If you’re in need of new floors in your house, then you want something long lasting, able to suit any décor, and capable of adding value to your home. That’s probably how you ended up looking at hardwood floors.
Even if you’re not in the market for a whole new floor at the moment, it’s still nice to browse the options available so that you’ll have all the information for the future.
In this piece, I’m going to show you some of the most beautiful dark hardwood floors that you’ve ever seen in order to give you some inspiration for your home improvement project or even your ‘Dream Home’ Pinterest boards.
What’s so great about dark hardwood floors?
- They’re natural products with natural variation – no repeating patterns of fake faux wood looks
- They’re warm underfoot
- They’re better for larger rooms/open plan rooms
- They suit traditional decors, but can also blend with modern designs
- They’re resistant to wear and tear
- They add value to your home
- They don’t show dirt
- They’re pet- and child-friendly
What décor styles suit dark hardwood floors?
While dark hardwood floors can suit almost any décor style, they are most often used with traditional and rustic schemes. However, they also work well with modern designs that utilise light furniture and white walls.
The idea is not to disguise your dark floors, but rather allow them to work as an accent piece in the room and provide a delightful contrast for the eyes. If you’re unsure what can be paired with dark hardwood floors, consider some of these fixtures and furnishings:
- White walls, whether painted, tiled, or wallpapered
- Light wood furniture, including reclaimed wood or mixed wood
- Brightly colored soft furnishings (i.e. rugs, cushions, curtains, bedding)
- Marble fixtures (i.e. kitchen worktop or bathroom sink)
- Textured furnishings (i.e. leather chairs or fake fur rugs)
- Bronze elements (i.e. taps, claw feet for bathtubs, mirror frames, picture frames)
- Light, fluffy rugs
- White accents (i.e. door frames, window frames, skirting boards)
- Potted plants, whether leafy or flowering
12 of the best dark hardwood floors
Okay, now we’re onto the good part. A countdown of the 12 best types of dark hardwood floors for your home, including some gorgeous sharable photos.
Source: Boa-Franc on Flickr
This chocolate colored wood is commonly used in the US to make a whole range of items, including furniture, boats, and even some string instruments. It has a classic look and, as far as hardwoods go, it’s incredibly resistant to water, which means less chance of warping and staining.
However, it can be super expensive to buy. This means it’s slightly less appealing to anyone concerned about their budget.
Source: Boa-Franc on Flickr
Cherry is a beautiful wood that darkens as it grows. When made into flooring, cherry hardwood can give a beautiful, but subtle, red hue to any room, which makes the room look warmer and more inviting.
Be warned though, cherry hardwood is notoriously difficult to work with – it’s basically the Katherine Heigl of hardwoods. This means that because of the additional labor, it’s a more expensive floor to buy. It’s also very easy to scratch cherry wood, meaning that it’ll have to be refinished and replaced more often than others on this list.
3. Brazilian Cherry
Source: Mauroguanandi on Flickr
If you like the rich color of cherry hardwoods, but want your floor to last much longer, then try the Brazilian Cherry. Grown in South America, this hardwood is much stronger than that its counterpart so it won’t need to be replaced as often.
The downside? This type of wooden flooring is hard for DIY-ers to install and often needs to be laid by a professional, which can add to the overall cost of the floor.
Another thing that can increase the cost (and decrease eco-friendliness) is the fact that this wood will have to be shipped from South America to China for manufacturing, before being shipped to the US for sale. That’s a lot of travel, which can increase your carbon footprint and the overall cost.
4. Coffee Handscraped Strand Bamboo
Source: Ambient Bamboo
If you love the rich, dark color of coffee, then this “fantabulous” dark bamboo hardwood flooring is right up your alley. It evokes the timeless style of old Hollywood glamour, like Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, and will add value to your home for years to come.
Made from eco-friendly bamboo, these floors have been hand scraped to give you a more traditional and unique look. Rest assured though, it’ll also do great in a contemporary setting. Bonus: It also goes a long way to hiding any stray scratches from your dog’s nails, your daughter’s soccer cleats, and your son’s rollerblades.
Strand woven bamboo flooring, although made from grass as opposed to wood, is actually the hardest flooring type there is according the Janka Hardness Scale. It easily bests all the other hardwoods on this list and is a huge three times harder than oak.
5. European Walnut
Source: Boa-Franc on Flickr
The light chocolaty color of Walnut will provide a rich base for any design scheme, making your house feel warmer and homier. It’s also incredibly durable, so it can withstand a lifetime of home use.
However, it is quite a bit more expensive than other hardwoods and the cost of shipping from Europe only adds to the price. Another problem with shipping from Europe, is that your beautiful floor will have to go via China for manufacturing, which only increases the damage to the environment.
Source: Heritage Branch on Wikipedia
Nope, I’m not talking about the Fox crime drama, but the timber from Dalbergia trees. This is an incredibly unique wood for flooring, as the planks can come in a whole spectrum of colors from light yellow to deep purple. They even give off a floral scent after being turned into flooring planks.
If you are in the market for rosewood, be careful about the type you get as some species of the tree are marked as endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, including:
- Nicaraguan rosewood
- Guatemalan rosewood
- Brazilian rosewood
- Panama rosewood
- Honduran rosewood
Those species are either banned or heavily restricted for use in flooring, furniture, or other products in order to protect the trees from extinction. However, some dubious companies continue to trade them. Check up on your manufacturer and make sure that they are using a sustainable source.
