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Dark Hardwood Floors – Pros, Cons & Photos

Dark hardwood floors are a classic flooring option. They’re elegant and rich, and they can suit modern and traditional spaces equally, depending on the finish you choose. But, they’re still not right for everyone or every home…

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Personally, I’m a fan of dark hardwood floors. I have them in my own home, a 1930s colonial. The majority of the floors were dark when we moved in, and I felt like it was the right look for the house, so, when we had our floors refinished in 2022, I just stuck with it the style and chose a dark floor stain.

Overall, I have no regrets for choosing dark hardwoods … except in one room. More on that in a bit. First, I’ll share the pros and cons, plus what I’ve learned about dark hardwood floors, below.

Dark Hardwood Floors: Pros

The best part about dark hardwood floors, to me, is how timeless and elegant they look. The second best part is how versatile they are, style-wise.

I know the flooring trends right now lean more toward the bleached white oak look, and I love that style too. However, I feel like it’s more tied to certain aesthetics like coastal and Scandinavian, and will probably fade out of style in 10 years or so.

Dark hardwoods, on the other hand, have been stylish for centuries. They may not be quite as trendy as bleached floors, but they’re more likely to stand the test of time.

Personally, I also have a lot of white paint in my house, and I like a bit of contrast in my home, so dark floors work well in my space for that reason, too.

The final thing I like about having dark hardwood floors is that both myself and my dog (a black lab) have dark hair, so the floor camouflages it well. If you’re a pet-owner, I personally think it’s always a good idea to choose the flooring that’ll best disguise pet hair.

Dark Hardwood Floors: Cons

The dark hardwood floors in our kitchen area

While I generally love dark hardwood floors, there are a couple of things I don’t love about them.

The first is that they show scratches a lot easier than light hardwood floors. I have pads on all of my furniture, and a paint pen handy so I can fix the larger gauges. Big scratches don’t happen all that often (we’ve only had one since we refinished our floors last year), but little ones happen pretty frequently.

If you do go with a darker floor stain, I suggest using a polyurethane with some shine, like an eggshell or satin , to add some durability to the finish.

The second con is that really dark hardwood floors show a lot of crumbs and dust (and I’d imagine dog hair, if you have a light-colored dog). We have two colors of hardwoods in our home (more on how that happened, AKA my flooring mistake, below). One is a slightly lighter shade, which is much better at concealing dirt, because it’s not so dark that it camouflages the wood grain.

This is our kitchen/great room, with extra-dark floors.

The other flooring color (seen above) is so dark that it’s almost espresso colored, and this flooring really shows lots of dirt and crumbs (it’s also in our kitchen) It look lovely when it’s clean, but wouldn’t go this dark again, at least not until my kids move out.

What dark hardwood floor stain colors should you choose?

Image via Meg Mcmillan, who use 75% Jacobean and 25% Ebony stain on her floors.

One of the questions I get asked most often via email or my Instagram DMs is “What color are your hardwood floors.” And sadly, I don’t actually know, because the flooring company mixed a couple of colors to try and match the stain on our stairs, which we weren’t refinishing at the time.

It looks a lot like Bona Spice Brown or Bona Medium Brown, for reference.

That said, both of those are beautiful dark floor stain colors.

A few other dark wood stains I love:

  • Bona Antique Brown
  • Bona Cocoa
  • DuraSeal Antique Brown
  • DuraSeal Dark Walnut
  • Varathane Dark Walnut
  • Varathane Jacobean

The most important part of choosing a floor stain is to try it out in your home!

If you have different types of flooring in your home, try it out on each type of flooring, too!

Remember when I said I loved my dark wood floors in all rooms except one? This is because one room, our kitchen/great room, has a different type of wood floor than the rest of the house. It’s some sort of cherry wood, while the rest of the house has oak floors.

I only looked at the stain sample on the oak flooring. In these rooms, the stain looks like a deep brown, but definitely not an espresso color.

In the kitchen area, because of the way the stain absorbed into the cherry flooring, the the floors are dark, dark brown. Like an espresso color. Even though we used the same stain on the whole first floor.

I actually really don’t love it, because it shows every single crumb. The floors look dirty all the time, even though we sweep them daily.

The rest of the home hides dirt and dust well, so we don’t feel like we need to sweep every single day in those rooms.

So, all of this to say:

  • Make sure you check the stain on all the flooring types in your home
  • If you want to hide crumbs and dirt (AKA have children or pets) go for a slightly

Are dark hardwood floors in style?

Image via rDesign Home

Dark hardwood floors are very much in style.

Like all hardwood floor colors, the best option really depends on the style of your home and your personal taste. Dark hardwood floors look great in colonial and Victorian-style homes, and they also work well in modern spaces with a glamorous touch, or midcentury-style homes (as long as the color isn’t too dark)

What style works best with dark hardwood floors?

As I mentioned, dark hardwood floors can work with all kinds of home decor styles. Here are some images I’ve compiled of dark hardwood floors in different types of spaces.

Modern

Image via Arent & Pyke

Fresh-traditional

Image via Park & Oak

Eclectic

Image via Soho Home

Minimalist / Contemporary

Image via Dwell / Biasol