Dark Vs Light Laminate Flooring – Which To Choose?

When it comes to deciding on the right hue for laminate flooring in a room, it can be a major decision. There are plenty of light and dark flooring options available, but deciding what will work best for the room isn't always that easy. In this post, we've put together the key factors to determine whether dark or light laminate flooring will work best for the rooms in your home.

Think about your room's overall style when choosing a shade of laminate flooring. The best way to decide between dark laminate or light laminate is to consider the amount of traffic and the room's primary use; the hue affects how frequently you clean or maintain the laminate. Also, consider how to coordinate the room's design features with the flooring hue, including:

  • wall color
  • trim color 
  • prominent furniture pieces or decor
  • lighting

The color of your laminate floor can greatly influence the room's appeal. If you design a room from scratch, think about the overall theme that you want to use and go from there. It's also important to consider other factors such as natural light and the decor throughout the home. Continue reading to learn more about how to decide whether to choose dark or light laminate flooring.

empty living room with dark laminate flooring, Dark Vs Light Laminate Flooring - Which To Choose

Factors to consider For Light Vs. Dark Laminate Flooring

Family room with curved windows and dark laminate flooring

When you are considering what type of laminate flooring to use in your home, there are a few things to think about before making a purchase. Let's take a look at them.

Cleanliness & Maintenance

How often do you prefer to clean your laminate floors? And what type of traffic will the rooms have on a daily and weekly basis? If you have small children or pets in your home, you want to consider this, as more traffic can result in frequent cleaning and potential scratching or staining. 

Debris from dust and dirt tends to show up more prominently on darker colored laminate flooring. So to say, if you have a room that will have a high amount of traffic, you may want to consider lighter laminate to keep it looking its best even between cleanings. Light flooring will hide dust and debris.

Although scratches are more apparent on darker laminate, dark hues hide the filler colors used for repairs, which might be noticeable otherwise. Discolorations from stains can easily blend on darker floors too. While lighter laminate does not hide stains well, it will conceal scratches or dents more readily.

Of course, the visibility of damaged areas on laminate is also influenced by lighting and grain patterns. Tossing an area rug into the mix can ease your cleaning regime and lower the risk of potential maintenance issues by preventing damage.

Room's Color Scheme

If the room's walls and furniture have dark tones, flooring with a lighter tone will work better to bring out those colors. The opposite will be true if the furniture or walls have a light tone. Consider the walls primarily, and also the trim color.

You can use darker flooring to create a more formal look for living rooms and offices or a more relaxed look for entertainment areas. Dark shades complement a wide range of colors and patterns. If you have various types of fabrics, furniture, and accessories in a room, a darker floor tone can blend them. However, darker tones can also make rooms appear a bit smaller than they really are, making these hues less than ideal for small bedrooms and bathrooms.

Lighter laminate will make your rooms look larger and more spacious. They allow you to create several different textures in a room, as their grains are typically more prominent than darker toned grains. However, depending on other room factors such as natural light, furniture, and wall color, light floors can wash out a room, making it appear less personable and more like an art gallery.

Style of Furniture Pieces & Decor

Many greys and whitewashed laminate floors work well with traditional or rustic home decors. Actually, most lighter hues work well for modern decor, too --which means that you won't have trouble finding furniture and accessories to complement them.

Medium and darker toned grains can work well in almost any setting because darker laminate is easier to match with any decor or style. For example, cherry and mahogany-colored laminate floors work extremely well with modern and contemporary looks. Darker floors are more versatile overall and can go well with both traditional and contemporary styles.

Think about the kind of look you prefer for the room and the shades of any prominent furniture pieces or decor --including appliances for kitchen flooring.

Does laminate flooring have to match from room to room?

There are no home decorating rules set in stone; it's all about your personal preference and taste--there's no wrong or right answer here. And while it's not necessary to match the laminate flooring in each room in your home, it does look better when the floors are coordinated with one another.

