Gray hardwood flooring for a modern, farmhouse and chic look
Gray hardwood floors have been growing in popularity for the last 5 or 6 years. They are stylish and chic and you tend find them in higher end homes. They really make your home unique and up to date. And, there’s a nice little side benefit…they tend to hide dirt better.
Now, you can find gray (sometimes called gray-washed) floors in variety of styles and finishes. You’ll find light, mid and dark grays. You’ll find grays mixed with browns and beiges. You’ll find some that are wire brushed, and some that are soft and smooth. And, you find some that have character, knots and distressed looks. Most of the planks are wider (i.e. 5″ or wider), so they give you a modern, spacious and airy look. Or, they can also give you a farmhouse and rustic style, pending on your taste and decor.
Gray hardwood floors tend to work a bit better on pre-finished floors (because most installers do not know how to refinish these floors properly), and you tend to see more gray floors in an engineered format (as it’s easier and less expensive to do wider planks). In this article, I’ve included both solid and engineered options.
Side note: If you’re lucky enough to have existing hardwood floors and want to refinish them gray, check out this article: How to refinish your hardwood floors gray..
So, I thought I’d provide some advice on selecting gray hardwood floors and some of my favorites on the market. If you click on most of these pictures throughout the article, you can find out more details (e.g. price, width, thickness) and even buy them online.
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Tips for choosing gray hardwood flooring
Here are the key things to consider when selecting gray hardwood floors..
1. Plank width
Wider planks make your space look larger (that’s just how our eyes work). Most gray hardwoods come 5 inches or wider. Some even come as wide as 7 or 7 1/2.” While wider does make your space look larger, bear in mind that if you have a very small room, a super wide plank (i.e. 7″ or wider) make look too wide and too chunky.
2. Solid vs engineered
In general, I prefer solid hardwood when you can use it as this gives you the ability to sand and refinish many times. But, engineered wood often works best for warmer and more humid environments and in homes or apartments built on a concrete slab. And, there are now many engineered products that can be sanded. You can read more about this here: solid vs engineered hardwood).
Caution: Please note that if you’re using solid hardwood that’s 5 inches or wider, you’ll need to both nail and glue the planks (as they expand and contract more). This is a very common mistake that DIYers, novice handymen and general contractors make. So, don’t let it happen to you.
3. Gloss level
Most people prefer satin (low sheen) and even matte (no sheen) finishes now, and when it comes to gray floors, more people gravitate towards matte. it just looks better and more stylish and works better for the look people are trying to achieve with this shade of wood. These types of shades require a water borne poly, so they are naturally flatter in appearance.
4. Wood species
Most gray floors work best with North American hardwoods such as oak (especially white oak), maple and birch. Occasionally, you’ll find some with ash or hickory. White floors do not work well with reddish woods (e.g. American Cherry, Brazilian Cherry) or pines, which typically have orange or reddish undertones.
Maples and birches are lighter/blander, so the grays look smoother and less grainy on these species. With some oaks and hickories, you’ll see stronger graining and more contrast between the base color and the grain. This is really a matter of preference.
Oaks have stronger graining, so if you if you love strong graining or want a wirebrushed or etched look, then choose oak.
13 Gray hardwood floors
The truth is sometimes it’s hard to define what you like until you see it, so let’s take a look at some of these gorgeous woods. I’ve included a range of grays from light to dak. Click on the pictures if you’d like more info about the products.
Where are the best places to buy gray hardwood floors?
If you’re looking for new gray hardwood floors, I’ve found some of the best choices (and best values) in these stores:
- Wayfair – They also have the best selection on whitewashed hardwood
- Build.com – They also have a good selection for tile and luxury vinyl plank
- Home Depot – You’ll be safer with their solid hardwood options (many of their engineered woods are thin and cheap (and not very scratch resistant).
If you have existing hardwood floors and want to stain them gray, this article should help you. How to refinish and stain gray hardwood flooring.
Which paint shades go best with gray flooring?
Generally whites, blues, navy and contrasting grays go best with gray flooring. (Ao if you have light gray floors, a dark gray can work. Or, if you have dark gray floors, a light gray can work). You can read more about the best paint colors for gray floors in this article.
Which cabinet colors go best with gray floors?
My top recommendations for cabinets would be white and ebony/black. If you have very light gray floors, then a mid to very dark gray can work for cabinets. If you have dark gray floors, then a much lighter gray can work. Make sure that if you do gray on gray that they have enough of a contrast and are the same tone. If you use Sherwin Williams paint, this is easy to do by using their color swatch cards. This article on most popular gray paint colors will show you what I mean.
Advantages of gray hardwood floors
- Very stylish
- Hide dirt better (since it’s similar in color
- Work well with kitchen trends (white cabinets, white/gray countertops (esp quartz that is white with hints of gray), stainless steel appliances and chrome hardware)
- Work well with cool paint colors
Disadvantages of gray hardwood floors
- May go out of style in 10 years from now
- Can sometimes be more expensive than standard stain colors. This is especially true if you are refinishing existing hardwood floors.
- Often, they are a bit more challenging to decorate with as these floors may limit your color palette.
Is gray flooring a fad?
No, they seem to be growing in popularity. Gray hardwood floors have been growing exponentially for the last 10 years. They’ve been growing among all forms – hardwood flooring, tile plank flooring, laminate floors and vinyl plank flooring.
No one can really predict the future, especially 10 years out, so they may go out of style in a decade from now. But, if that happens, it will likely be time to refinish your hardwood floors. And, one of the advantages of hardwood flooring is that they can last a lifetime and you can change the color quite easily.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to gray. Hopefully these samples will help point you in the right direction as to what you like the best.
- Best paint shades that work with gray hardwoods
- 11 Amazing Whitewashed floors
- 12 Fabulous Farmhouse floors
- 11 Exquisite dark hardwood floors
- Best shades of paint for a farmhouse look
- Most popular shades of gray paint
- Best vacuum for hardwood floors
- How to prevent scratches in your hardwood floors
Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors