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Until now, I didn’t think it was possible to match new LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring to your existing hardwood floors. But, my mind has been changed! Here’s a a really good example of a vinyl floor that looks so close to the existing old hardwood floors.

Plus, I have another example of what NOT to do if you have existing hardwood floors in your home.

Here’s a view from the vacation rental we’ve been staying at outside of Nelson, BC. 

Can you match vinyl to existing hardwood floors?

My opinion on whether you should EVER match new 8″ vinyl flooring (LVP) to existing 3″ old hardwood floors has been pretty much a hard NO.

There are too many bad flooring transitions out there that have swayed my opinion heavily from ever recommending this as an option. #IYKYK

That is, until I arrived at this vacation rental this summer.

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However, in this home, the old fir hardwood floors from the bedrooms and hallways connected so well to the brand new LVP in the kitchen and living room that I didn’t notice they were different until the next day after we’d arrived. 

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I know, THE NEXT DAY. 

I can hardly believe it myself, but it’s true. And here is a closer look at the floors:

Here’s a better view of both of them:

What makes this LVP and hardwood floor combination look good?

Here’s why I think this works so well. This particular style blends together so well, that you don’t immediately notice that the planks are wide. I think the graining pattern and colour are so close – which is what your goal should be if you need to replace floors adjacent to your existing hardwood.

I mean you really have to look close, actually.

By the way, yes that is one of the lamps I brought so the evening would have atmosphere (I always bring three) 

So there you have it kids. I had to see it to believe it, but if the homeowner who renovated this vacation rental can do it, then so can you.

And that’s why I wanted to share this with you.

Maybe you have existing hardwood floors, but either can’t find a match in engineered or hardwood, or you don’t want the added expense of installing a matching hardwood.

And let’s face it, LVP is what everyone is choosing these days. 

Making careful design decisions now, means happiness later

I was watching a story on Instagram the other day of a homeowner who was choosing marble countertops for her kitchen and this is what she said:

“So, was it trouble lugging two bags of heavy marble into the marble store? Yes! Making home decisions is always trouble. But I’d rather have the trouble on the front end before I make the decision, to help me make the decision; than trouble on the back end of trying to make a bad decision look good in my house once I’ve committed to it. ”

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So, my story doesn’t end here. When the next homeowner bought this house (which has two suites in it, one for the homeowner and one the rental which was fully decorated) the entry flooring needed to be replaced and this is what they chose:

The vacation rental is a 10, but they added grey farmhouse floors. 😉

Because this is part of the entry (and also probably why I didn’t notice the transition between the hallway and the living room)  I immediately noted that this shouldn’t have happened. Of course, because the rest of the flooring was the same orange wood tone, well I simply didn’t notice until the next day.

Whenever you are adding new to old, you must keep this mantra in mind if you care about how it all looks (and I know YOU do because you’re reading this):

“Will this look like it was all installed at the same time?”

If the answer is no, then keep looking for the best, possible option.

I talk about this in my Specify Colour with Confidence course, where I call this Avoiding Yesterday & Today. When you’re adding old to new, it’s rare that things will ever look exactly perfect. BUT, you can certainly work really hard to make sure that the only person who will ever notice is YOU.

I can fill in the blanks on how to do this for your home and help you establish a cohesive, long-term plan for your renovation or new build. Enroll today.

So, before you come home with whatever your nearest big box store has in stock, consider waiting (if you must and especially now). Because trouble now is better than trouble later (after the flooring is installed and you realize you made a mistake).

Also, if you have a new build and need to know what my timeless flooring choices would be, you can purchase my Timeless wood flooring guide here.

PS. Here’s Lucy and I out and about:

Related posts:

First Rule of Design: Boring Now Equals Timeless Later

Second Rule of Design: Waiting Now Equals Beautiful Later

Third Rule of Design: Expensive Does Not Equal Timeless

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35 Comments

  • Tina Meyer says:

    Good article. But your Lucy is such a darling, they are great pictures of her (and you, of course).

    1
  • Lisa Proctor says:

    It was @thenester who you quoted in this post. Her design ideas are awesome too.
    So glad to know it’s possible to match LVP to existing hardwood! Thank you.

    1
  • Janelle says:

    I personally would not be happy with this LVP and hardwood next together in my home, as I see quite a difference in the grain—larger & darker brown knots in the LVP, whereas the knots in the original hardwood are reading as a darker orange and are smaller. Of course, it is totally possibly that the colours are not true in the photos & there is less of a colour difference than the photos suggest.

    I do agree, though, that the grey flooring is definitely the more egregious choice to pair with the orange LVP & hardwood!

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  • Lisa B says:

    I wouldn’t be happy with the match either, although they did a good job. Different size planks are too much of a flag.

