Wood flooring is one of the most popular materials for homes and businesses. Wood is warm and filled with character and interest. Many people also associate it with positive things such as luxury, nature, and coziness.
Wood floors come in a wide range of different species and finishes. You can have a floor that has been sanded smooth and left its natural color, a wood floor that’s been allowed to patina, or a floor that’s been given a stain to enhance its color.
So many wood floors are given a stain that many people assume that a wood floor will be dark or moderately dark in color. But many wood floors are naturally light in color or have been finished with a light or white colored stain. These light colored floors have a unique appearance that fit in well with many decors and styles. A light wood floor can really brighten a space, as well, giving it a fresh new look.
Why Use a Light Wood Floor
Light wood floors are slightly less common than darker floors, but they aren’t any less attractive. In fact, a light wood floor has a lot of benefits for the home, in addition to being a beautiful addition to the room.
Your floor extends throughout a room, so the color and texture have a big impact on the way the space is perceived. A light colored floor gives a fresher, more contemporary appearance to a space.
Light colors also help to brighten and lighten rooms, especially when used underfoot. Light colored floors are ideal for dark rooms, rooms that don’t see a lot of natural light, and small spaces.
Many light colored wood floors tend to have a cool undertone to their color. Cool colors and tones tend to recede from the eye visually when you look at them. This makes spaces appear larger and airier than they really are. Putting a light wood floor in a small or cramped area will make it seem much more open and larger than it really is.
Wood Species to Consider for Light Floors
While any floor can be sanded down and given a clear stain or a light colored glaze, not every wood species will necessarily work. Some woods are naturally dark, while others will have a pink or red undertone that doesn’t necessarily blend well with light finishes. Other floors may have a pronounced grain that can’t be lightened.
When looking for a light wood floor, your first stop should be at white oak. Whether it’s American or European, this wood has a cool undertone to it that allows it to take on light finishes beautifully. Get a floor that’s got a subtle white finish to it, with grey and light brown undertones that will blend in well with a variety of decors using white oak.
If you like a light-colored floor, but you want more warmth to it, consider ash. When given a clear finish, ash has a light, but very warm color. It has naturally very light, pale areas and areas with a little more depth to them as well, particularly at the grain. Ash can brighten and warm up a space at the same time. This is ideal for transitional spaces that can use a light colored floor, but for which a floor with a white or grey overlay may be too cool or too contemporary.
It’s also possible to get a blend of different wood species that have an overall light color for the floor, but with more depth and variation. Antique wood blends such as Prairie Harvest are overall light in color, but include a mix of different antique woods pulled from different sources. So, you’ll seem some darker colors, a little patina, and a mixing of tone. This gives you a light-colored floor with all the same benefits, but a more rustic look that also has more character to it.
This floor would be particularly beneficial to rustic-modern designs where a blend of contemporary and rustic characteristics is essential to the style. Using a light colored but rustic floor would allow you to easily bridge that gap.
Using a Light Wood Floor
The key to using a light wood floor is much the same as using any wood floor; it’s important to create tonal variations when introducing other colors or woods into the design. For example, if the wood has a darker grain, you could pick up this darker color when introducing other woods into the room. This adds depth, without taking away from the light color of the floor.
Otherwise, consider the kind of statement you want to make. Keeping the tone of the floor inline with the tone of other finishes in the room produces the most subtle effect. However, if you have a cool-toned light floor, you could also produce a very dramatic look by opting for some warm finishes in the space for contrast.
Brighten Up Your Space with a Light Wood Floor
Light wood floors are a beautiful addition to many spaces. They create a look that’s very different from more traditional wood floors, but are just as beautiful and full of character and appeal. Consider updating your interiors with a light wood floor to gain these benefits for your space.