When floors are coordinated, they tend to complement each other well. This should be the overall goal when it comes to establishing the flooring types from room to room. So feel free to mix and match things up as you wish. Here are a few tips to help you coordinate room to room flooring in your home.

Stick with three or fewer flooring options

This doesn't mean three colors for the entire home, but just for adjoining rooms. Having more than three different types of flooring can make your home look uncoordinated and busy. Try to create an intersection where the flooring colors can all come together to complement a neutral color. Each room or hallway can have its own unique flooring color, but it should all be aligned with the overall decor or color scheme.

Decide what works best for each room

Certain rooms in a home will naturally lend themselves to dark or light flooring types. Rooms with natural light, for example, can work well with dark flooring, as the light can help to open the room up and make space look larger. Gray or light color floors work well in larger open spaces such as family rooms, kitchens, or living rooms. It also helps to consider the room's mood before deciding whether you'll go with a large dark or light flooring.

Consider the colors

Try to establish continuity with certain color schemes when shopping for flooring. For example, if you have a dark blue carpet in one bedroom, it may be best to avoid connecting it with a brilliant white carpet in the hallway--which can be pretty jarring to look at.

A smoother transition color would be a light beige or gray. It's best to avoid stark contrasting colors when going from room to room. You can use neutral colors to help create a bit of distance between dark and light colors, allowing each room to stand out on its own without throwing a wrench in the home's overall coordination.

Consider your decorative plans

If you are installing flooring in a room that is not yet decorated (or painted), think about what you want the colors of the walls and furniture to be. Will you purchase a dark sofa with light-colored pillows? Will the walls be painted a neutral color or a darker tone? Try to coordinate your flooring with the rest of the room to determine whether dark or light colors will complement it best once it's completely furnished and painted.

Do dark floors make a room look smaller?

Beautiful home entrance with dark wood laminate floor

For the most part, yes, darker floors tend to make a room look more confined and smaller. This can be lessened when there is a lot of natural light entering the room through open doors or windows. You can also use cool tones on the walls to help the space look bigger as well. Here are a few ways to help make rooms in your home look bigger:

Go lighter

Install light-colored flooring such as white-washed greys, natural wood tones, or cream carpets to help open up rooms and give them a larger appearance. They will also help to draw in natural light coming from the windows and doors of the room.

Stick to one flooring type

While this may sound constraining, it's a common practice for smaller homes to help the rooms appear larger. The seamless effect that it produces helps the home's look flow evenly, giving a continuous and open appearance.

Install diagonal or parallel flooring

Another common flooring trick is to install boards that run parallel to the longest wall in the room. This helps create a bit of space in the room, making it look more elongated.

Use larger tiles

Bathrooms are typically the smallest rooms in a home. However, using larger tiles, you can help the bathroom in your home appear bigger than it really is. For example, a 30" x 30" tile can help to add a more spacious look to your bathroom than the typical 16" x 16" tile--and it helps if your bathroom has an East or South-facing window as well.

Should the floor be darker than the walls?

It depends on your personal preference. Overall, interior design is pretty interpretive, and the most important factor to consider is the type of vibe that you want the rooms in your home to have. Floors don't necessarily need to be darker than the walls. However, they can visually ground the space inside a room and prevent it from looking too enclosed. That being stated, darker floors are typically the preference if the walls of the room are lighter.

What color of laminate flooring is most popular?

Currently, grey and white-washed laminate flooring is the most popular flooring option in the market. However, wood-like laminate floor grains such as maple, oak, and cherry are always in demand and probably will be for the foreseeable future--you just can't be the all-natural feel of beautiful wood tones and grains. On top of that, beige and brown-colored floors can go with almost any decor.

Wrapping things up

We hope that the above-mentioned pros and cons of light and dark flooring can help you to make the best choice for your home. Remember, when you decide on the type of laminate flooring for your home, it's best to consider the room's current decor, including the furniture and wall colors.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

What Color Furniture Goes With Gray Flooring?

What Is The Easiest To Install Bathroom Flooring?

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