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Which Hardwood Floor is the Most Timeless?

By 05/04/2011January 16th, 202042 Comments
You know what I find fascinating?  At the same time as we all want to know the latest trends in colour and design, we also search high and low–as well as conduct polls with our family and friends, dogs and cats–in order to discover which look is the most timeless.
It’s not this one (source)

Flooring is a huge design decision to make when planning a renovation or building a new house. It’s secondary in importance to the wall colours which obviously take up the most square footage so it’s wise to think about the look and feel you are creating and not simply install the latest trend.

It’s time for my May newsletter which will arrive in your in-box along with the answer to this question so if you are renovating or building a new house, stay tuned.  Click here to subscribe (it’s free)and access over a years worth of special articles only available to monthly subscribers.

You will also instantly receive “The Top 3 decorating mistakes homeowners make and how to avoid them as well as my favourite ‘go-to’ colours.”

What colour is your hardwood floor? What colour do you wish they were?

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.
Related posts:
My Top 5 “What not to Buy” for your House
5 Accessories Everyone should have in your Home
10 Ways to make your Home look more Expensive

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  • Elisa @ What the Vita says:

    My wish is for hardwood flooring, period. I hate our carpets and am considering pulling it out and living with the concrete until we finally purchase wood flooring!

    But am looking forward to your newsletter because we've (hubby and I) definitely have had lengthy discussions about all the possible shades and colors we want in our wood flooring. The choices are kinda overwhelming!

  • Susan says:

    Living in a pre-war apt. (built in 1928) in NYC, all the floors installed were a golden oak. But the previous owner had two hallways & the living room pickled white (popular in the 80's). It's time for them to be refinished and I'm planning to refinish them exactly the same. It gives such a clean, light feeling to the space and looks wonderful in contrast to the navy border that surrounds the chinese deco rug in the living room.

  • Shannon says:

    I love the look of dark hard wood floors, but not the maintenance. If I had my pick it would be a medium tone, not too light and not too dark, in a grayer old world finish. Something timeless that will never go out of style. I like the puppy too!

  • The Green's says:

    Oh I hope the answer comes to my email quickly. We are days away from buying our hardwood floors and I want to be sure I am not making a mistake! When should it be in my inbox?

  • The Green's says:

    PS – If the newsletter doesn't come fast enough, we are thinking about natural hickory. Are we making a mistake?

  • Naturally Carol says:

    Our floor is a dark red hardwood, perhaps a local rainforest cedar. Perhaps not 'in fashion' but timeless. The house was built in the 1930's in it goes with the period it was built..and looks lovely with white painted parcel shelves and other decorative trim and rich tapestry rugs on the floor. It wears well too.

  • ❀❀❀Ðαωᾔ❀❀❀ says:

    I live in a log home with pine wood floors, stained about the same color as the photo you posted. I think they show the least amount of dirt, and pet hair. I love the look of dark stain but would hate the up keep. I can't wait to hear the correct answer.

  • Lili says:

    Yeah, yeah, you got me. I subscribed ^^

    Relatable Style

  • Wendy says:

    Interesting question – we are currently replacing 85 year old (damaged) golden hardwoods with quartersawn white oak and will be picking the stain soon. I'm aiming for something cooler in tone, medium value, and hopefully rather timeless.

    By the way the links in your emails often entice me to read an earlier article, but then prove to be only spurs to subscribing-which I already do. It's frustrating – am I missing a way to read some archived articles? Thanks.

  • Donna Frasca says:

    If I had my choice, I would put cork through out my entire home. I currently have it in just on room and absolutely love it!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Hi Wendy,
    As soon as you subscribe you can read all the archives, and the only time I include the links which take people right back to another article to subscribe are when I post my newsletter each month.
    So if you are subscribed, you can either go back to a previous newsletter you received to click on the archives or you should be able to access it along with the special report.
    If you can't do either, email me.

  • Mary says:

    We are having a light hickory floor installed this summer. I don't know if it's timeless but it certainly will add to the look & feel I want.

  • Wendy says:

    I advise clients to think about NEUTRAL color for stain. (The color shown is orange-y and will always be pretty bossy for decorating choices.)

    Gray stains are popular right now and look great NOW, but will they one day be the dated "pickled" look we can now trace to the 90s?

    Timeless interiors include floors that fit with the decor, no matter the period, soooo…I normally say "medium walnut" and "avoid red if possible" and "go darker than you might first be attracted to."

  • Lazy Gardens says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that many (maybe all) woods change color in response to light after they are installed. Stained or unstained, they will change color as light reacts with chemicals in the wood.

    Some change more than others. So if keeping a precise color is important to your psyche and decor, check the species characteristics before you buy.

    They usually darken and go a bit redder which creates the intense orange "knotty pine paneling" color out of the pale cream pine.

