Easy Tips for Choosing the Best Wall Colors for Dark Hardwood Floors
“Ah, what a beauty,” you think, looking at the samples of the dark floor in the store… ”Some of them are too gloomy,” it comes to your mind after the repair is completed… “In the photo of beautiful interiors, it looks attractive, but is it suitable for my house or a particular room? ” – you think in the process of choosing floor materials…
Common situation? Congratulations! You are now at the same point where designers are often bombarded with eternal questions: is it worth using a dark floor if the customer likes it and how to do it most competently?
Examining the work of professionals, you are convinced: a dark wooden floor is a very sophisticated reception. It is able to turn the interior into a model of respectability, luxury and chic. It always looks visually richer than a light hardwood floor. Moreover, it is equally effective in both traditional and modern styles. Why do decorators get such a result, but for ordinary fans of this material – not always? What’s the secret?
In fact, there are several secrets. But they all help to correctly “beat” the dark floor, enhance its attractiveness, provide balance and relevant accents. It is about choosing furniture, accessories and the color scheme of the room. And right now you will find out what solutions interior designers and professionals consider the most advantageous.
We analyzed the work of Western decorators and their advice, and then created this guide with a lot of successful examples:
- in the first part you will learn the secrets of choosing the right furniture for a dark wooden floor – 5 tricks from which you can choose the one that you like best;
- in the second part, we will talk about the harmonious choice of carpets that complement textures and color accents, and also list situations where it is not recommended to choose dark flooring and why.
In a word, if you like such floors, but there are many questions – you will get the answers to most of them here.
What types of wood are dark? Everything is simple here: as a rule, it is a dark nut, bog oak and “exotics” (wenge, merbau, ebony, etc.) or any wood tinted in a dark shade.
More importantly is another issue: your personal perception. Many of the tricks will be useful to you even if the shade that you liked is not classified as dark, but personally it seems to you that way.
You can understand this even in the store or after the completion of styling. Do not rush to abandon such luxury in favor of lighter tones! In our guide you will certainly find a couple of secrets that will convince you that any material you like can look luxurious, you just need the right environment.
By the way, the same rules effectively work not only for natural wood, but also for a laminate with the imitation of dark wood. And most of the techniques described here will make the interior with such a floor much more spectacular than if you would prefer lighter shades.
If you think that the best rule for the dark floor is exclusively light (white) furniture, since contrast reception is considered one of the strongest techniques, we hasten to disappoint you: it is not as spectacular as it seems at first glance. If the dark shade of the floor is not supported in any way in other planes, it will strongly “fonit” and an unpleasant “whirlpool effect” will appear.
That is why fans of a dark wooden floor are advised to pay attention to more successful tricks.
Experienced decorators are sure that the shade of that element of furniture that is made of wood or analog materials (for example, MDF) plays a really important role. The reason is its “kinship” to the wooden floor (characteristic texture).
As for the upholstery, in this context it does not play a special role. And if the general color rules of a harmonious interior are not violated, you can safely choose any.
We turn to the rules for choosing harmonious furniture. We found out the 5 most spectacular techniques that decorators use.
Choosing the right furniture for dark wood floors
No. 1 – Use wooden furniture that is lighter in color than the floor:
Choose furniture made of wood for a couple of tones lighter than the floor, but in the same “warm-cold” category and in harmonious color tones. For example, a grayish or black floor with pale wood furniture. Or floors of warm colors with the same warm furniture made of maple or cherry.
Light wooden furniture contrasts excellently with fluffy white carpets and white walls. Its perception is universal and not too demanding about the size of the room.
Number 2 – Use furniture that is darker than the floor:
Recommended for fairly spacious rooms, well-lit by natural light and having a fairly large area free of furniture floor. It is especially important to note here that the tone of the floor and the tone of the furniture should be different shades of the same color.
Number 3 – Alternate between dark and light (= gradation):
Suitable even for small rooms. Choose furniture so that light and dark planes alternate at different heights. For example, a dark table, light chairs) plus white walls and decor. It looks especially chic in a modern and eco-friendly interior.
