2016 Hardwood Flooring Trends.

2016 Hardwood Flooring Trends

UPDATE:  Check out my 2017 Hardwood Flooring Trends article

Yes, it’s hot off the presses – the Top 12 Hardwood Trends for 2016. You’ll notice that several of these trends are synergistic with each other. And, you may also notice that some trends are contradictory to each other (e.g. dark and blonde colors are both in style).


Please note that different customers have different tastes when it comes to style and color choices. And, different woods work in different styles of homes. I generally advise my customers to do what they prefer and works for their home (and budget) not just to follow the trends.


This article is divided into 5 Trend sections: Stains, Finishes, Styles, Species and Sources, locations/construction methods. And, for the first time, I’ve added a 6th section that shows what’s dated or “not hot.”


Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.


What’s Trending for Hardwood in 2016

Hardwood Stain Colors

2016 hardwood trends - dark and light stainsOverall, there’s a shift towards darks and lights (yes, the two extremes), as well as cooler and browner tones. Redder and warmer tones are less popular and more polarizing.




1. Dark and darker

dark hardwood flooringYes, dark continues to grow and grow and grow. I’ve been discussing dark hardwood floors for a few years. The most popular colors have been ebony, espresso (which is a 50/50 blend of ebony/jacobean), jacobean and dark walnut. We test these colors on our customers’ floors as the stains look different on different woods (and even different planks). And, please understand that many of the pictures on line looker darker than they do in real life.


Hardwood flooring trends for 2016Lately, we’ve had more requests to go darker and darker and darker. To serve this need, Duraseal has now added a darker stain than ebony…it’s called true black. It’s just about to hit the marketplace. Another solution to get the floors darker is to open up the pores with a water pop. This extra steps costs more, but it helps the wood absorb the stain more for a darker and super contemporary look.


True Black Duraseal stain 199Here is a picture of white oak floors using Duraseal’s True Black #199.


If you’re looking to buy the True Black stain, you can purchase it online at Amazon buy following above link or clicking on the picture of the can.  It’s not available in most stores yet.


Here are some key questions that customers ask about dark hardwood floors.





Bonus tip: What to do if you have a scratch?  This is not a perfect solution, but consider buying a Minwax stain marker.  It can help camouflage your scratches, especially if you only have a few.  It comes in many colors including ebony, dark walnut, red mahogany, golden oak, provincial and cherry.  Some people will even get 2 similar colors (e.g. ebony and dark walnut) as there is color variation in the wood.


2. Grays and white washes

Gray hardwood - 2016 flooring trendsYes, gray is hot when it comes to hardwood floors. This cool tone has grown in popularity and we get more and more requests for gray, especially among our higher end and more fashion forward customers. We also get tons of phone calls from across the country on how to refinish hardwood for that gray look. You can read more about that here: How to refinish and stain hardwood floors gray. The best way to do this is to mix ebony with white (read more in that post).



light gray hardwood floors trend for 2016Gray is more expensive as you need to use a higher grade water borne poly such as Bona Traffic HD. We see all sorts of mixes from light to dark gray (it’s best to test). We also have some customers that mix in a touch of gray with darker brown stains.





Gray hardwood floors - prefinished Shaw Castlewood 2016 trendsYou can also also get pre-finished gray floors. Generally gray looks best in maple and birch which are a bit more expensive than oak. But, there are now plenty of oaks in the marketplace. If you already have oak in your home, I’d recommend that you stay with the same species so that you can match the floors (even if you refinish later). Maple and birch are more challenging and more expensive to refinish as they are closed pore woods.


If you’re looking to get gray wood in the above picture, you can purchase it here.  This item comes in other colors as well.  And, here’s a link to where you can find some other pre-finished gray hardwoods.



white washed floorsWhite wash is also making a comeback, believe it or not. But, it’s often done in a more contemporary way with a touch of gray or wire-brushed (more on that later). Or, it’s done as a steep contrast with white in some rooms and a deep ebony in others.


