Design Considerations for Dark Wood Flooring in your Interior Décor

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So you want to install a dark wood floor in your home or retail space?
There is nothing more stunning than a rich, dark wood floor that makes your jaw drop when you walk into a room, and there are many ways to create this look, as well as design considerations you should take account as you are creating a floor design for your space.
Wide Plank Flooring In Modern Dining Room
Modern Dining Room by Oak Park Architects & Building Designers Elements Architectural Group

Dark wood flooring can be created using a variety of wood styles and finishes. The most natural way is to use a naturally dark wood like Walnut flooring. Elements Architectural Group did just that for a modern Chicago home. This space is bathed in sunlight so they didn’t have to worry about the floor being too dark.

Wide Plank Flooring In Contemporary Kitchen
Contemporary Kitchen by Melrose Interior Designers & Decorators Justine Sterling Design

In a similar space, in a Boston area home, the Interior Designer Justine Sterling, used light colors on the upper cabinets and walls, made good use of high ceilings, and skylights to bring in more natural light. The brown and cream tones of this wide plank Walnut floor are all natural, no stain required.

This Wide Plank Hickory floor was stained to create a dark finish; it’s the perfect contrast to the light colors of the kitchen. Notice how the boards are hand-scraped to create a distressed wood floor. This is a perfect look for the farmhouse style space created by Harrison Design.

You can use the same design in a modern kitchen as well, like this one from Capital Design. It’s quite a contrast to the farmhouse kitchen. The hardwood floors were crafted in all one width, so it looks more modern and matches well with the stainless steel, marble subway tiles, and cabinet designs.

Two Kitchens With Gray Wide Plank Flooring
Right: Traditional Kitchen by Atlanta Architects & Building Designers Harrison Design. Left: Contemporary Kitchen by Austin Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Capitol Design, LLC
Rustic Kitchen Flooring
Rustic Kitchen

If you want a true farmhouse look, then bring back a flooring style that was used by the first settlers in New England, traditional wide plank Eastern White Pine. Yes, it is a softer floor, but it will give your room a sense of character, that no other floor can provide. This rustic New York kitchen, from Denise Stringer, uses so many great natural elements including stone, tile, wood and of course, Hit or Miss White Pine distressed wood floors that look like they have been installed for ages. The dark stain grabs the texture of the board differently creating some very interesting variation.

modern kitchen with hardwood flooring
Modern Kitchen by Manhattan Beach Architects & Building Designers Lazar Design+Build

Eastern White Pine flooring, with a dark stain, fits in well with the shabby chic look too; like this Modern California beach house.

So now that you have seen several examples of a dark wood floor, you probably want one for your home, but there are a few decisions you need to make.

  • What wood species do I want to use?
  • Do you want a natural dark floor or area you ok with a stain?

A Walnut floor tends to be a high end of the spectrum, so depending on your budget, it’s a good idea to keep your options open.

If you are ok using a stain, then you want to consider the type of flooring you want to use.
HIckory wood Flooring and Dark Wood Floor from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

White Oak is a fantastic choice but will have more grain than Walnut. You can minimize this slightly with a Quartersawn & Rift Sawn White Oak, but even this floor has its own unique grain variation.

Rustic Hardwood Flooring
Heart Pine Flooring, Lakehouse Collection from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Wide Plank Hickory is also a great option, and the grain will not be quite as prominent.

If you are looking for dark wood floors for a restoration project, Long Leaf Heart Pine is a great option. It replicates the look of original heart pine floors that have been installed for hundreds of years, and have naturally darkened over time from foot traffic, a natural patina process, or just refinishing the floors.

Traditional Hardwood Flooring
Wide Plank Walnut Flooring, La Canada, California from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Newly sawn Heart Pine flooring, like you see below, will also be much less expensive than Antique flooring, but you get an equally beautiful floor.

If you know you want to use a dark wood floor, take these design considerations into account:

  • If you have a space with a lot of natural light then dirt, dust, pet hair and other elements may show more easily in the sunlight. An IRobot Roomba cleaner can help.
  • Design your space to accentuate the natural light so it flows into the room. This can be done with the overall architecture like high ceilings, skylights, and larger rooms. It can also be done with the wall color, furniture, and window fashion selections.
  • If you like color, pick some home décor accents that can pop in the room, especially if you have a neutral color scheme.

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There is no limit to the room styles that will work with a dark wood floor.  If you want more info request a complimentary catalog, or order samples of your favorite floors today.
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