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  • Lynda Mitchell says:

    I’m am just starting to look for an LVP or water resistant wood to use in my bedrooms that will match my red oak floors with a warm natural finish. Let me tell you – it’s not easy! Everything in stores is farmhouse style with grey undertones. It might be easier to simply refinish the floor in my upstairs hallway so everything will be about the same finish color. That will be my last resort. In the meantime, I continue to search…

    • Cynthia says:

      Check out Karndean luxury vinyl planks. They make many colours and different grain looks. They have an excellent website and you can order a sample.

      1
      • Terri says:

        OMG I had a beautiful Kardean flooring picked out for my kitchen Reno that went beautifully against the warm red oak floors and TALKED myself out of it with advice from my millennial offspring. I mean I agonized many months about it and changed direction at the last minute. So regret that. Now have grey/taupe against red oak and hate it and knew this would happen.

        1
  • Judy says:

    I just installed LVP in my condo kitchen. Prior to the purchase, I asked multiple stores about any companies that make LVP with a matching engineered hardwood to place in the adjoining LR and DR. Seems like that would be a win for the first company to carry that, but they knew of none.

    7
  • Dglvr says:

    Awwwwwwwww Lucy is the show stopper! Love her! So CUTE!

  • Diane says:

    I was able to do that in my kitchen way back in the ‘90’s! There was nothing else thin enough to lay and it matched so perfectly, people got down on the floor to see if it was really vinyl.

  • Nancy says:

    I am redecorating a beach condo where the previous owner replaced flooring with engineered hardwood about 22 years ago that has the brown/ gold tones. Unfortunately they left the tile in the kitchen, hall and baths that are over 40 years old and worn down to the clay in some areas. I would not consider matching with LVP, or matching the dated color , but will either replace the entire floor or place a neutral timeless tile. Trying to match flooring without using the same wood, stripping the original and restraining remains a big NO. Patience is golden in design.. wait until you can afford to do it right. My 5 cents.

    12
  • Bree says:

    We have medium brown maple hardwood throughout our house, and used a matching LPV on the lower level in a similar maple. Visually they match perfectly, but the texture is noticeable from the stairs to the LPV flooring. It works well as a seamless transition to the finished lower level, but I would not install hardwood and LPV on the same plane and try to match.

    4
  • Stacy says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with planks of different sizes. If you think about old houses, like historic houses, when they had to do floor repairs, they used whatever they could and stained it to match. Then they put down rugs. The floor is part of the charm of the old house. In this case, they used the same color, but different sized planks, and it is just fine. I would have put down a rug in that living room. The alternative would have been to install wood throughout, which probably wouldn’t have matched perfectly either and too easy to damage as a rental, OR rip out the existing wood flooring to install LVP throughout. I would never remove the existing wood, so there’s my answer!

    2
  • Lena M says:

    Maybe I just look for patterns but I still notice matching knots on separate planks with the LVP — it reads as fake. A subtler woodgrain pattern would help.

    5
    • Lorri says:

      Some LVP manufacturers have more variety in their planks so you shouldn’t end up with matching patterns in the same room.

      1
    • LaurenD says:

      This is a huge worry of mine too. We are building a very open concept house and we have 4 kids. I REALLY want to do LVP for ease etc, but I’m so nervous I’ll notice and hone in on the repeat pattern/knots all the time and it will read fake to me. I’ve looked at so much LVP that my eyes are crossing. There are beautiful options with little variation among boards which makes it less obvious, but I’m nervous to pull the trigger! @MariaKillam do you think this is a valid concern or should I get over it and go with LVP!?

      • Kj says:

        If you are only looking at small samples of the LVP or one plank, it is definitely a concern. You must buy a box and lay all the planks out, that will tell you exactly what the pattern/repeat will look like on a large scale.

        3
    • Shawnda says:

      When I lay vinyl tiles or planks, I look for distinctive knots or patterns and sort my planks into groups based on those. Then when actually laying the planks or tiles, it allows me to avoid putting like patterns too close together. It also helps if it’s an adhesive installation (glue down or peel n stick) because you can reverse the direction of the patterns to make common knots etc more difficult to match.

  • Nancy says:

    I can notice the old and the new in that .
    It wouldn’t work for me mixing the old with the new
    One small
    Plank the other large .
    Plus the color wasn’t spot on texture didn’t look the same either . Put in wood the same size as what was there and the same wood
    Sand it and stain it all one color .

    12
  • Bette says:

    All hardwood or no hardwood. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it! (And PS. If you choose “all hardwood,” that’s not a license to have different woods and stains — everything must be the same. Period.)

