Ultimate Guide: Light Hardwood Flooring Vs. Dark Hardwood Flooring (Pros and Cons)

If you are looking forward to renovating your house floor or want to install a hardwood floor, you are mostly asked to choose between a dark hardwood floor vs. a light hardwood floor. If you are not a person who knows all the pros and cons about these light vs dark hardwood floors, there is a chance that you will not be able to decide the perfect one for you, that is why, in this article. I am going to explain all the basics, pros, and cons related to the light and dark hardwood floors so that you can choose the perfect one for your floor.

Hardwood floors are one of the oldest trends that are still popular to date and this popularity is growing at a rapid rate. This is because hardwood floors bring beauty, elegance, and value to your property. Hardwood floors provide you a variety of options to choose from and select the one that you like in terms of color, shape, size, and other properties. The hardwood floors are made with the toughest quality hardwood that is not only capable of handling the weight but is also strong and resistant to fire, water, and pests.

Investing in a beautiful hardwood floor is also a beneficial investment in your property because it adds value to your old house. Once your house is renovated with the help of perfect-looking hardwood floors, there are better chances for you to get a better return on your investment if you want to sell your house. The resale value of your house will increase significantly because of a nice hardwood floor. Apart from this, your entire house will look different, unique, and modern. So, even if you are not selling the house but just want to renovate it, you can still use the hardwood floor to make it appear beautiful and elegant.

But choosing a perfect hardwood floor that matches all your needs and fulfills all the requirements that you have is a difficult task if you do not know about what options do you have and which floor will look better in your house according to your already present furniture, wall paints, and kitchen cabinet settings. Not all hardwood floors look the same, they all look different. Based on how they look, hardwood floors are divided into two main categories:

Both categories of hardwood floors are beautiful and have their advantages and disadvantages. In the article below, I have explained the pros and cons of both types.

Light hardwood floors

This is one of the most used hardwood floorings that is liked equally across the world for its beautiful modern look and shiny planks that provide a beautiful and bright look. They are also liked because they provide a natural hardwood look to your hardwood floors. There are a lot of hardwood species that can be used for the light hardwood flooring and that means you can get any type of light color, shade, wood grain, and stain for your hardwood floor that you want.

White oak, red oak, maple, birch is some of the most common hardwood species that are considered for light hardwood flooring. All these hardwood species are strong, have more resistance, and are affordable as well. But if you want to have a luxurious look on your light hardwood floor, you can also choose from the ash, hickory, bamboo, and other hardwood species that are specifically designed for the luxurious experience of light hardwood flooring.

Before you decide to choose any hardwood species, you should know how many colors you can get, what are the shades and stains that work with this hardwood species, and you should know about the natural strength of this light hardwood species. This will help you decide and choose a light hardwood flooring species that is strong and capable of surviving for the long term.

Below are some of the pros and cons of the light hardwood floors:

Pros of light hardwood floors

  • Your space looks expanded: If you have a smaller place and you want it to look expanded, you should try light hardwood flooring on that place. As the light hardwood floors provide a modern, unique look, they also expand your space as well. The lighter color of the light hardwood floor has a way of making your space look bigger and warmer and expanded.

    This is because your light hardwood floors trick your eyes and the eyes of the visitors by the lighter shade of the hardwood floors. More light enters your eyes when you look at a lighter hardwood floor and that is why they look more expanded and more beautiful. So, if you are a homeowner with a small space in your house, you should use the light hardwood floors to make it look expanded and bigger.
  • Cleaning is easier: This is one of the biggest benefits of having light hardwood floors. They are better able to hide the dirt, dust, and stains as compared to the dark hardwood floors and that is why they require less cleaning. Apart from this, you can easily clean them by just dusting and removing the dirt. That’s why homeowners love the light hardwood floors.

    Your floor requires less cleaning and less maintenance so, you can enjoy the beauty and still take a break between cleaning your light hardwood floor as well. So, they are a perfect choice for the people who cannot regularly clean their hardwood floors every day. Just install a lighter shade of hardwood and you are all set; you will not have to do periodic cleaning and when you are cleaning it will not be as hard as the cleaning of dark hardwood floors is.
  • Allows your interior to shine: As you know that the lighter shade of the light hardwood floors reflects more and more light, they allow the interior to shine even more. Your beautiful interior will look even more beautiful if you have installed a light hardwood floor, while dark hardwood floors tend to mask the look and shine of the interior.