3. Ultra Blonde

Blonde or natural hardwood tends to be the 2nd most popular color after the darks. Natural makes the space look larger and airier. It tends to give the home a more casual look, and often costs a bit less.


blonde hardwood floors 2016But, lately, I’ve been seeing a new twist on this, especially among those with white oak floors. Rather than using an oil based poly (which makes the floors a bit darker and more amber), many are opting for water borne poly, especially higher end Bona Traffic HD for a lighter and less yellow look. The finish is more matte, too. This option has some other benefits, too including that it dries faster and smells less (but it does cost more).


For more info, check out my Ebook – Discover the 6 Secrets of Refinishing Hardwood Floors.


6 Secrets of Refinishing hardwood floors ebook

Finishes for Hardwood

4. Matte and satin finishes

What sheen is most popular for hardwood floorsShiny and semi gloss are out; satin and matte finishes in. Satin (with a bit of sheen) is the most popular, but now matte is starting to gain more appeal. See this article: Which type of sheen is most popular for wood floors? Some of this is driven by the increased popularity of water borne poly as well as oiled floors and wire brushed finishes. Some of it is also driven by the honed look in granite and poured concrete counter tops.



5. Wire-brushed hardwood

wire brushed hardwood 2016 trendWhat does wire-brushed wood look like? Wire-brushed is a weathered and authentic look to your hardwood floors that’s created by using wire bristles to open and enhance the wood grain. It’s an etched look that gives subtle texture while still maintaining a smooth surface. It’s used for a cottage chic (or shabby chic) look and it helps hide dirt and imperfections more. It’s more expensive to make (as there is an extra step and often 2 colors applied with one as a glaze), and is generally only available in pre-finished hardwood. Shaw’s Castle Oak line is a perfect example of this.

wire bushed hardwood - castlewood 2016 trendsThe wire brushing process scrapes off the softest portions of the wood leaving the hardest wood. It exposes and emphasizes the graining to give it more character. You see this more often with wide plank flooring.  This item is Shaw’s castlewood in Tower.







Hardwood Styles

6. Wider planks

Wider planks make your space look larger and more modern. Generally, most new hardwood installations are 3 1/4″ planks and wider. Generally, 3 1/4″ to 6 inch planks, especially when they are site finished (so they are smooth and there are no bevels) look more contemporary (especially compared to the more traditional 2 1/4″ that you see in older homes). Planks that are 6″ and wider, especially when they are pre-finished, tend to give a more rustic and barn wood look.


7. Modern Vintage and Cottage Chic

modern vintage hardwood - castlewoodThis is a trend where old world meets new. It’s hardwood that looks vintage (wider planks, more matte finishes or wire brushed finishes) but in more contemporary colors and cooler tones (vs. the warmer/redder tones you see in reclaimed or older wood). These floors tend to be flat with square edges (i.e. no bevels).



Oiled floors 2016 hardwood trendsOiled floors are growing as well driven by this modern vintage look as well as a desire for a more natural look. US Floors Navarre Line is a wonderful example of pre-finished oiled floors. These lower VOC products are easier to repair and give more of reclaimed wood look. The natural oils penetrate the wood and become part of the floor. They enhance the natural grain of the wood to preserve the original beauty and patina. While some prefer this look, it is more expensive and can be much higher maintenance. These items are rather niche due to both the cost and maintenance.


You can also see this modern vintage style growing in furniture from West Elm and at the group tables in your local Starbucks.


8. Simple, Sustainable and natural looking

dark hardwood floors in entryFirst, I’m seeing a trend towards simplicity and keeping the same flooring throughout the home in virtually all areas – same wood, same color ….including kitchens and entryways (see below for more info on hardwood in kitchens).


Second, I’m noticing the preference toward simpler layouts. So, the wood is the same width and same direction. Most are shying away from multi or random width planks, borders, herringbone, medallions. Less is More!


white oak 2016 hardwood trendThird, customers seem to be more interested in long term sustainable solutions, rather than cheaper temporary fixes. They want higher quality hardwoods and ones that look more natural and higher grade. They are opting more often for solid hardwood that will last a lifetime (and then some) rather than engineered wood or bamboo that will need to be replaced and often look more fake (as many are rotary sawn). This helps them both while they live in the home as well as resale value.


