What Color Flooring Should I Choose?
Watching flooring trends is a bit like watching clothing trends. There are some innovative ideas that come around every once in a great while such as strand woven bamboo or the wrap dress... but mostly there are the tried and true flooring options that stylistically cycle on and off again.
We have a lot of customers that come into the Seattle simpleFLOORS showroom and ask for help deciding on the "color" of their flooring. Homeowners want to feel that not only will the color coordinate with their personal style and the type of home they have, but also that the color will stand the test of time.
This is a great question and definitely should be considered before any purchase is made. Here are some things to think about in terms of the color of your flooring:
1. How much light do you have in the home (natural and artificial)?
The more light you have in the home the darker you can get your flooring without feeling the walls are closing in on you. That being said, you can still choose dark floors in a small room as long as you want the more intimate feeling. A dark floor can also make a room with a lot of light feel warmer, cozier. Make sure to test samples of the flooring in your actual lighting and at different times of day as it can change how the flooring looks.
Laminate can come in any shade or tone imaginable as the colors are put together by graphic designers and marketing teams. You can get tones not made in nature or laminate that looks very close to the real thing. Natural products such as hardwood are going to either have clear coats of finish to showcase the natural beauty of the wood, or a stain to showcase the grain but have a more consistent look.
3. Is this for a home you plan on staying in or do you plan on selling the home/condo soon?
If you plan on selling the home within a few years the safest bet is to get something with a medium tone that everyone can walk in the home and imagine putting their furniture on. Colors that are very light, very dark, or floors with a lot of variation will definitely be noticed - but will put many people off although the right buyer will "have to" have the house because of the unusual floor.
4. Do you like variation or a more consistent coloring?
The floors that have more variation tend towards the exotic species (Tigerwood, Brazilian Walnut) and will make more of a statement. The varying colors in a natural floor (with clear coat but no stain) typically can work well with many tones of furniture and in homes that don't have consistent colored furnishings. Negatively if the floor has a lot of variation it can be very busy and can compete with artwork or furnishings so is best left with simpler, cleaner decorating styles.
5. If for a kitchen or great room, what color are the cabinets?
Design-wise it is best to have a bit of a contrast from the floor to the cabinets since if they match too much the whole room blends into one big blob. If you have new construction it is best to pick your floors out first as there are so many natural options where most cabinets are stained. If you have existing cabinets taking a door off and bringing it with you while floor shopping is your best chance of finding a good color pairing.
6. What type/color of furniture do you have?
Flooring can vary from the rustic heavily handscraped to a very smooth and modern with many options in between. Using your existing furniture and home style (even if it is just a picture in your head) as a guide will allow you to maintain or achieve a harmonious setting. Clipping photos from magazines and/or using design services are another option to discover what style appeals to you.
7. Do you want the floor to be a "statement" or are you looking for them to blend in to the environment?
The flooring with heavier grain patterns, very dark/very light shades, or extreme variations are going to become more of a showpiece in your home than the traditionally toned browns.
8. What color are the walls in the room(s) the flooring will go into?
Standard off-white walls can go with just about any type of flooring but many people are highlighting rooms with accent colors (and also remodeling their existing homes vs. moving!) and carrying paint swatches and getting flooring samples is really the only way to ensure you don't end up with a patchwork look.
9. Do you have pets?
Keep in mind what type of environment you live in. If your five white Persian cats shed like crazy a very dark floor will not be a good fit unless you don't mind dust mopping daily.
Trend-wise in the past 10 years I have seen colors go from very light (Natural Maple, Natural Horizontal Bamboo) to very dark (Sambuca Maple, Iron Wood) and then settle back during the past two years into a medium tone (Strand Carbonized, Arpeggio). I think there will always be people that choose the bold and beautiful for their flooring but the "middle of the road" coloring is here to stay for quite some time. Traditional warm toned flooring in varying shades of brown lend itself to all types of furnishings, home styles, and also work with today's economy.