  • Danielle says:

    As I read this my new oak floors are being stained "dark walnut" to complement my ivory with chocolate glaze cabinetry and so far I LOVE IT! I tend to lean towards true "browns" with no red or orange undertones…

  • Muffy says:

    We stained ours cherry when we moved in (about 5 years ago). I thought that was the most classic color, but now I am seeing how much it affects certain rooms. I'm happy with the way it looks in the bedrooms, but not our dining room. It's a dark room and the floors through a red light on everything. I really don't like red. 🙁

  • Kate says:

    We stained our 100+ year-old wood floors ebony last year and I absolutely love them. Yes, there is definitely more upkeep with floors stained this dark, but it's worth it to me.

  • traci zeller designs says:

    Can't wait to read your thoughts on this! My floors are Peruvian walnut – they are not stained but instead just sealed. They are darker than American walnut and don't have the grain like American walnut – more like mahogany. I love the dark color … but the wood itself has taken a beating. Tropical woods are rather particular!

  • THE BASIC Magazine says:

    Okay…forget the flooring and just me the the puppy. How cute!

  • Donna says:

    I don't have hardwood floors..only laminate..but it is a pretty oak and a nice light color perfect for our house.

    But someday..we will be building. And when we do I want a nice rich oak. Not too dark..but not this pine color either.

    What I do with is that the floor and the trim and wainscotting matched..which they don't. Ha! Of course that can be time. :o)

    Looking forward to your newsletter as usual Maria. :o)


  • Francine Gardner says:

    If one can afford it, as hardwood floors are a critical investment, one must carefully select the type of wood flooring and the finish.. I always design a space with hardwood floors to be the anchor of a house. I tend to customize the finish, either cerused , bleached, hand rubbed walnut finish on large wide oak planks. My favorite are antique flooring with hand waxed finishes.

  • Luciane at says:

    Medium tone. Not too light, not too dark. Try to go for a classic look. That usually works.

    Have a blessed day!


    Luciane at

  • Lisa says:

    My favorite….
    Antique long leaf pine with a nice build-up of old wax naturally aged with time.
    Waxed wood has such a nice old glow and smells divine too!
    Off to read more and catch up with you!
    xo Lisa

  • Jennifer Hand says:

    We had ours done in Jacobean by Minwax. Our flooring guy tried so hard to talk us out of it, fearing we wouldn't like how dark it might end up on white oak hard wood. When we insisted on it and he was done, he told us he was blown away by the color and would recommend it going forward. It's just the right dark brown, no red and no black….rich and warm but still reflective of light!

    • Cookie says:

      I awlays wonder why people decide to cover them up. Seriously I find that hardwood is SO much easier to keep clean. Especially with animals.

    • Debi says:

      Thanks couple weeks away from major renovations and lot of hardwood and wanting to go dark and think you sold me!!! Thanks

  • Sharon Starkey says:

    I have been trying to find the answer to the question about wood floors. As we are going to be building a new home in 2012, this question is the first one I need an answer to. The floors are the biggest decision–literally. I have subscribed and can’t dig up the answer. Help!

  • Nicole says:

    I’d appreciate hearing any input on flooring color in combination with kitchen cabinets….
    We are building and I want everything to be timeless (can add the trendy in accessories). Recently read that white kitchen cabinets are timeless—would you go for a lighter stained hardwood flooring with white cabinets?
    Maria, what have you decided with your new home?

  • jherlong says:

    I am a subscriber, but am unable to see this post. We are in the midst of choosing hardwood flooring and would so love to have this info. Help!!

  • Hi Maria,

    I’m looking back at your best of 2012 posts and wondering how to find the newsletter that this is connected with. I’m in the process of choosing the best wood floor stain for oak hardwood floors. Where can I find this past newsletter if I’m already subscribed?

    Thanks! 🙂 Jill

  • So I’m always asking what color the floor is (so many times that’s all the context you have) I think the red colored stains are so much easier to work with than the orange. Maybe it’s the city, when SF was being built, in the old, very old days, Everything was Redwood.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the pressure off. I will still ask the client, because the orange and other stains are kind of bossy, however, not so much a big deal anymore.

    Your posts are better than ever! Thanks.

  • Wyn says:

    My special love is the Tennessee red oak in my mother’s house. It is a glorious amber colour that looks like solid sunlight. See for an idea of the colour. It’s what honey oak wants to be when it grows up.

  • Melanie says:

    Should I use white or red oak flooring with stained cherry cabinets?

  • Martha says:

    I know this is an old post, but couldn’t help but tell how I picked our hardwood floor. I went with a medium oak stain (it has the orange undertone) because it helped hide the dirt from the yard!

  • marta says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am building a new home and I would like your opinion on what color to get for my wood floors.
    I going to have espresso color cabinets with gold white springs granite, agreeable gray color for the walls. thanks, Marta

  • Cammie says:

    I get your newsletter and I can’t find this article. We built a beautiful house last fall and we have to tear out the tile. The installer tried a new product on us and the tile is a mess! I’d love hardwood now that they have to redo it all anyway.

  • Karen says:

    Is dark walnut considered a classic and timeless hardwood color? We are thinking to restain our red oak hardwood to dark walnut with white cabinets and black granite.

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