No. 4 – Use tone-on-tone furniture with dark floors (= repetition):
Legs (or cabinet) of furniture in the color of the floor. This will make the interior unified and complete. The walls in this case should be light – not necessarily white, but much lighter than the floor.
This is a fairly popular technique when creating the interior of the dining room. Use with caution for cabinet furniture, if there is a lot of it – then technique No. 1 is preferable. Do not use for small rooms.
Additional secrets that enhance the effects of repetition and gradation:
It looks especially impressive when techniques 3 and 4 are combined. Moreover, very subtly, focusing on the rules of good taste.
- “Graphic touches” – subtle replicas of dark tones in the elements of furniture (here – on the example of different rooms of the same house – living room, kitchen, dining room):
- “Game at different levels” – repetition of the shade of the floor on the elements located above (along the line of sight).
For example, a dark floor + a dark frame of wooden chairs + a dark element of the design of the ceiling. Or a dark floor + chairs (legs and partially upholstery) + the upper part of the walls. Or – a dark floor + legs of chairs + the base of the table + dark walls. Please note that all light elements are used for gradation, providing the necessary color balance.
No. 5 – Use chairs, armchairs and tables with metal legs:
This technique includes attention not so much to the shade as to the texture. We will consider other ideas on the topic of textures (for walls) in Part-2, but here we focus on the furniture. Metal, as a strong texture, blends perfectly well with dark wood.
Interestingly, both the style of furniture (vintage, high-tech, country, industrial, etc.) and the type of metal (natural, painted, matte, glossy) do not play a role. Neither does the appearance of the upholstery (color, pattern, texture). You can see this for yourself by looking at the photos below, all of them are examples of harmonious combination of furniture with metal elements and dark wooden floors.
Dark wooden floor: Successful combinations with carpets and other interior elements
We continue the conversation on how to correctly emphasize the sophistication of a dark wooden floor and with what to combine it. This manual will be useful to you both at the stage of repair planning, and in the event that you find that the finished floors from the material you like look much darker than you expected.
For this mini-series, we selected only the most successful work of decorators and described techniques that really work well in real interiors designed for life, and not as a demonstration of the designer’s indefatigable imagination.
In the first part, we talked in detail about how to choose the right furniture for a dark floor made of natural wood (these tips are also true for a laminate with a similar texture). And here is an overview of other techniques and decorative tricks:
- You will learn about 6 types of carpets that are ideal for dark floors;
- You will see ideas on the theme of color combinations – with walls and accents;
- find that there are textures that perfectly complement the dark wood floor.
And also – we list the situations when choosing a light or medium tone of the floor will be a more reasonable decision.
In some cases, we do not recommend choosing a dark floor (we are talking about your views on the interior and the decor of a particular room):
- if you prefer “creative mess” in the design of a house in general or in some room in particular (for example, in the interior of a home office or in a teenager’s room) – the dark floor “does not like” chaos, multi-color, and eclecticism;
- if you are not ready to act according to the sculptor’s method – “cut off the excess”, albeit not radically, but at least in fundamental moments;
- if you manage to notice even small specks on the floor and they irritate you terribly – dust is much more noticeable on dark surfaces than even on light ones (owners of dark cars confirm this), although these floors have a “decent appearance” much longer than light ones;
- if it is a small room in which furniture occupies more than 50% of the floor area – in this case the room will seem even smaller, regardless of the color of the furniture.
In all other situations, a dark wooden floor is appropriate, including for small rooms and small apartments. It is important only to choose the right furniture and other interior elements, which is what this large-scale guide is dedicated to. Go on to continue!
What carpets fit perfectly with dark wood floor?
Consider 5 types of carpets, which, according to professional decorators, are optimal for a dark wooden floor. There is option 6 (bright carpets), but it has its own specifics, which we will discuss in the last section of this guide.
If you want these combinations to work at full capacity, leave at least half of the floor area free from the carpet.
Contrast – light mats against the dark sex:
Reception, born on the wave of enthusiasm for Japanese and other Far Eastern styles. In addition to color contrast, repetition in conciseness of textures works well – according to the principle of “less is more”. Ideal for living room or dining room.