    14
  • Kate says:

    This article made me chuckle since I wrote to you last year about this exact problem and true to your word your response was “No”. I wasn’t surprised by your response since I knew what you said was what I thought but didn’t want to accept. If the flooring didn’t match it would look awful and then I have a bigger problem. I am sorry but I didn’t listen and I never told you what I did and how I solved the problem. It was important that all flooring match since I live in a bungalow and all rooms are visible and butt up to existing maple hardwood in hallway and living and dining room. So, I researched what all my options were. I spoke to many flooring experts and finally found one person who thought out of the box. His solution was to have the flooring custom made to match, which I didn’t think was possible but the company assured me they could do it. In fact, they do it all the time. The company recommended engineered maple and the plank would be slightly wider by a half inch and the sheen would be less shiny but unnoticeable. I had to supply a few pieces of the existing hardwood for them to replicate the exact colour and pattern match. Fortunately, I had a box of hardwood left over from the initial install 15 years earlier. The cost was less than what I expected and the results were excellent. The new flooring was laid in all bedrooms and office. It looks like it was always there. I should have followed up with you. Happy ending!

    11
    • Gloria says:

      Kate,
      I would love to do this in my kitchen that has ugly dated tile. My issue is that the same engineered hardwood the previous owner chose is too thin for a kitchen. Your thoughts and what company did you use?

      Thanks,
      Gloria

  • Does anyone else feel that LVP is kind of plasticy and clanky underfoot? It looks great but feels like walking on hard plastic. It’s wood for me!

    8
    • Joanna says:

      I agree Susan! We replaced all LVP with hardwood in our home, even though it was a new build. We hated the fake look and feel of it. I would use it in a rental though, especially one by water.
      Marie, I think your original answer of not mixing the two types of flooring was bang on. It is obvious to me that they are two different flooring, one thin/one thicker, one real/one fake, plus colour and grain are off. I know that would bother me.

      4
    • Kay R says:

      I agree with you Susan. However, the sound issue can be helped by installing a sound absorbing underlayment, if you have the clearance to accommodate the additional thickness.

    • Maria Killam says:

      So this is a vacation rental. Which makes this a great solution in my opinion. My opinion still stands that it should all be the same in most situations. The point of this post was for everyone to understand that the one that matched the best was probably not picked up from the nearest big box store, renovations are rarely perfect but we can try to make them as perfect as possible and this is how it’s done. Ya’ll are getting literal with me now. Maria

      2
  • Wendy says:

    If someone is looking for a 3″ wide luxury vinyl plank, please check out the Craftsman line at Flooret/Modin. My addition and subsequent whole house floor replacement has suffered serious timeline setbacks due to the building boom here and the inability to get construction supplies and subcontractors. The only upside is the Craftsman line was released during that time and they included the medium brown series I had my eye on!

    1
  • Kay R says:

    Maria, I think you were in a vacation state of mind not to notice right away!
    Trying to combine existing hardwood with LVP wood grain butting up against it has never been productive for me. The transition, both visual and physical, has always been impossible.

    I agree with your reader Cynthia. I think Karndean has the best LVP options available now.

  • Elle says:

    I think the bad grey entry flooring tricked your normally-sharp eye. You didn’t see any more grey and just relaxed. But the old hardwood and new LVP don’t match; the LVP looks like a phony imitation. The width of the planks is the least of the problems. I think maybe lovers of color can see quickly that things are off (but maybe not know why) and lovers of wood immediately have their eyes hurt by imitations.

    2
  • M says:

    The gray next to the fir is an obvious unattractive mismatch, but IDK about the other, the grain is so different, I’d need to see a bigger area to decide.

    You mentioned everyone is doing LVP these days? For kitchens and baths or everywhere? I’d like to hear more about that.
    I’m in SoCal, first floor on concrete slab. When I’ve looked to replace my flooring with hardwood, engineered wood is always recommended instead due to the concrete slab. Either way, I’m concerned about wood in the kitchen, people in and out from the pool, etc. Would like the same flooring throughout, but don’t know if that’s done with LVP or if any look realistic enough. I’ve stayed at a couple of vacation condos at the beach and the “wood” flooring looked very realistic, actually I’m not sure if was tile or LVP. Should have looked more closely when there.
    Easy care, easy underfoot would be a plus.
    More posts of LVP please!
    Thanks

    2
  • Anne-Marie says:

    I can understand why you didn’t notice the colour difference immediately, especially after seeing the grey next to the orange, but I am very surprised that you didn’t feel the textural difference underfoot right away.

    1
  • Kim H says:

    Maria, you’re so good at being clear with yourself and others when you need to change your mind about something and why. This post is a self-development lesson as well as a design one. Bravo.

    4
  • Kelly says:

    Even in a new build it was difficult for us to find LVP that we could use in the basement that still had the same coloring and “feel” of our upstairs hardwoods. We did find one that most people are unlikely to notice the difference and LVP is so practical for the basement finished spaces where grandkids run and play and track in everything from outside. Slight compromise but it’s pretty darn good. 🙃

    1

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