How to Choose the Right Stain Color for Your Hardwood Floors – Part 2


We discussed before how to choose a stain color for hardwood floors. Here are a few more things to consider when weighing your options in wood stain colors.

Camouflaging Quality

Depending on what exactly you want to hide, there are ways your wood stain can help you. If you have some unsightly spots such as water damage or pet stains, a darker stain would most likely do the job. However, while dark stains hide well what is underneath, they make dust or lint more obvious. Which brings us to the next point.


Light-stained hardwood floors make dust, lint or pet hair blend in, so they require less maintenance. By contrast, very dark stains look absolutely fabulous, but emphasize every piece of lint and may turn into a maintenance nightmare. This is even more obvious when your space gets a lot of sunlight. If you don’t feel up to the task or if you have pets or kids and a lifestyle with no room for constant cleaning, choose a lighter stain color.


Staining a hardwood floor dark is not a good idea in high-traffic areas. There is a reason why the wood floors of school gymnasiums or bowling alleys are not dark. Scratches and general wear and tear are better camouflaged by light-stained floors, so choose light over dark if your floors get a lot of abuse.

Size and Light

While extremely popular nowadays, dark stains make a room look smaller. By contrast, lighter stains tend to open up a space. However, if your heart is set on dark wood floors, you can counteract this issue with wall paint and cleverly chosen furniture. Lighting is also important: a space that doesn’t get much light may turn even gloomier with dark wood floors. On the other hand, a well lit room emphasizes the specks of dust on the dark stain.

DIY vs. Professional Staining

Staining wood floors is a job that everyone can do, but few can do well. The final look of your floors are bound to show the experience and knowledge of those who worked on them. If you are wondering whether to hire a professional wood floor contractor for the job, here are a few things to consider. Dark stains have a tendency to show any scratches left by the sanding machine if the sanding was not done properly. Using light stains can lead to an uneven, blotched look if the staining is not done right. Depending on your DIY strengths and weaknesses, this gives you an idea about when to ask for help.

Wood Stain Color Trends

We left the trendy criteria for the end because we consider it rather irrelevant. This is because what is trendy today may be old news tomorrow. In addition, trends in hardwood floor stain colors may not work well with your decor or taste. We recommend you get informed on modern stain colors (by the way, dark wood stains are all the rage now), but do not let yourself intimidated by them. Any type of stain color looks trendy if carefully chosen and applied.

A Few Last Pieces of Advice

There are no rules in combining wood species with stain colors. It is all a matter of taste. You can use a walnut stain on an oak floor and a dark stain on a naturally light wood. The only limitations are the ones we talked about above.

Start by narrowing down your choices, then ask your hardwood floor professional to prepare a few samples for you, so that you can lay down the planks on your floor and get a clearer idea about the end result. Remember that you are not limited to the stain colors exhibited in showrooms. You can achieve a customized look by mixing stains until the result satisfies you.

Finally, be consistent. Even if you have hardwood floors in two separate rooms that do not necessarily intersect, keeping things simple by using one stain color all throughout your home gives your house a unified, well-thought look.