Contrast – white and milk shaggy fleecy rugs:
Pronounced as “shaggy” (or “shaggy”), translated from English means “fleecy, shaggy”. It is believed that such options first appeared in Morocco. As the name implies, these are long-hair fluffy carpets that are so pleasant to dive into with legs or even sit down. For the dark floor, the lightest colors of such carpets are suitable.
This subtle play of colors and textures is especially expressively set off by light walls and furniture in neutral tones. This technique is especially effective for modern interiors with a penchant for minimalism.
Original – carpets-skins on a dark floor:
The most impressive – in the case when most of the floor is free from furniture. The dark shade of the wooden floor turns into an excellent background for the skin, emphasizing its complex shape and making it a very expressive element of the interior.
It is recommended to choose contrasting skins or painted in a plain bright color. If you like soft transitions (for example, in brown tones) – choose them according to the tone of the floor.
Original – oriental “kilim” carpets:
Walls can be bright, light or even white. The combination of rich colors, intricate design and dark floor will make the room cozy and welcoming.
By the way, if you decide to make a choice in favor of kilim, you don’t have to worry about the fact that the furniture does not fit perfectly with the floor – the carpet will “draw” most of the attention to itself. We spoke in detail about kilims in a special review using 45 photos as examples.
Addition – dark rugs with a light pattern or plain:
A dark carpet – plain or with a light light pattern will add a twist to the interior without attracting too much attention. Dark tones of the floor shade the snow-white walls and ceiling.
If you do not like this sterile whiteness, choose pale blue or lavender for the walls. Such an interior can be monochrome, but also allows for bright color accents.
color spot – bright plain carpets combined with a dark floor:
It really looks spectacular only in neutral interiors. A bright carpet against a dark floor becomes a center of attraction. That is why you need to place it where you want to attract attention – i.e. in the logical center of the room (photos 1 and 2).
Pay attention to photo-3, a curious focus is used here – a bright carpet on a dark floor with a pronounced wood texture not only serves as a decorative accent, but also performs a very practical role – visually shortens a long corridor.
What else to complement the interiors with dark floors:
We will consider here a color palette (for walls and accents), as well as spectacular combinations of a dark floor with strong textures.
Choosing the wall colors for dark wood floors:
If you are worried about how to choose the color of the walls to the dark floor – it is not so difficult. Any light neutral colors (white, sand, beige, ecru, cream) will do. And also – calm shades of green, yellow and blue. In addition to them – furniture to match the floor and white. For more on this topic, see reception number 4 of part-1.
However, if you want a “dramatic”, “cabinet” or “intimate” effect, you can choose the deep tones of malachite green, cherry or terracotta. In this case, pay attention to furniture in lighter colors (see reception No. 1 from part-1)
White skirting boards:
An interesting, albeit rather controversial, plinth – a wide white skirting board for the border between a dark floor and lighter walls. This approach is often used by American and English decorators. You might find it interesting.
A bold and impressive move. Not all color spots of sufficient intensity matter, but only those that fall into the field of view simultaneously with the floor – i.e. poufs, armchairs, chairs, curtains (in short, everything that relates to the floor).
Given that all of the listed parts have textile elements, you can easily update them so that juicy details appear in the room that enhance the charm of the dark wood on the floor.
Strong wall textures – natural wood:
And finally, about the textures with which the dark wooden floor is especially effective.
“Tree + tree” – why not? If you like this beautiful material so much that you are ready to use it also on the wall, you will get a very interesting combination in a rustic or eco-style. However, if it is not a wooden house, just 1 wall or even a small plot is enough. However, there are a few rules:
- in case of natural contrasts of two types of wood (light wood for a section of walls) – they can be joined directly;
- if the shade of the wall repeats the tone of the floor – use a contrasting baseboard or raise the beginning of the decorative element of the wall above the junction with the floor ;
Strong wall textures – stone and brick:
The combination of a dark wooden floor with stone or brick used to decorate a wall or structural element (for example, framing a fireplace or pillar) looks equally impressive.
The most luxurious combination is a dark floor and a very light stone. As for the brick, it can be safely used for both modern and traditional interiors with a dark floor.