I’m also seeing higher grade polyurethane and more coats so that floors will last longer before they need to be refinished. More customers are avoiding products made in China.



Species and Sources

9. American grown and made

Hickory - Shaw Jubilee good for pets and dogsWhile there had already been an underlying trend to buy hardwood grown in the USA both to support our own economy and the trends towards darker colored woods (which works better with wood grown in the US), this trend intensified after the 60 Minutes Investigation of Lumber Liquidators. Since that episode aired, there has been a strong aversion towards products made and imported from China. It’s amazing how many customers now ask me where the wood is manufactured They have a strong preference for domestic products.


The most popular hardwoods from the US are red oak, white oak, hickory, maple, birch and pine (including Douglas Fir). You can read more about them here: Which hardwood species are from America?


10. Shift towards white oak (rather than red oak)

white oak 2016 trendOak accounts for approximately 80% of hardwood flooring in the US. While red oak comprises the majority of this wood (as red oak is more abundant than white oak), more and more consumers are preferring the smoother graining and more contemporary look of white oak. The linear mineral streaks add to this more modern look compared to the strong graining of traditional red oak.


2016-hardwood-flooring-trends-3For a higher end look (and more expensive), some are even choosing rifted white oak (this is a special cut that is more smoother and more linear (and has less expansion/contraction). On the flip side, some are choosing character grade white oak for a more vintage look.


Importantly, white oak tends to work best with some of the latest stain color trends (dark, gray and white). White oak is a bit darker, so it helps give a darker color with ebony, espresso and jacobean; white oak works better with grays and white washes (red oak tends to have underlying pink tones) and it looks more modern with a clean water borne poly (such as Bona Traffic). White oak is also more impervious to water than red oak. You can read more about red oak vs white oak here.

Hardwood preferences by room and construction methods

11. Hardwood in kitchens (and everywhere on main floor).

2016 hardwood flooring trend - hardwood in kitchenHardwood continues grow in popularity for kitchen floors, especially as open concept floor plans are on the rise. Hardwood has surpassed tile as the preferred surface, especially here in the Westchester and NYC Metro area. Everywhere you look, you’ll find hardwood being showcased in kitchens – home magazines, houzz.com and pinterest.


Why is this? In a nutshell, hardwood is easier on your feet, warmer, easier to clean and makes your space look larger. It’s generally less expensive and improves the value of your home. It ultimately lasts longer, too.


You can read more about both the pros and cons with hardwood and tile in kitchens.


There has also been a resurgence for adding hardwood in entryways and powder rooms as well. Here in Westchester County and NYC Metro area, most homeowners prefer to have hardwood in all areas on the first floor (or main living area).



12. Site finished solid hardwood

advantages of hardwood floor vs carpetHere in the NYC Metro area, there is a strong preference for solid and site finished hardwood. Most homes here have hardwood already, so this is the look customers are accustomed to, especially mid to higher end customers.


Shaw hickory pioneer road - prairiePre-finished hardwood looks more fake here, due to the micro-beveled edges, which often show the underlying color of the original wood underneath. Also, dirt tends to get caught in the edges. When hardwood floors and sanded and refinished on site, the floors are smoothed out and you have the ability to test and customize the stain colors.


You can learn more about pre-finished vs unfinished hardwood in this article.



Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors



What’s Dated and on the decline for Hardwood in 2016

  • hardwood with red tonesReds – Reds and cherries seem to be very polarizing and only a minority of the population tends to like these (maybe 10-20%). Browns are much more stylish and much easier to coordinate.


  • Shiny and Semi gloss finishes – Again very dated, and not very practical. The shinier the floors, the more they show the dirt, scratches and dents more. So, it requires more cleaning and it’s often you need to refinish the floors faster.


  • parquet flooringParquet – Most people will acknowledge this is a very dated look. It also tends to make your room look smaller. I’m referring to the cheaper parquet that you often see in apartments with concrete subfloors. Note: there are some super premium high end parquet, especially in older homes with custom marquetry. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing them, you will know that “they just don’t make them like that anymore.” We’ve had the pleasure of refinishing some of those floors from the early 1900’s and they are stunning!



