Picture this……..selecting materials for your room renovation is near completion, yet, the sheer quantity of flooring color options have created a roadblock in finalizing the design. The question is, would light or dark flooring be superior in accomplishing the best outcome? The answer goes beyond personal preference, as additional factors are worth considering in the determination of the best flooring shade. Above all, experts recommend concentrating on comfort while simultaneously selecting a color scheme that will complement the newly renovated space.

While keeping personal preferences in mind, let’s examine additional considerations that can help guide flooring shade selections.

Room Size and Appearance

Did you know that a room’s size appearance can be affected by the shade of the flooring installed?  While dark flooring can benefit spacious rooms in adding a level of comfort, it can feel rather confining in smaller spaces.  Light or neutral wall colors are recommended with dark flooring selections as they provide contrast and brighten the room. Large windows, providing plenty of natural light, compliment darker flooring shades by illuminating the deep hue. Alternatively, when natural light is less than abundant, properly placed lighting can be useful in balancing dark flooring while adding interest and appeal to the area.

On the other end of the shade spectrum, smaller-sized rooms tend to benefit from light flooring as the paler shade can create a feeling of airiness making rooms seem more open and spacious.  Light flooring shades can even increase room brightness when natural lighting is less than ideal.  Further, there is greater versatility in wall color choices and furniture upholstery allowing bolder decorative styles when lighter flooring is installed.


Light or Dark Floors

One of the most enduring design techniques is in comparing and contrasting cabinet shades with flooring colors. Therefore, when kitchen or built-in living room cabinets are white, or a very light color, then a darker floor will assist in highlighting the cabinets. Alternatively, cabinets that are black or dark in color will benefit from neutral or light-colored flooring shades in accenting the cabinets beautifully.

When shopping for new flooring, use a side-by-side comparison between cabinets and flooring as it should provide much clarity in the shade selection process.  Placing floor samples next to cabinets will provide an excellent visual in color selection. Or, consider bringing a cabinet door to flooring showrooms to compare while browsing.

 Furniture and Decorative Style

Light or Dark Floors

Generally, most furniture will look great, regardless of the flooring shade, as long as the room’s decorative accents are in good taste. As it is common to accumulate various furniture styles over the years, furnishings may not be exclusively reflective of one period but rather a mixture of periods and styles. If furnishings are diverse, using medium or darker flooring should work well to complement the various styles.

Traditionally decorated rooms are enhanced by the use of dark flooring which serves to highlight the room’s timeless appeal while adding warmth and comfort to the atmosphere.  Alternatively, lighter flooring complements modern furnishings containing steel or chrome and homes constructed with industrial materials such as concrete walls.

Regardless of the final flooring choice, whether light or dark in color, adding an area rug to the newly renovated room can assist with balancing furniture, flooring, and room design.


On a practical note, cleaning and maintenance should not go without proper consideration during the flooring selection process. Therefore, it is worth noting that light flooring surfaces are considered better at hiding dirt and dust and tend to last longer while dark flooring is often thought to be more stylish and better suited in hiding imperfections.

For more information, see Hackrea.com’s flooring article–Dark floors vs. light floors: pros and cons of each type.