The Black & White of Hardwood Flooring

Cortney Lindquist

More and more people are choosing hardwood floors with a color that’s not natural—most dramatically, some of them are black or white.

White Hardwood Flooring

Modern off-white and greyish-white colors that are relatively transparent and don’t hide the hardwood’s characteristics have become popular. We’re also seeing more and more customers choose colors in their interior design that contrast with the white tones of the flooring, sometimes even contrasting black elements with the white flooring.

We usually use water-based polyurethane for whitewashed floors. This prevents the wood from getting an amber color, which can happen with oil-based finishes. This “ambering” can become noticeable with light whitewashed floors. With greyish whitewashed hardwood floors, however, we can use our normal alcohol-based finish.

Over the years, we have become experts at achieving that whitewashed hardwood floor look on site. However, if you’d prefer prefinished hardwood flooring, you can choose good-quality prefinished products. Whatever you choose, whitewashing wood flooring will give you a modern feel that brightens a room.

Whitewashing can be used in a variety of styles, from a rustic vibe to a formal or ultra-minimalist impression. Some homeowners going for the rustic look are choosing lower grades of wood for a more-natural appearance (“grade” here refers to the degree in which the wood shows its natural characteristics).

Black Hardwood Flooring

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen more homeowners choosing black hardwood flooring. They want something different, maybe even a little edgy, and the rich, luxurious black look appeals to them. 

There is no better way to make a statement in your home than with truly dark black, and we don’t mean just dark hardwood floors, but black hardwood… or as close to black it as it can get. You can find black and dark wood flooring all over design magazines and blogs for a reason—it’s a sophisticated and classy addition to any space.

Oftentimes, designers will combine a black wood floor with a light wall color or molding for a beautiful eye-catching contrast. It’s also become trendy to use black floors in combination with light (sometimes white) furniture and cabinetry. This contrast is very distinctive and bold, providing visual interest and a feeling of coziness.

There is one disadvantage to dark wood floors. Dark and black wood floors can show more dirt, dust, and grime than lighter floors. This is why they need to be cleaned more regularly, so they aren’t always the best option for high-traffic rooms or busy homes with pets and little children. However, dark hardwood floors are easily cleaned, so you shouldn’t let that stop you.

Image: Shutterstock

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