  • westchester bamboo flooring species westchesterBamboo – In my opinion this seems to be a fad which has run its course. Bamboo just does not hold up well – to water or foot traffic. They tend to be a cheaper alternative to hardwood and most can not be refinished, so they really aren’t very sustainable.


Bamboo seems to have gained popularity from cheaper big box stores, and most are made in China and many have a lot of adhesive and may have high levels of formaldehyde. Customers are getting smarter and realizing this. Generally, these products are bought by 1st time homeowners for apartments and starter homes. The 60 Minutes investigation on Lumber Liquidators exposed a lot of issues among the cheaper wood flooring and composites, especially those made in China.


  • Brazilian Cherry and other exotic woods – Most of these are reds or have red undertones and the colors are a bit dated and polarizing. They are more challenging to decorate with. They also tend to show scratches more. We’ve had many requests, especially in higher end homes to refinish these floors and “drown out the reds.” These were really popular 10-15 years ago, but the combo of customers wanting to buy more “made in USA” products and color trends towards browns and cool tones, these seem to be in the decline, especially among higher end households.


  • Pegged hardwood, bevel edges and multi-width planks – Pegged floors are out as they look dated and add clutter to the floor. Many of these woods have large beveled edges which not only look old fashioned, but also collect dirt.


Other helpful resources:2016 Hardwood flooring Trends



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For more info, check out my Ebook – Discover the 6 Secrets to Refinishing Hardwood floorss.

6 Secrets of Refinishing hardwood floors ebook



Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors, whether they are light or dark



If you’re looking for a great hardwood flooring cleaning product, I recommend Bona.  You can buy that directly from Amazon by following below link.

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2016 Hardwood Trends 2016 HardwoodFlooring Trends top 12 hardwood trends

12 Hardwood Flooring Trends for 2016






64 Response Comments

  • Ruth  April 15, 2016 at 7:04 am

    What a wonderful blog/site. I posted this in an older 2015 posting, but may have done something wrong, so I am posting in this year’s stain trends posting… I am out of your area, but I am hoping you can lend some advice. We are just starting a refinishing of all of our small 1953 Long Island home’s white oak floors. We have very light cream color painted walls and small rooms so I don’t think I want a stain that is too dark. Our contractor just installed new white oak floor in one room and we went with satin over minwax english chestnut because it did not look too dark or too red in our tests on scrap. (We had narrowed it down to honey or english chestnut.) However, I still think it looks a bit too red. I prefer more brown and less red/orange but I think a more plain brown like minwax special walnut may be too plain. I am weighing my options for a stain for the remainder of the house. Perhaps minwax honey or provincial? They all are so close in brightness and color. What do you think?

    • TheFlooringGirl  April 16, 2016 at 6:38 am

      Ruth – I was thinking provincial. But test it on the floor before you do it. Also, I prefer Duraseal over minwax.

    • TheFlooringGirl  April 20, 2016 at 5:39 am

      Ruth – This is a toughie. I mean, you just need to test things until you get it right. Provincial could be a good option. You could also test the english chestnut and mix in some dark walnut or coffee brown. Also, try the duraseal stains. They may give you a slightly different tint and they will dry faster (and are used by more professionals).

  • Ruth  April 17, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Thank you so much! We will ask our contractor about Duraseal. We are also looking at Minwax special walnut?

  • Darren Baker  April 21, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Very nice stuff you have here! I begin to see how the minimalist art is affecting both interior decorating and design as well! These finishes really give off a sense of space and comfort. Great read!

    • TheFlooringGirl  April 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Darren – Thank you so much. Yes, less is more.

  • Lola  May 1, 2016 at 8:03 am

    I would like your opinion on this… we refinished our entire home in white oak hardwood stained a mix of special walnut/natural. its the perfect light brown color we wanted. Our home is a 1983 ranch so with it came a sunken living room which is right off the entrance/foyer. At first we thought we’d do carpet but now we want wood in there too. So I’m sticking with the 2 1/4″ size since that’s what the rest of the house has and I am having it installed at an angle like the threshold for a more unique and separate look, but I am struggling with color. Would you recommend the same color or something darker since its a sunken room?