Source: Boa-Franc on Flickr
This is probably the most commonly used type of wooden floor in the USA because of its natural beauty, hardness, and the fact the oak trees are really common in the States.
An oak floor is resistant to all type of scratches and dents, which makes it a perfect choice for people with kids or pets, and it has an incredible resale value because potential home buyers are familiar with oak floors.
Just remember that, as with most hardwoods grown in North America, they often have to be shipped to China for manufacturing, so it’s not the eco-friendly choice that it appears to be on the surface. Plus, it means there are fewer trees for us to enjoy!
8. Java Strand Bamboo
Source: Ambient Bamboo Floors
This flooring is smooth and sleek, meaning that it will perfectly suit a no-fuss decorating scheme. As you can see in the picture, it goes beautifully with most decors, from the clean and natural look of the white and cream finishings to the rustic look of the reclaimed wood furniture.
It will also require less maintenance than wood floors because, as mentioned before, bamboo is harder than hardwoods. Also, bamboo flooring is a lot easier to clean than most floors, typically only requiring a simple sweep or vacuum. It’ll stand up to your pets’ claws, your kids’ dinnertime tantrums, and even your mother-in-law’s high heels.
You can also feel good about choosing bamboo because of its green credentials. It’s a highly renewable resource that takes a mere five years to grow to maturity, compared with 50 for most of the hardwoods on this list. It’s also harvested by hand, unlike hardwoods, which means that there’s less carbon dioxide being pumped into the air.
9. Red Oak
Source: Boa-Franc on Flickr
This beautiful dark hardwood has a timeless style that will transform any home into a vintage lover’s dream. It’s as durable as White Oak, but is distinguished by its coarse grain and reddish tint, which add warmth to any room.
If you plan on buying red oak remember that, as with White Oak, it may not be the most eco of choices, as the timber often has to be shipped to China for manufacturing.
Also, red oak wood grain is incredibly open, which means it’s not great at surviving moisture or wetness. This means that the floor can easily stain or warp if used in bathrooms, basements, or kitchens. Just look at the below YouTube video for proof:
Source: Rochelle Hack on Pinterest
Lyptus has seen a huge uptick in sales over the past decade because it looks like mahogany, but without the price tag. It’s easy to manufacture, which brings down the purchase price, and it’s harder than oak, which will reduce future maintenance costs.
However, if you’re planning to buy this hybrid wood flooring, do some research into the company. One of the major harvesting companies has previously been criticized for poor relations with local Brazilian tribes and refusal to certify their process with the environmental body, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Also, like many other hardwoods, it has to be shipped to China and back for manufacturing, which means its less than eco-friendly.
Source: David R. Tribble on Wikipedia
More common in rustic homes or log cabins, hickory is an incredibly hard wood that will stand up to decades of foot traffic.
However, you should be aware that, much like red oak, hickory wood grain is quite porous and susceptible to rot. Therefore, it shouldn’t be installed in areas like basements, bathrooms, and kitchens.
It also means that it might need replacing more often than other woods on this list, which is both costly and damaging to the environment.
Source: Michael Oeser on UnSplash
Ash is an incredibly hard wood, but less expensive than its contemporaries, so it’s becoming very popular.
It’s naturally a pale wood, which means that it needs to be varnished in order to achieve that dark shade. However, as Ash doesn’t take to well to any kind of stains, this is a very labor-intensive task, which can push up the price.
Also, you should know that ash tree in both North America and Europe are under threat, so it’s important to research the company that you are buying from to ensure that they are following the recommended protocols to ensure the survival of the species.
Staining your existing hardwood floors
If you already have hardwood or bamboo floors installed in your house, you may wish to refinish them with a darker varnish rather than having a whole new floor put in. Luckily, this is a pretty easy task.
If you’re interested in refinishing your bamboo floors, we have an extensive guide to the process here, but below is an incredibly simplistic guide to refinishing hardwood floors:
1) Choose your varnish
Make sure to order several samples to see how they look against your existing furniture before starting the task. When you test the varnish, do so on a flooring plank that is often hidden from view (i.e. under a rug or some furniture).
When making the decision, consult the warranty for your floor as they may recommend or discourage a particular type of finish. If you fail to abide by this, you may void the warranty.
2) Gather your tools
There is a whole host of tools you’ll need in order to refinish your floors, but here is a basic list:
- Safety glasses/goggles
- Ventilation mask
- Your chosen varnish
- Industrial sander
- Finish Applicator
3) Sand the floors
This may take several rounds in order to remove the existing finish from the floorboards, but it’s the only way to get the correct result. Remember to vacuum up the dust created after every round.
It’s also important to sand the edges of the floor, where your sander may not reach. This is where you use the scraper.
This is your final effort to get rid of all dust, dirt, and debris before you begin to varnish the floor.
5) Apply the varnish
This should be done following the instructions provided by the varnish manufacturer to ensure that you don’t void the warranty. It may take 3 or 4 coats, so make sure to buff the floor with a clean rag in between coats to remove any impurities.
Make sure not to varnish yourself into a corner though.
6) Let the floor dry
After the finish has been applied, you may need to leave the floor to dry for a period of 24 hours before using the room again. Check with your finish manufacturer to find out how long you should leave the room to dry and if you should open or close windows during this time.
And now that I’ve finished recapping the 12 truly dreamy types of dark hardwood floors, I’d like to turn the attention to you. Do you have dark hardwood floors in your house? Are you now considering them?
Let me know all that and more in the comments below.