How To Match Paint Colors For Light Wood Floors

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Think of your home as a large, blank canvas. Your floors and walls cover the most surface area in any room and using that space wisely allows you to create a space that feels comfortable and peaceful. I do, however, acknowledge that this is easier said than done but choosing the right paint colors for your wall to match your light wood flooring is the best place to start.

But what color will work best for your space?

This is why I’m here! To help you choose the right color to paint your walls. Light wood flooring can be slightly tricky to match but there are plenty of tips and tricks I’ll tell you below that’ll help you make the best decision for your home, so just keep on reading!

Determine Your Undertones

Generally speaking, two major undertone types are important for color combination. Knowing these two undertones is the key to finding out what color works best for your light hardwood floors.

The two undertones are (a) warm undertones and (b) cool undertones. The difference between the two is better explained with an example. Think of colors that feel like they give off more ‘warmth’ in a sense, compared to others. 

Colors such as red, brown, orange, etc. give your rooms a warm vibe and an inviting look. On the other hand, picture colors give off a ‘cool’ feel. Colors such as blue, gray, white, etc. can give your room a much more calming vibe and a fresh look.

So, what do these undertones and their types have to do with your wall colors? Well, to put it simply, figuring out the undertones of your light wood flooring can help you choose the right color for your walls. You can use the tone to determine what colors would suit your room best, but there’s a bit more to that which I’ll dive into shortly.

Before I do that, you need to make sure you’re fully aware of exactly what undertone your flooring is. If your floors are older and haven’t been refurbished properly, they’ve likely lost their shine. This is important because it can completely change the undertone that would best suit your walls, so before you start painting, I recommend you read up on how to clean your old hardwood floors without having to refinish them.

In case you’re done shining your floors and are still having a hard time figuring out your undertone, there is a simple rule you can follow. Place everyday objects in your home on the flooring that is closest to the color of your floors. If the color of the object is similar to the color of the floor, that color will be the undertone of your wood floor. Once you’ve found a perfect match or a near-perfect match, keep it in mind as you continue reading through the rest of this article.

Tips for Selecting the Right Wall Color

Now that you’ve found out what color tone your floors are, I’ll go into some tips you should keep in mind when selecting a wall color to go with your light wood flooring. Know that these tips are not absolute. At the end of the day, it’s entirely your choice whether or not you want to follow them. These tips only exist to help you make a more informed decision. So, without further ado, here they are.

  1. Complement the Colors

When picking a color for your walls, you want to avoid matching the tone exactly with the tone of the floor. Choosing the same tone will make your room look dull and ruin your living space. Keeping the tone similar is often considered to be a better choice as colors of a similar tone will complement each other naturally, such as different shades of blue or gray can be used to complement each other due to them being from a similar tone. This provides your rooms with a much more calming and comfortable look.

  1. Go Neutral

Sometimes the best choice is to simply go neutral. By choosing a color from more neutral tones for your wall you highlight your wood floors and make them the center of attention in the room. Such a look improves tenfold if you have artwork, paintings, and decorations for your walls as the color of the wall won’t take away any of the glory of the light wood floors or your furnishings and instead only exist to focus on them more.

  1. Compare and Contrast

Colors directly opposite each other on the color wheel are considered to be contrasting colors. This usually means that one of these colors is striking and dominant, while the other color serves to accentuate the first. A wall color that contrasts well against your light wood flooring will add an inviting and vivid look to your rooms.

  1. Account for Furniture

If your room is already furnished and decorated, it may not need a striking and vivid color on its walls. Sometimes, the room can speak for itself through its décor. In these cases, it’s best to go for a cooler tone and a lighter color, as your décor will already be adding depth and substance to the room.

Additionally, if the furniture in your room collectively belongs to the same tone, use that as a reference for your wall color. For example, if you have dark wood furniture placed on light wood flooring, you can infer that a darker wall color would suit the room better due to the contrast it could create. A lighter wall color would also be appropriate to complement the light wood floor.

  1. Simplicity is Key

This is less of a general tip but more of a reminder that keeping things simple and minimalistic is in your best interests. You don’t have to choose bright and vivid wall colors for the sake of choosing them. You can select a light or neutral color that isn’t over-the-top and still be able to pair it well with your light wood floors to create an atmosphere that radiates style. Making things simpler will make your rooms look better and visually less cluttered.

