral in the space, taking a back seat to furniture pieces upholstered in brighter tones,” the designer says.

Credit: Photo by Greg Powers Photography

10. Espresso Mix

Morris loves the way this ashy shade can cut unwanted red tones underfoot. She loves mixing Minwax’s Espresso and Dark Walnut stains to create a rich, warm color that jibes with many home styles.