    • TheFlooringGirl  May 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Lola – Great. I love love love the diagonal, and I especially love it in a squarish room and one that is offset like you described. Yes, I would do the same color – it will make your space look larger and more cohesive. Just my 2 cents.

  • michaela zaghi  May 10, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Thank you for the guidance and information. I am looking to install a new hardwood floor in my living room. I’m looking to go with a grey tone, maybe even a whitewash with a grey undertone. My flooring guy recommended a clear oak and said we should also bleach it before staining it for a more even , uniform look. I would appreciate your thoughts on this recommendation.

    • TheFlooringGirl  May 11, 2016 at 6:56 am

      Part of this depends if you have other wood in the house already.

      That being said, if you were to do oak, I would do white oak (not red oak) and no you do NOT need a bleach. I would try to avoid bleach as it damages the wood. Sometimes bleach is used to on red oak, to reduce the red tones, but if you are putting in new wood, you might as well start with white oak and avoid the need for bleach.

      Maple and birch work very well for gray, but they are more expensive and much more challenging to sand and refinish and tend to be a bit blotchy with stains.

      Again, all of this has to be done within the context of what you already have. If you have other wood in the house, it’s most likely to be oak, and if so, oak makes more sense, especially thinking about the long term for when it’s time to refinish again.

  • Diane  May 17, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Great info, I like the photo in #8, can you tell me which floor this is ?
    Thank you!

    • TheFlooringGirl  May 17, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      The first one looks like dark walnut; the 2nd one is natural with bona traffic (on white oak).

  • Daniel Conner  May 24, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Reading this made me even more excited for having a new floor installed! I’m having mine resurfaced.

  • Michelle  June 9, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    This was a great article and was very helpful as we are considering changing out flooring. We currently have brazilian walnut but it was installed poorly and now necessitates reflooring. We are considering Somerset Maple Mist which is beautiful neutral color. How does this color and species of wood fit with the recommendations in this article. I want to make sure we are making a good choice for resale. Also, we live in a craftsman style house if it helps with recommendations.

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 13, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Hi Michelle. Sorry to hear about the original install. I think the wood you selected is perfect for your style home. Make sure you get solid hardwood eventually when you sell, it can be refinished if the next homeowner prefers a different color.

  • Elljean Yap  June 11, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Thank you this was such a great post! A look at wood flooring trends for 2016 and new wood floor products from any companys.

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 12, 2016 at 11:14 am

      Elljean – Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

  • Geeta  June 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Hi, I have to decide how to finish my red oak flooring. I am not staining the floors. The builder is doing oil poly as standard but I don’t like the reddish tones. I can upgrade to water based, but will it have a very raw look? He uses Trek Plus for the water based finish or I can upgrade the finish to Bona Traffic. What do you recommend?

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 17, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      I would recommend Bona Traffic for water based poly.

  • Marnie  June 18, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Love your site and helpful info. I bought a new house with red oak floors. I don’t like all the graining and need to tell the contractor which stain to use. Do you think leaving them natural is the best way to go? It’s a colonial home but my decorating is more transitional/simple. Thx so much!

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 22, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Marnie – Either go very dark or natural. That will show the least amount of graining. Choose whichever of those you prefer and what you think looks best in your house.

  • Tom Giard  June 25, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Question… Large room 40 X 15 changing to red oak select. Can we use random width planks? What sizes do you recommend? Thank you. Great site with much information. Tom

  • Tom Giard  June 25, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Question… Large room 40 X 15 changing to red oak select. Can we use random width planks? What sizes do you recommend? Thank you. Great site with much information. Tom

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 26, 2016 at 6:34 am

      Tom – Thanks. Wow, that’s a large room. Yes, if you like, you can use multiple size widths. I would probably do 3/5/7 inch.

  • Shankar  June 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I love this website! So I am moving into a town home which doesnt have the best lighting, so I wanted to go lighter. I have revere pewter colored walls (greige) and I was debating going with the duraseal weathered oak look (the wood is red oak). Have you done this combination before?