    The lavish look of your light hardwood floor is subtle and shines and that is why everything around it looks shinier and more beautiful. So, if you have a light-colored interior that you want to shine, you should install a lighter shade of dark hardwood floor. This will make your interior shine when light falls on your hardwood floor and it will create a stunning look.
  • Long-lasting and durable: Most of the light hardwood flooring species are dense and strong and can last longer. This makes the hardwood floors that are made with these types of hardwood species stronger and more durable. This dense hardwood is also able to resist scratches, fire, and water. This resistance is also very important as it helps in enhancing the life of your light hardwood floors.

    So, if you have decided to choose a light hardwood floor for your house, you should choose a strong hardwood wood species that comes in a lighter color as well. This will provide you the required shade you want and will also provide more strength and more resistance to your hardwood floor. Making it last even longer as compared to many other species.
  • Hides scratches better: As you know that the light hardwood floors have more resistance, so they are better able to resist the scratches and they are also better able to hide them as well. This is because the light hardwood floor reflects light, and no one can observe the scratches, and this is how the scratches on the surface of your hardwood floors are masked.

    As they are better able to hide the scratches, that means they require less maintenance and less refinishing or recoating. This means that they are a low-cost option for hardwood flooring as compared to dark hardwood flooring which costs more in terms of hardwood, repairs, maintenance, and refinishing.
  • Provides natural look: Light hardwood floors are known for providing a lavish, classical, and natural look. The look of your hardwood floor will be unique and natural. This is because to create light hardwood flooring planks, less staining and coating is required so the natural color and grain of the hardwood is preserved, and this makes your hardwood floor look more beautiful and natural.

    So, if you are a person who wants to have a natural look that is preserved during the processing of hardwood and finishing, you should choose the light hardwood flooring for your house. This will not only provide you a unique, natural, and shiny look but will also make your house glow.
  • Works very well with lighter paints: If you are renovating your house and you have already painted your walls and the entire house with lighter paint colors. You should choose the light hardwood flooring for your house because, with lighter wall paints and lighter settings, light hardwood floors work very well and enhance the look of your entire house in a synched manner.

    Lighter paint colors such as off white, cream color, and lighter tones of blues, and greens also expand the look of your place if they are accompanied by the light hardwood floor. So, if you want to enhance the look of your house and want it to look more expanded, you should have lighter wall paint colors and light hardwood floors.
  • Works very well with lighter kitchen cabinets: You can also install the light hardwood floors in the kitchens that have lighter kitchen cabinets. They work very well with one another and provide a stunning look and expand the space of your kitchen. You can use the light hardwood floors that match the light cabinet colors to further enhance and sync your hardwood flooring and your cabinets lighter look.

Cons of light hardwood floors

  • Color fades over time: hardwood floor planks tend to absorb the light, and this causes their color to fade away. As time passes and your hardwood floor absorbs more light, it starts gaining a darker tone. This is a natural process that happens with every kind of hardwood even if it is light or dark. But the impact of this color change is more apparent in the light hardwood floors as compared to the dark hardwood floors.

    That is one of the problems that you must face if you choose a light hardwood floor. The color of your light hardwood floor will not change overnight but this process takes years and transformation is slow, so it is still not a big problem, but you should consider it when buying a hardwood species for your foot. Choose a light hardwood floor color that has a tan of darkness, so even if the floor starts getting dark shade it will not be that apparent.
  • Some light hardwood species are softer: Most of the hardwood species are hard, dense, long-lasting, and perform very well over the year. But some light hardwood flooring species are softer, and they are not as dense and strong as the other hardwood species are.

    That is why, if you choose the wrong hardwood flooring species for your light hardwood floor, it will not last long and will be more prone to scratches and dents. You can prevent this by choosing a light hardwood species that is hard and has more strength. This can increase your cost a little but will provide you a solution to this problem of light hardwood floors.
  • Can get more scratches and dents: as some of the lighter hardwood species are less strong stronger than others, they tend to get more scratches and dents over time. They can easily get scratched even with heels and spikes. So, if you are planning on installing the light hardwood floors, you will have to protect them from everything even from the nail scratches of your pets as well.
  • Require more frequent staining and refinishing: You already know that the softer wood of the light hardwood floors can easily get scratches and dents, this means that you will have to refinish them very often. This means the cost of maintaining your light hardwood floors will significantly increase.

    So, if you want to install a light hardwood floor in your house, you should consider this factor as well. But there is also a solution to this problem with light hardwood floors as well, you can choose a hardwood species that is strong and can resist the scratches better and this problem of your hardwood floor will be solved.
  • Adds less value to the property vs. dark hardwood: If you are renovating your house floor to add value to your property and increase the resale value of your property, it will indeed add value to your property. But this value will be very less as compared to the required investment.

