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Which is Better: Dark vs. Light Floors

floor laying and refinishing

Although picking the right flooring boils down to preference, sometimes it’s difficult deciding which flooring would better suit your space—dark or light flooring? When it comes to laying and refinishing floors, if you’re having trouble deciding between the two, it’s helpful to look at the pros and cons of each. This way, you can confidently select the right one for your needs and aesthetic sensibilities. 

The Pros and Cons of Dark and Light Flooring

Don’t just allow your usual preference for dark or light floors to dictate your choice. Instead, turn to your room requirements and lifestyle (kids, pets, etc.) to help you decide which shade is best for floor laying and refinishing. 

Here are some of the pros and cons of each flooring.

Style Preference


There’s no contest; dark flooring is trendy, but that doesn’t mean you should lay and refinish dark floors; especially, if it conflicts with your personal sense of style. 

  • Neutral Palettes: If your house pays homage to more modern styles like Scandanavian or mid-century modern that lean heavily on neutrals, then light flooring is a beautiful choice for your space. However, this doesn’t extend to bathrooms or kitchens if your cabinetry is already a light hue.


  • Traditional: There is nothing more sophisticated than dark flooring for those who prefer traditional stylings like American Colonial or French Country. Dark flooring can also provide contrast to light-coloured bathroom or kitchen cabinetry. 

Dust, Dirt and Scratche

If you’re a stickler for a tidy house, you’ll want flooring that doesn’t show dust and dirt easily, unless you like breaking out the vacuum to tackle dust bunnies at the drop of a hat. 


  • Light Flooring Hides Dust: If you’re not big on cleaning all the time, installing light flooring is masterful at hiding everyday dust and dirt. Light-coloured flooring is also excellent for concealing scratches or blemishes.
  • Dark Flooring Highlights Dust: One of the biggest downfalls of dark flooring is that it illuminates dust, dirt and everything else. Add pets or kids into the mix, and you’re looking at a hefty amount of time spent trying to stay on top of the visible mess. 

Another shortcoming is many dark floors are surface-stained, like bamboo, so if you get a good-sized scratch, you’ll see the light roots peek through. However, dark flooring does a better job at hiding amateur installation errors.

Pets or Kids

If your family includes kids or pets, then not only will you want a more sturdy flooring, you’ll also want a flooring that isn’t full of gouges, making light flooring a better choice. To help further protect stained flooring for many years to come, use an extra coat of polyurethane.

Room Size

When you’re considering what colour flooring to install, it’s handy to think about how big your room is as the right hue can make the room feel more spacious.


  • Small Room: If your room is on the smaller side, avoid using dark flooring as it will make the room appear even smaller. So for small or medium-sized rooms or if you have low ceilings, use light-coloured floors to make your space appear larger.
  • Large Room: If you have an open concept main floor or an overly large space, make your room feel more warm, cozy, and inviting by installing dark floors.


Believe it or not, floors aren’t immune to sun fading. When you’re considering which flooring to lay and refinish, consider how much sunlight the area receives. If the room is exceptionally bright, the flooring will begin to fade over time—unless you buy a floor (light or dark) with built-in UV protection.

Which Flooring is Best for You?

Now that you know the difference between light and dark flooring, it should be easier to decide which flooring is right for your space!

If you have questions about light vs. dark flooring or any floor laying and refinishing queries, drop us a line. We offer free consultations and are happy to help!

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