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 28, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Congrats on you new townhouse, Shankar. Lighter is probably better for you. I have not done the combo you mentioned, and I’m not a big fan of the mivwax weathered oak nor classic grays as they are light/watered down. I would probably do Natural w Bona traffic. But, I would definitely test weathered oak to see if you like it (test in a section).

  • Joeyann  June 29, 2016 at 7:10 am

    I thank you for this post. Some types of flooring must not be installed below grade (lower than ground level), and laminate or hardwood should be avoided where there may be moisture or condensation,

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Joeyann – Yes, so true, and I do see it done…and of course there are inevitably issues.

  • Brenda  June 29, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I am doing a kitchen Reno and thinking of bringing in maple hardwood into this space to give a more open and modern look. I have existing maple floors that kinda look like basket ball courts! My question is… should I tear it out and start new or go with resurfacing I like the lighter look. Kitchen is going to be in white and grey and there is a grey stone fireplace in the mix. Any advice/ suggestions is appreciated.

    • TheFlooringGirl  July 28, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Hi Brenda. My apologies for the delayed response. If you already have maple in the rest of the place, I would refinish before replacing it. You can easily change the sheen. Use Bona Traffic for best results. You could also test out some gray floors with maple. Gray looks really cool on maple (but it is more expensive).

  • Lynne  August 13, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Have been at a loss re: color, etc. and your site has really helped. We have an 80 year old colonial home with existing red oak floors. Putting new red oak in kitchen and family room. Our house tends to be a bit on the dark side (except the ultra brite family room) and I want a medium brown without red or too much yellow in it. So hard to tell from tiny paper pieces from Minwax, etc. Any suggestions? I didn’t want the floor to look dull but you seem to say we should shy away from semi-gloss poly and go for satin… A fellow in stain store said we should go for a water/oil poly combo. no/yes? Some say they are levelers. What does that mean? Sorry for so many questions. I am lost.

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Lynne – I would probably do special walnut or coffee brown so it’s mid toned brown. I’d recommend duraseal over minwax. I would go satin finish. I would do oil based. (Don’t do a combo of oil/water…that’s probably the worst choice out of everything).

  • Sonia  August 13, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    What species hardwood and color stain do you recommend for a classic timeless look? I’m installing white kitchen cabinets. I do not like anything that reads yellow tones. I like the gray tones but I’m afraid those will look dated before too long.

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 14, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Sonia – I would probably choose white oak and then stain it to your preferred color. It will give you more flexibility and you can change the stain color every 10 years or so based on your taste/preferences. For now, I’d prob. go mid to darker brown to drown out yellow, give it a current/updated look and contrast well with the white cabinets.

  • Vicki  August 16, 2016 at 7:41 am

    HI. We have ash flooring on our first floor – refinished last October with natural water base poly; open house in December; person in heels – now dents everywhere. We are refinishing – not super fond of the natural and think a bit of color with help “deepen” the look of the wood. Should we go water with color this time, or with oil based natural which will amber over time? We don’t want those heel problems again! Thank you for your site and for your help!

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 19, 2016 at 5:34 am

      I’m sorry about your troubles. Ash is a bit softer than oak. I would actually recommend that you ask people to take their shoes off and provide booties. I see this all the time with homes for sale.

      Oil based will probably look better and hold up better. Most water based polyurethanes don’t last that long. Natural with oil will probably look better as well as a stain with oil based poly. You’ll have to test to see which you prefer on your wood and home.

  • Minji  August 25, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    I love your site. Thank you so much for all of your advice! We are installing 5 inch white oak in our house. I want a dark brownish gray stain. Basically espresso with ashy gray tiny. Not totally opaque and not so dark that you can’t see the gray tone. I fell in love with the stain on some engineered floors by Anderson–vintage churchill hardwood flooring. Color: Downing Street. They are maple. Any recommendations of colors to suggest to our flooring guy? How can I better explain to him the color I want? I’d be happy to email you a picture. Thank you so much!

