Grey Wood Flooring: Design Ideas for Creating a Rustic Look

December 13, 2018

Neutral colors have a nearly universal appeal when used on walls and floors. This is because these areas can become a backdrop to other accents and colors.

For many years, beige was the reigning champion of neutrals, but over time people began to desire a neutral that had more personality. Something that could still be used with lots of other accents, and that had universal acceptance, but that also had character on its own. For this reason, many shades of grey began to grow in popularity.

Grey can be warm and light or it can be cool and dark, which means that there is a shade for every home and every homeowner. This includes areas and materials like grey wood floors.

Wood floors with a grey finish have character and personality that can be far surpass other flooring styles. They’re an ideal backdrop for throw rugs and furnishings, but have enough color and interest to be left bare as well.

If you’re looking for a way to add some life to your flooring, take a look at these grey wood flooring ideas.

Selecting a Floor

There are a lot of considerations that go into selecting a floor for your home, and choosing a grey wood floor is no different. Wood floors can be made from many different species of wood, and they can be given numerous finishes.

Some wood species are harder and more durable than others, which can influence your ultimate choice. Good examples of a durable wood include maple, oak, and hickory. However, each of these wood species will also have different character and grain marks.

For example, maple is often a very uniform wood, with either few or very consistent grain marks. This can give you a grey wood floor where the color is the main attraction, with a very quiet, subtle appearance.

White oak has a naturally blue/grey background color to it, along with a more pronounced grain. So, a grey wood floor in white oak will have a different, richer color to it, along with more variation.

Red oak has a slightly creamy pink background color, which will warm up the grey finish of the floor, and give you a grey wood floor that will fit in better with accent colors that are on the red side of the color wheel.

Hickory has a very wild, pronounced grain that varies tremendously from piece to piece and within one piece. A grey wood floor made of hickory will have a lot more character and color variation; this is a floor that you would want for an uncovered space so it wouldn’t clash with other patterns.


Like all wood floors, grey wood flooring can come with several finishes. These may be a subtle, quiet, matte finish, a highly polished finish, or a distressed finish. The finish you choose may impact the way that the grey color shows up, along with how the wood’s grain shows as well.

For example, a quiet, matte maple floor will have a consistent, soft grey color. It will make an excellent floor for a wide range of home styles. A white oak, grey wood floor with a high gloss finish, will have a more striking and dramatic look; it would be a centerpiece in the room and would work better in more formal settings.

A distressed grey wood floor would have a more rustic appearance, regardless of the wood species, and could be used in farmhouse, cottage, and rustic-modern home designs.

Design Ideas

Like all wood flooring, grey finishes come in a range of styles that can give you very different looks. Take a look at these grey wood floors to get an idea of how you could use them in your own home.

Warm, Distressed Grey Wood

Warm, Distressed Grey Wood

Grey is its purest state is a very cool color. This floor warms it up by letting the natural wood tones show through. Saw marks and other distressed areas keep the floor from being too formal, which also warms it up visually. This floor would fit in best in an informal living room, kitchen, or family room in a rustic or cottage style home.

White Oak Grey Floors

White Oak Grey Floors

This grey flooring shows off the beauty and grain of a white oak floor, with the grey serving to highlight the variation in grain, color, and texture. Because white oak already has a blue/grey tint, the grey finish complements its natural color beautifully and lets the variation shine. Use this floor somewhere in the open, such as a dining room or living room without throw rugs to let its character come to the forefront of the design.

Soft Grey Finish

Soft Grey Finish

Another very popular way of describing a soft, warm grey floor is by labeling it the color “greige”. This means a blend between grey and beige, which warms up the grey tones and lets it fit in with more settings. These soft, wide planks have a very subtle variation. They would work well in a room that had a lot of pattern and color going on, that needed a floor that would complement, but not contrast.

Quiet Color

Quiet Color

Formal settings need more quiet, elegant floors. This pale grey wood floor has a subtle variation on the grain and in the knots, giving it just enough interest to keep it from being boring. But the overall color and tone is light and consistent, letting it fit in best with a more formal room in the home.

Distressed Rustic Flooring

Distressed Rustic Flooring

Distressed grey flooring has a lot of interest and variation to give it character and dimension. This floor shows nail marks and a streaky finish, as well as a contrast between the natural wood and the grey color. This makes the floor full of depth, and perfect for fitting in with a rustic, cottage, or rustic modern setting.

Consider Going Grey

Grey wood floors have a more unusual appearance than a more naturally finished wood floor. This will automatically make them a focal point in the room. If your floors need a facelift, consider investing in a new, grey wood floor to help give them the character and style you’re after.

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