    This is because people who are looking forward to buying a house, mostly want something that is long-lasting and is durable, and light hardwood floors are not as long-lasting as dark hardwood floors, so they add less value to your property.
  • Does not work with some contemporary interiors: Light hardwood floors are a classic choice that expands your hardwood floors and makes your place look cooler instead of warmer, that is why in most of the dynamic and contemporary interiors, it does not world very well.

    The uniqueness of the contemporary interiors is destroyed if you installed the wrong light hardwood floor, and that is why most homeowners with contemporary and unique looking interiors, avoid using the light hardwood floors.

Dark Hardwood floors

Dark hardwood floors are the solution to many problems that you face with light hardwood floors. They are tougher, stronger, and harder as compared to the light hardwood floors because they are mostly made with the help of dense and extremely strong wood species that provide extensive strength and stability and provide more resistance against scratches, fire, and pests. They also provide a more unique, modern, and beautiful look.

If you want to choose dark hardwood flooring in your house, you should consider learning about the pros and cons and about the hardwood species that are used for the dark hardwood flooring. This will help you choose the best hardwood species that is according to your requirements and provides the relevant color that you are looking forward to having on your dark hardwood floor.

Mahogany, rosewood, cherry, walnut, red oak, and Lyptus are the few most used hardwood species that provide dark hardwood shades. These are some of the most luxurious hardwood species that provide an exotic and unique looking dark hardwood floor. All these hardwood species are considered the toughest hardwood species among all. This means your dark hardwood floors will be much stronger and long-lasting as compared to light hardwood floorings.

Let’s discuss a few pros and cons of the dark hardwood floorings.

Pros of dark hardwood floors:

  • Color change: All hardwood species indeed absorb light and this makes their color change. Normally hardwood color gets deeper over time as the hardwood absorbs more and more light. But if you already have a darker shade of the hardwood, your hardwood will change color, but the impact will be far less as compared to the light hardwood floors.

    The dark hardwood floor’s color will not fade away but will get deeper over time, meaning that your floor will become even darker. This darker shade will not make your floor appear bad but look even more beautiful because the wood will get its natural color and shade.
  • Warm Look and feel: The dark hardwood floors tend to absorb light and that is why they feel warm under the feet and the darker color of these hardwood floors also makes them look warm as well. They provide a luxurious touch when you are walking barefooted on your hardwood floor. Apart from this, they look very appealing to the eyes and very comfy as well.

    This ability of dark hardwood floors makes them a more suitable choice for you if you want to have a natural warmth in your house and you want the luxurious touch of dark hardwood floor under your feet.
  • Durable and long-lasting: The dark hardwood floors are mostly made with the toughest and strongest hardwood species only. These hardwood species provide enough strength to the planks of your floor that they can be used anywhere even in the high traffic areas of your house as well. This strength of the hardwood also makes a durable and long-lasting solution.

    If you want to enjoy the beauty of your hardwood floor and want it to last longer and stay strong all the time, you should choose the dark hardwood species for flooring. This will not only allow you to enjoy all the features of hardwood floors but will also provide you enough strength to carry heavy traffic throughout its life without getting damaged.
  • More resistant to scratches: As you already know that the dark hardwood floors are mostly made with some of the toughest hardwood species on earth. This strength of the dark hardwood species makes them more resistant to scratches. Normal floors can easily be scratched with shoes and even with the nails of your pets, but this is not the case with dark hardwood floors.

    Dark hardwood floors tend to be more resistant to scratches on the surface that your pets and your kids can not scratch them easily as they can to the light hardwood species. This provides you with extra protection and helps you save your cost that you otherwise would have spent on the damage repairs due to scratches.
  • More resistant to water, fire, and pest: Most hardwood floors are moderately water-resistant and fire-resistant as well. They also do not get damaged easily by the pest attacks either. But the dark hardwood floors are extremely resistant to water, fire, and pests. This extra resistance is because of the extra toughness and smooth surface of the dark hardwood floors.

    Extra resistance from water, fire, and pests protects your dark hardwood floors from getting damaged for a longer time. Meaning that the life of your hardwood floor will get further enhanced if you choose the dark hardwood floors. Resistance from these elements can also help save your money on repairs as they require fewer repairs.
  • More resistant to wear-and-tear: The strong hardwood of the dark hardwood flooring species provides a long-lasting hardwood floor that needs less repair because it is more resistant to wear-and-tear. The hardwood of the dark hardwood species is much stronger as compared to the light hardwood species and you will not need frequent repairs that you might have to because of the softer wood of the light hardwood species.
  • Add more value to your property: If you are a property owner and looking forward to selling the property after the renovations and want to gain more profits on your investment. You should choose the dark hardwood floors; they might cost you a little extra amount, but they will provide a great return as well.

