Are Dark or Light Floors Better?

Hardwood is a very popular choice for flooring. It’s strong, durable, and timeless. When choosing hardwood flooring, you’ll need to decide between light or dark planks. But…which is best? Let’s take a look…

Dark Hardwood Flooring

Dark hardwood comes in selections such as cherry, mahogany, hickory, ask, oak, walnut, and more. The dark colors of hardwood flooring is the preference of many homeowners because it has a slew of unique advantages. However, there are some drawbacks that need to be considered as well.



  1. Aesthetics. Dark floors have a rich, deep, dramatic appeal that goes well with many decors including modern, vintage, traditional, rustic, and early American.
  2. Warm and welcoming. Dark flooring is appreciated for its inviting cozy feel.
  3. Anti-fade. Dark flooring doesn’t fade as quick and easy as light flooring can. It is ideal for rooms with a lot of sunlight.
  4. Doesn’t show dirt. If you have a lot of traffic that tracks in dirt and grime, dark wood is your best bet because it doesn’t show as much.
  5. Home value. Studies have shown that homes with dark hardwood typically sell for more money as opposed to those with light colored wood flooring.
  6. Less wear and tear. Dark floors tend to do better than light ones when there’s a lot of traffic or activity in the room since most hardwoods that are dark come from species that are tough and strong.
  7. Staining and refinishing. Less staining, refinishing, and maintenance is needed
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  1. Shows scratches. Because dark floors generally have darker stain on the top, scratches tend to show.
  2. Not as pet friendly. Pets tend to scratch and scrape the floors, causing the lighter shades inside the wood to show through. Pet hair also shows up on dark flooring.
  3. Shows lint and light debris. Dark floors show up light debris, like lint and threads, more than light flooring does.
  4. Can make a room appear smaller. Dark floors can make a small room look even smaller, especially if the walls and/or furniture are dark.

Light Hardwood Flooring

Pine, maple, and white oak are examples of light hardwood flooring. Light hardwood floors are a hit among homeowners and has been trending off and on for decades. As with dark hardwood, light hardwood floors have both their advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Versatile. Light hardwood works well with most décor like contemporary, rustic, traditional, and antique.
  2. Doesn’t show dirt much. Light wood tends to mask dirt.
  3. Dog and kid friendly. Light wood doesn’t show scratches and dirt as much as dark floors do so they are better for parents and pet owners.
  4. Doesn’t show scratches. Scratches on light wood blend right in.
  5. Makes a room look more spacious. Light colors brighten up a room and cause them to look larger.


  1. Prone to wear and tear. Light woods are typically not as strong and durable as dark woods are.
  2. Fades. Light wood flooring fades more than dark flooring does.
  3. Shows dark stains. If oil or grease is tracked in, a light colored wood floor will readily show it.
  4. Fewer options. There aren’t as many light woods to choose from in flooring.
  5. Value. As a rule, lighter flooring is not considered to be as expensive and therefore doesn’t bring as much of a return in a home sale as dark wood does.
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