  1. Visualization and Sampling

Seeing colors from a list or a brochure can give a very misleading appearance to what the color would look like in your home at specific times during the day or in the lighting of your home in different weather and seasons.

This is why I consider visualization and sampling to be important aspects of choosing the right color for your walls. If you realize that your wall color doesn’t match as well as you thought it would AFTER it’s been painted, all of this advice will have been for nothing.

So, I highly recommend that no matter what color you choose, you should get some swatches of that color and place them in your home against your wall. Watch how the color changes at different times of the day and in different lighting before you finalize the process. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort this way and also be able to properly judge whether the color you’ve chosen is suitable for your home or not.

Our Wall Color Suggestions to Match your Light Wood Floors

Did you read all of the tips above and still don’t know what color to paint your walls? Don’t worry, this decision is not to be made lightly and can cause a lot of pressure. You may be anxious about whether or not your entire home will turn out looking okay or not, and that’s a valid concern. After all, wood floors can greatly increase the resale value of your home, so anything concerning them is an important decision. If you want to know what exactly goes into increasing the resale value of your property, make sure to educate yourself on what color of hardwood floors is best for resale.

There’s a wide variety when it comes to light wood floors so there are bound to be various undertones and colors that light wood flooring can have. Their patterns, hues, and finishes all need to be considered thoroughly before selecting the right colors. There are a select few colors, however, that’ll pair well with light wood regardless of patterns, hues, or finishes.

I’ve listed some of these colors and tones below that I feel work universally well with light wood flooring. A color chosen by you using the tips I mentioned above would’ve paired the best with your flooring, but the colors I’m about to suggest aren’t bad in comparison and can be a perfectly good choice for you too!

  1. Neutral Tones

Neutral colors go hand-in-hand with light wood flooring. These colors work wonderfully well with any tone of light wood flooring and make the floor more prominent. Neutral colors can have either cool or warm undertones depending upon the shade but they even out the look of the room and are universally well-balanced. Colors such as off-white, taupe, beige, and gray fit the bill perfectly.

It’s also recommended to use neutral colors that are similar in tone to your light wood floors. For example, having light oak flooring and gray walls works well together.

Conversely, a stark contrast with neutrals of a dark color can also work well in your favor, such as charcoal, obsidian, onyx, and black. A darker neutral will give your room more depth and an intense look.

  1. Cool Tones

Colors of a cooler undertone pair well with light wood flooring. Colors such as blue, dark blue, and green have a much less drastic look and provide an invigorating look to your room without overbearing eyes with vivid colors. A cooler-toned wall will give your room a pleasant and appealing appearance. This statement only becomes more and more true the cooler the color tone becomes, but going to an extremely light shade of color can greatly reduce the impact of the color and make it negligible.

  1. Warm Tones

Warmer undertone colors can also pair well with light wood flooring. Colors such as orange go exceptionally well with light wood flooring, but it is important to note that these walls look best in rooms where there is rich lighting to complement them. It’s generally advised to use these colors in places where you’re likely to find people together, such as living rooms or dining rooms. The inviting look and vivid colors can improve the mood of those in the room. Colors such as yellow and orange fit the bill perfectly for these tones.

  1. Whites

White is an example of a one-of-a-kind color whose versatility knows no bounds. White paint can work with all kinds of flooring, not just light wood, and can be used in virtually all color themes.

White has different variants, such as off-white, and snow-white that can be warmer or cooler toned respectively. If you’re going for white, I’d recommend a variant of it instead. A completely plain white look can give your room a bland look and make it feel more like a hospital rather than a room. Naturally, you’ll want to pair cooler tones if you have a light wood floor of a cooler tone and warmer tones if you have a light wood floor of a warmer tone.

Should Floors be Darker or Lighter Than Walls?

This question is often asked, and I believe that its answer depends entirely upon your situation and what look you’re going for. If your walls are a cooler tone, then making your floors darker can contrast well with them. Conversely, if your walls are a warmer tone, then choosing a lighter color may contrast better with them.

Keeping the tips in mind above, I’m sure you realize there isn’t an outright answer to this but with all those tips in mind, you can surely answer this question for yourself when you consider your room, setting, layout, décor, and the atmosphere you’re going for.

The Perfect Wall Color to Match your Light Wood Floors

I hope this article has helped you get a better idea of what wall colors will best match your light wood floors.

If you liked this article, make sure to share it with your friends! If you have any thoughts you’d like to share, please leave a comment in the section below. I’d love to read them.

In the meantime, happy painting!

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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