    This is because people who are looking forward to buying new houses want their house floors to last longer and that is why they pay more for the house if it has a dark hardwood floor. So, you can make extra money if you choose the dark hardwood floors.
  • More pet and child friendly: If you have pets or kids, this increases the chances of getting your hardwood floor scratches easily. So, most of the floors are not child and pet friendly. But dark hardwood floors are strong enough that they can resist the scratches from the pet’s nails and the children’s toys. This extra protection of the hardwood floors makes them a suitable choice for parents and pet owners. So, if you have kids or pets or looking forward to having kids or pets, you should get a dark hardwood floor instead of a light hardwood floor.
  • Perfect choice for extra-large spaces: Dark hardwood floors absorb the light instead of reflecting it like the light hardwood floors and this creates an illusion of smaller space size and instead of looking expanded the place will look smaller. That is why they are a perfect choice for larger spaces. They make these spaces look shorter and make them look more balanced as well.
  • Work well with all paints and all kitchen cabinets: The dark hardwood floors look beautiful if they are surrounded by the darker kitchen cabinets and darker wall paints. They tend to make the rooms warmer and calmer and more beautiful if the walls of the rooms are also painted darker.

    Apart from the darker settings, wall paints, and dark kitchen cabinets, they also work very well with lighter paints and cabinets as well. This is because they can be used in any type of combination of colors and lightings.
  • Work well with both traditional and modern interiors: Light hardwood floors only work well with the traditional and classical interior designs, but dark hardwood floors work very well with all kinds of interior designs and room spaces.

    The dark hardwood floors are modern and look stunningly beautiful when used with modern interiors and settings. Apart from this, they also look equally beautiful in traditional settings as well.

Cons of dark hardwood floors:

  • Cleaning is an issue: The dark hardwood floors are stunningly beautiful but cleaning them is an issue. This is because they cannot hide dust and pet hairs. Anything that is not dark will appear like dirt and you will have to clean it. If you want to keep your dark hardwood flooring clean, you will have to clean them again and again.

    If you walk on your dark hardwood floors with shoes that you wore outside, or if you have a pet, you will see that your floor will become dirty even after so much cleaning. This is something that irritates most of the homeowners who have a dark hardwood floor installed in their houses.
  • Scratches and dents are more noticeable: Dark hardwood floors cannot hide the dents or scratches if they have any. This means any scratch or dent on the hardwood surface will be more noticeable. This makes the dark hardwood floors harder to maintain as you will have to work on your floor again and again if you get scratches or dents frequently.

    So, you will be spending more time and money on hiding these dents and scratches. This is a huge problem for the homeowners that have installed dark hardwood floors. They must spend more money and time to maintain the flawless look of their hardwood floors.
  • More frequent staining: As you know that the dark hardwood floors cannot hide the scars, scratches, and dents, which means to retain their original surface color and flawlessness you will have to frequently restrain them. Restraining will restore the surface to the original color and shade, but this will not last for the long term.
  • It costs more: Most of the dark hardwood species such as mahogany and others are very costly in comparison to light hardwood species. So, there is a chance that it will cost more to homeowners as compared to the light hardwood floors.

    But this extra cost for a luxury experience is worth it and you will agree with this statement once you experience it. Also, the dark hardwood floors cost more in terms of repairs, restraining, and refinishing costs as well.

frequently asked questions

  1. Question: Do dark hardwood floors make the room look smaller?

    Yes, dark hardwood floors tend to create an illusion of making places look smaller. This is because the dark hardwood floors absorb much of the light and only reflect a small amount and this creates an illusion for our eyes. That is why rooms with dark hardwood floors usually look smaller.

  2. Question: Light or dark hardwood floors with white kitchen cabinets?

    If you have a white kitchen cabinet, you should use the light hardwood flooring because they work very well with a white color cabinet. The lighter shades of hardwood floors blend with the white color of the cabinet and make your space look more beautiful and more expanded and exotic.

  3. Question: Light or dark hardwood floor in 2021? Which one is trending?

    Answer: Both light and dark hardwood floors are trending worldwide in 2021. In 2019 and 2020 people used both shades of the hardwood flooring almost equally. Some homeowners also used the dark and light hardwood floors to create a contrasting floor as well.

  4. Question: Dark or light hardwood flooring according to lighting?

    If your rooms have more lights and are also exposed to daytime light in the morning time, you should consider using the dark hardwood floors, but if your rooms have less light then you should install light hardwood floors. This will create a perfect balance between lighting and floors so your dark hardwood floor will not look gloomy due to less light and your light hardwood floors will not change color quickly due to the absorption of light.