The natural colour of wood in its natural state is breathtakingly beautiful. Sadly, it is not always a good match for the other wood tones or colours or in your home. This is why we often turn to stain in order to change the colour and highlight the grain pattern of any interior wood. 

Choosing the colour of stain for wood flooring can be both exciting and intimidating at the same time. However, if you understand what to look for in flooring stains, the task can be enjoyable. At the end of this post, you will be equipped with important information that will help you select the right stain colour for your hardwood floors. 

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Floor Stain Colour 

Lighting Natural light alters the appearance of wood flooring all through the day; the way it will look during the day will be different from the way it will look at night. If you’re installing a wood floor in a room with a lot of sunlight, you should consider this before settling on a colour. It is also important to note that UV rays will alter the colour of the wood over time. With some wood types, it will bleach them while darkening others. 

The Type Of Wood

Different types of wood absorb stain differently; this is why it is important to consider what type of wood your flooring is made out of before selecting a stain. For example, oak is the easiest type of wood to stain because it absorbs the stain quickly. However, with flooring that is more exotic like pine, maple, or birch, it will be harder to have your floor stained evenly because these type of wood have tiny pores and tight grains; this means that the colour might not turn out the way you envisioned 


Even though light and dark coloured hardwood will accumulate the same amount of dings and scratches over time, the way light and dark coloured wood need to be cleaned and maintenance differs. For example, light and white hardwood colours tend to show less dust and dirt but show scuffs more easily than dark wood. 

Your Lifestyle

If you have pets who shed hair, going with a dark finish will show it much more than a lighter finish will. This is because darker stains tend to show dust more than lighter finishes. If you do not like the chore of regular sweeping, lighter stain colours would be a better choice. 


The size of a room should be considered when choosing a stain colour because hardwood can make a room look smaller. Even though dark hardwood flooring may be appealing to you, if it is installed in a small room or a room with little or no natural light, it will make it look darker and smaller. This can make the room look dense and gloomy, especially if the walls are also dark. For small rooms, use light coloured floor stains like grey, white, and beige to make them appear more spacious. 

The Resale Value of Your Home

If you intend to sell your home soon, you’ll be better off using a neutral (not too light or dark) colour that will appeal to most people. However, if you intend to live in your home for a long time, you can choose any colour that reflects your style.

The Finishing

You can pretty much use almost any finish over most types of stain, except polyurethane varnish; it cannot be applied over certain stains. If you intend to use a polyurethane finish, you should choose a stain that is compatible with polyurethane. If you can’t find a compatible stain, a clear penetrating resin sealer will have to be applied over an incompatible stain before the polyurethane finish can be applied. 

Foot Traffic

The more people that use the room, the more foot traffic your floor will see and the more durable your finish should be. If you have pets or young children, choose a textured hardwood floor or one with character and colour variation. Matte finishes also tend to minimize the appearance of dents and scratches. 

Your Style

If you are going for a contemporary look, using a colour like “Sedona red” will not work well. You should instead go with something more modern like ebony or one of the darker brown hues. 

On the other hand, if you love rustic farmhouse style interiors, you shouldn’t stain your floors dark ebony or grey. It would be completely out of sort with your rustic furniture. In this instance, mid-toned brown shades would be a better fit. 

What Harwood Stain Colour Options are Available? 

Dark stain Dark wood floors are sophisticated and incredibly chic. They give off the impression of warmth, polish, and richness to any space. Please note, when paired with the wrong colours and furnishings, dark stained floors can make a space feel small, heavy, and dark. 

Light Stain

A light stain can help make a dark room appear brighter and more spacious than it really is. It will work well with dark furniture and create a beautiful contrast. 

Red Hardwood Flooring

Red hardwood like cherry hardwood flooring is warm, dramatic, and vibrant. This colour is ideal for creating a beautiful, eye-catching home. Be careful though, red hardwood flooring can become overwhelming when paired with colourful decor. It is best to pair this stain option with more muted colours. For example, If your home is decorated in neutral shades, red hardwood flooring is the perfect way to add more character. 

Mid-toned stains

Mid-tones work better in traditional homes. They can also be used to hide imperfections in older wood floors. 

Provincial is by far the most popular mid-tone colour because it is a brown stain with no undertone of red; this means it goes well with almost anything. 

Pro Tips 

Don’t be too focused on the sample 

Recreating your favorite sample might be a bit of a challenge. This is because a lot of factors influence the final look of a stain, such as room lighting, wood type, ceiling colour, and wall colour. 

Consider the undertones Just like paint colours, wood stain has undertones, and this should be taken into consideration as well. Most designers warn against using wood finishes that have very orange or red undertones because it can look dated. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from warm undertones. In fact, one of the biggest trends in wood flooring right now is warm undertones; the key is to keep it to a minimum.

Do an Area Test 

This is probably the best way to determine how a stain will look in your space. You can either test the stains on the actual floor after it has been sanded or you can buy a few boards of wood that are an exact match to the one in your room and test the stain on those boards. In any case, you can sand over your test area again before you stain the entire floor. 

Revisit Your Decision 

Choosing your wood floors’ stain is a decision that should not be rushed; take it slow. Although perfection is impossible, feeling happy about your choice is possible. It is okay to rethink your choice and even explore other possibilities. 

Speak to a Professional 

Applying a wood stain will significantly change the way your floor looks, so it should be planned properly. Correcting hardwood floor stains would be difficult because any stain will soak into the wood fibers permanently. This means you can easily damage or ruin your hardwood floors if you go about the process incorrectly. To avoid this, speak with a hardwood flooring professional about your options. 

How To Make Your Final Choice 

Begin with three colour options, and eliminate the one you like the least. After doing that, test the remaining two colours to see how they would look in the day and at night. Next, assess how they would look against baseboards, walls, furnishings, and other items in the desired room. You might need to walk away for a couple of minutes and return in order to see the contracts. Pay close attention to which of the remaining hardwood stains makes the most impact when re-entering the room.