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

      Minji – Thanks for your kind words. You are just going to need to test colors until you get the mix you desire. I would mix ebony and white for the gray and mix in dark walnut or antique brown for the browns. Show your installer the sample of what you are looking for. Bear in mind that white oak and maple are different and they will never look the same.

  • Melissa  September 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

    We are moving into a new house that has red oak floors with a natural finish. We are planning to have them sanded and refinished but want an updated look. Is there a stain you recommend? We are thinking something dark but without any red or orange. The house is a colonial built in 2005. Thank you!

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 24, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Melissa – Most of my customers love dark walnut, jacobean and a 50/50 blend of ebony/jacobean as those are dark, stylish and generally drown out the red. If those are too dark, try antique brown.

  • Angela  September 26, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    We just attempted a light gray color on our red oak floors and thought I would share our experience. We ended up going with 2 coats of Duraseal stain (which they say you can do – cannot do two coats with Bona stain). First coat was 2 Country White: 1 Classic Gray (this was too pink, we should have just done all White to cover the red more and have a light white oak look and stop there), second coat was 4 Country White: 1 Ebony: 1 Weathered Oak. When they first put it on, the grey looked like the pictures above, however, after it dried, it’s much lighter but did cover the pink a lot more. We finished with two coats of the Bona Traffic HD in Extra Matte. The floor basically looks like it did before any finish was applied with the extra matte.

    One suggestion from Bona that we did not try was mixing Bona DTS sealer with Bona Supersport Paint (in white, black and/or gray). This is more like painting your floor they said but not solid, like a glaze – you can adjust how much paint is added. Might be worth a shot if you really want to get rid of the red/pink undertones.

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Angela – Thx for sharing. I would have recommended just bleaching the floors before putting the stain on. That way you only have 1 coat of stain which is a much better way to do things from an adhesion/cohesion stand point. I’m not sure about paint…paint can seep in the the joints and never sand out. I had a customer that did a paint mix and then refinished the floors twice more and it was still there, and then he had to replace the floors. So, I would say bleach is much a better route and less risky.

      • Angela Taliaferro  October 1, 2016 at 6:59 pm

        You are absolutely right! If you have red oak and want that grey look in all the designer photos without any pink, bleach them first! I thought I could do it with stain and it didn’t work out. I have to kinda live with my light mauve floors … for a while at least.

        • TheFlooringGirl  October 3, 2016 at 7:48 am

          Thx for your insight, Angela. Area rugs may help.

  • Julie T  October 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I really love all the information on your website. Would love your opinion. We have purchased a new construction home and have to decide asap on our hardwood color. The floors are red oak. Our style is quite modern, walls are a light gray, trim a bright white, white cabinets are white shaker and countertops calcata ceasarstone. I’m struggling to pick a color. I lean towards the grays and ebonys but worry this may not be great for resale. How could I achieve the gray color without going straight gray? The builder wants to use min wax products only. Thanks!

    • TheFlooringGirl  October 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Oh gosh…so many thoughts here.

      1. I would not do gray walls and gray floors. Too monochromatic and you will get sick of the gray. And, yes, this will hurt w/ resale value as gray is very niche and gray on gray extremely polarizing.

      2. I would probably recommend dark w/ gray and contemporary look. Try ebony, jacobean, 50/50 ebony/jacobean w/ satin finish.

      3. I would recommend you use Duraseal and not minwax. But, if your contractor wants to use Minwax for the stain, that’s okay. But, definitely not for the poly. Use Duraseal if doing dark stain, use Bona Traffic if using gray.

      4. If you do end up w/ gray, any oil based poly will turn it yellow, so be careful.

  • Lisa  October 4, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    I’m so glad to find this blog. I was picking wood out last week and was planning to go with solid hardwood site finished hickory in a natural finish (no stain) w semi gloss. I am re thinking the semi gloss now. For a higher end home do you recommend natural hickory or should I go w a white oak w a darker (not too dark) finish? Is one more traditional or timeless?

    • TheFlooringGirl  October 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Lisa – Thx so much. Yes, definitely go for satin finish. I think darker looks more high end; hickory is more rustic and casual. It’s also a bit busier.

