Designer Confessions: Torn Between Wood Floors

This may surprise you, but a lot of people struggle with choosing a wood floor color. Most men and women inherit the flooring that come with the houses they buy, so they aren’t confronted with this decision. And when working on remodels and improvements, I advise my clients to match any present wood floors to keep the flow and integrity of the home.

But what to do when you are starting from scratch? I am finding myself at this very position at precisely the same time I am helping a client choose a wood floor, too. I seriously contemplated painted white flooring, and as much as I want that look, I have a golden retriever I love, and if it’s between the dog and the flooring, the dog is going to win. So while my clients are debating between wide-plank natural white oak and reclaimed, slightly stained oak, I am debating between natural white oak herringbone flooring and possibly adding a little bit of stain to bring out the variant. I’m sure you are shocked, but my spouse and I can not seem to agree to this! Have a look at these instances, and let me know what you believe.

Boor Bridges Architecture

Unstained white oak plank: White bamboo flooring in their natural state make a space feel really calm and serene. There’s a casual and unfussy feel to this room that I respond to, and of course, the mild flooring make this space look lighter.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

I am leaning the path of unstained floors due to the light and airy feel they produce in a space. Since we are dealing with a smaller, urban home and light is at a premium, there’s a good argument for milder flooring.

Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC

White walnut flooring work good if you want to do black doors and windows.

Ken Levenson Architect P.C.

Unstained herringbone. That is what we want our flooring to look like someday… but it takes time, unless you can afford reclaimed white oak from the gate. I love the natural variation of the planks, but it’s still unstained and raw looking.

Elad Gonen

The thing about unstained light timber is that it may take on the colour of the clear coat. Plus it goes more gold toned when you utilize oil-based polyurethane or tung oil. Additionally, wood is a natural substance: It’s going to age, weather and change colour due to sunlight exposure and usage. These are all things to consider when choosing the colour of your floors. It’s not just about exactly what colour it is now, but what colour it will be in 5 or 10 decades.

Glenvale Kitchens

The wide-plank alternative: These white bamboo flooring almost seem to possess a white-wash or sun-bleached look. When choosing a floor, it’s important to take into account the other wood and brown tones throughout the home, whether furniture or architectural components. Here, the door in the back corner is a much warmer tone, and the backsplash is more of a walnut-brown colored marble. I would be interested to know what bar stools they ended up choosing for this kitchen as well!

Chelsea Atelier Architect, PC

Unstained white oak with gray: Organic white oak and gray are natural partners. This combination works well in a contemporary space or in a classic application where the gray is your wall color or painted cabinetry. Unstained white oak may have nearly ashy tone which complements the grays when used together.

Valerie pasquiou interiors + design, inc

Here’s a more traditional application of white walnut flooring mixed with gray trim. I love the choice of painting all the areas of the stair gray. I’ve a feeling this particular picture is going to help a client of mine make a determination.

Unstained white oak with black: When going with natural bamboo flooring, other decisions are critical as well — you have stair treads, risers, railings, doors and casings to take into account. I love the play of the black railing of this one. In my home, I am going to do black white and doors casing throughout, so it’s another argument for unstained white oak floors.

Whether you go for painted risers and stained treads or move with painted, the black handrail takes the staircase from sweet to a little bit edgy. The black newel posts make a strong statement also.


Stained oak herringbone: I love the grayish tone of these white bamboo flooring.

Tip: Beware of choosing wood colors based on photographs only! The lighting of a photo can radically alter the real colour of a floor (of everything for that matter). Be sure to see a sample in person, and be sure to receive a present sample. In this picture, the left side of the room resembles the oak was stained a gray tone, but at the far back right corner, you can view the flooring are stained a brownish color.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..

I am thinking that these gorgeous chevron-pattern flooring are something aside from oak, but that colour can be achieved with blot. I love the way the brown isn’t too orange or gold, and the blot is mild enough to allow you to see the wood grain.

Michael A. Menn

That can be a richer, deeper blot, but it’s still translucent enough to reveal the wood grain and plank variant. If we end up staining our flooring, I don’t think we will go this gold… but I love how the stain brings out the herringbone pattern.

Glenn Gissler Design

Think about the furniture colors and wood tones when choosing a wood floor color. Ideally, you would like to create depth and contrast, and if everything is exactly the same colour, that will not happen.

Tip: If your dining table and floor is a comparable timber tone, area rugs can divide the space, or create a transition between floor color and table colour if need be.

McKay Flooring Ltd

Engineered wood flooring. Reclaimed natural pine can occasionally seem as though it’s stained when it’s not. All that gorgeous patina add immediate age and charm to any area. Who would want to put down an area rug on these gorgeous floors?

Tracery Interiors

Reclaimed and stained. So now I am feeling tortured. Clearly warm stained wood flooring work good with black windows and whitened casing, too. There’s no question that stained wood flooring have a warmer feel, whereas the natural unstained floors are a bit more austere and serene. I believe my split personality is having a tough time picking, and I am positive I am not alone!

Webber + Studio, Architects

These wide-plank reclaimed wood flooring are exactly what I’d die for — they’re warm, warm and rustic, without being overly rustic. They still work well in a contemporary area.

LKM Design

Reclaimed wood flooring, with that gorgeous variation from the blot, make this kitchen look like it’s been there forever. Who knows, maybe the flooring are original.

Searl Lamaster Howe Architects

When going with a stained wood floor, it’s essential to take into account the table wood tone a as well.

Tip: Don’t forget contrast. This table is much more brown than the flooring, but the white chairs break it up a bit. Wood chairs would have been too much.

Next: More ways to design with timber

What is your verdict? What flooring style would you use?

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