  • Deb L  November 26, 2016 at 11:25 am

    hi –
    I am getting ready to have wide plank floored installed in my entire house (minus the bathrooms). This is a new construction home. The builder is using Minwax and asked me to pick a stain from that selection. What color do you think is closest to an espresso (dark brown)? I saw in another post you mentioned that people are mixing ebony and jacobean.

    • TheFlooringGirl  November 27, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Deb – Generally, we would either blend 50/50 ebony/jacobean or 50/50 ebony/dark walnut. Note: there is now a stain called espresso. I forget if it’s available in both Minwax or Duraseal (which is made by Minwax and is generally better) or both. Your builder should be testing the stains for you for your approval.

    • TheFlooringGirl  November 27, 2016 at 7:05 am

      Deb – Generally, we would either blend 50/50 ebony/jacobean or 50/50 ebony/dark walnut. Note: there is now a stain called espresso. I forget if it’s available in both Minwax or Duraseal (which is made by Minwax and is generally better) or both. Your builder should be testing the stains for you for your approval.

  • Elaine  January 9, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Need to replace wood flooring in living area due to flood. Cabinets in kitchen match the wood flooring in living area as well as fireplace kinda chestnut color. Want to change color do floors have to match kitchen cabinets? Really want some shine in floors. Is shining out?

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Elaine – Generally you contrast the floors and cabinets. Just make sure the 2 colors work together and don’t clash. Shiny is definitely dated and it shows dirt more. But, if you love it, it’s your house and can do what you want. You always have the option of doing a screen and recoat later to change the sheen, regardless of what you choose now.

  • Vivian  January 12, 2017 at 7:32 am

    Love your site – so informative. Your examples helped me to make my decision firm.

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 12, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Hi Vivian. I’m so glad my site was helpful. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate that.

  • Peggy  January 13, 2017 at 8:53 am

    I am looking to replace carpeting in living room with engineered hardwood floors….kitchen cabinets are java, floors are very light tile, walls are light and counters light corian. Would love to know if dark wood floor would work with natural cherry shaker style furnishings…..

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 14, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Peggy – You’ll have to look at the colors next to each other> Cherry is often challenging to match to. But, it often helps if you contrast it and choose very dark with no red undertones. It’s hard for me as I can’t see what you have, but definitely get some samples and bring them home and see what you think. It may work as the area is separated by tile. Aldo, you can take a small cabinet drawer with you to the store to see what works. Take pictures of the tile and corian on your phone, so you have everything with you when you are at the store.

      • Peggy  January 14, 2017 at 8:35 pm

        Thank you for taking the time to answer….I appreciate it.

  • Franzi  January 18, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Hi – question for you. We currently went with a white wash over red oak (which does have a slight pink tone as you mention). We were thinking to do the rest of the house in a darker ebony color. Question is would it look odd to have the family room in the light white wash and the rest of the house (Kitchen, LR, DR, Office) in the dark ebony. Foyer is white marble with piano black stairs and rails. One thing to note is the family room is a step down from the kitchen with no other room connecting to it, giving it a natural break. Keen to get your opinion. Thanks!

  • Leeann  February 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Currently selecting colors for a new construction colonial. Cabinets are black-brown. Granite is a mixture of gray, brown, and cream. Though I like the darker “coffee bean” flooring best, I am leaning toward a greyish medium brown flooring, because I don’t want the kitchen to be too dark. Thoughts?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Leeann – It’s challenging finding a stain color with dark cabinets, but I would try to stay in cool color range. I would test the stains to see what works with the cabinets (I’m less worried about the granite). A mix can work, but you have to test it. Make sue you have a sample of the cabinets and granite when you test. I would probably do mid to mid-dark brown and test with and without the gray. If you use gray, use Bona Traffic poly.

  • Denise Shelton  March 19, 2017 at 8:51 am

    IThinking of buying a home with pegged hardword floors. Would a dark stain lessen the appearance of the pegs? It’s in perfect condition. I’d have to tear it out.

    • TheFlooringGirl  March 19, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      Denise – Yes, the darker you go, the less they will show. I would recommend dark walnut or darker.


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