Why we chose light wood floors

One of the first things we chose with this reno was how we would finish the wood floors.  A lot of y’all have asked about the floors you’ve seen in pictures and what we chose.

We went with very dark floors in our last house.


I did love the contrast of the dark wood with all of the white walls.  And I know dark floors are really popular.

But y’all, I would never do it again.

I talked about our experience with it here.  But the gist of our experience was two-fold.  First of all, the dark stain shows every little scratch and every morsel of dust.  We had light floors in our first house (before the dark) and the floors never looked dirty or scratched, though I KNOW they were.  These dark floors show everything.  And with a 115lb. Great Dane, we need durability and scratches masked.

We also were told to go with a “more-durable” water-based finish on the last floors because it would be harder and help prevent scratches.  To say we hated that is an understatement.  It actually seemed to scratch more!  For example, we put painter’s tape down on it at one point and when we pulled it up, the entire strip of finish came off!  And it was dull-looking and hence, always looked dirty.

ANYWAY.  That is why we’ve known long before our house sold that the next house would have lighter floors.


Doing the kind of reno we did can be tricky when it comes to the floors.  As most of y’all know, we added on 1,000 square feet to a 700 square foot bungalow.  There were great original hardwoods in the existing part of the house, but when you’re doing so much new construction, you want them to match as best as you can.

To match the existing wood, we laid 2 1/4″ white oak boards.  We knew we wanted LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT and so we went with just a clear, natural stain.  We didn’t add any color to the boards.

One issue with going so light is that the older boards are naturally going to be darker because of time and age.  If you look closely below, you can see right past the foyer where the wood changes slightly.  That’s new wood.  The dining area was in the existing house, but the wood was damaged in that room badly and had to be replaced.


This was something we really weighed because we wanted them to match as good as possible, but we also wanted light floors to camouflage scratches and dirt and dust.  We could’ve gone with a medium tone wood to help camouflage, but scratches and dust would’ve been more visible for sure.  As soon as you stain wood any color other than natural, scratches are going to show up against it.  In the end, light won out.

We both love the old floors so much.  When you’re living in the house day in and day out, the difference isn’t as apparent.  Plus the new floors will darken and change over time as the old floors did.

But the old floors in the foyer here have age.  They have nail holes and give us that rustic touch we love.


What we love most about choosing the natural stain is that you can really see dimension and a variation in color in the boards.


And already, we are so happy with the durability of them.  While we did sod most of the backyard to minimize mud being tracked in, there is still plenty of mud and with all this rain SC is having, Gracie tracks it in almost every day.  We have already scratched these and you can hardly even tell!

We went with the normal oil-based topcoat and so far, it seems more durable than our last.  It has only been two months though πŸ™‚

If you want to read more about the rooms featured above, you can find our entry progress here and our kitchen progress here.


And don’t forget about the Blogger Stylin’ Home Tours Thanksgiving series this week! 


You can find the start of the tour with all of the participating bloggers’ links here.

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We just did dark laminate floors in our kitchen reno. Now we want to pull out all the carpet on the main floor and do the same. However, same problem as you. We have 3 pugs and also do fostering for a rescue and you can see the hair everywhere. I would love to go lighter in the rest of the house but we’d have to re-do the kitchen to match. Wish I would have thought it through the first time.

Aww I’m sorry to hear that, Mary! We really thought that dark would camouflage everything in the last house, but were so sad to realize it just accentuated it. Do you have rugs? They help πŸ™‚

I’m always dreaming up ideas for when we build our home, and wood floor colors always has me stuck. I love the look of dark hard wood but anytime I see beautiful light floors like yours I change my mind! I never thought about how much scratches show on dark versus light. Thanks for the insight! Your entryway is looking great πŸ™‚ That grey paint color is beautiful.


We have light Hickory floors & I love them. They never show dust or scratches.
I don’t know if I could ever do anything else.

You made a good choice. I actually enjoyed our light oak floors for maintenance b/c we had twin little boys and a golden retriever that, at times, could really beat it up. Dark wood in our last house was high maintenance and never looked clean.
Thanks for your honest input – it’s trendy to go dark but…there is a consequence.

Have a fun weekend!

Your floors are beautiful. Do you mind sharing what type of topcoat you used this time around? I also had a bad experience with a poor topcoat in my last home. We are getting ready to refinish our floors now and I need DURABILITY!

Yay for lighter floors! I know that dark floors are really in right now but you are right, they show everything! We have two great danes and they are very hard on the floors. Are current ones came pre-stained a bit too orange for my liking but I am hoping they will fade in time. Then when we replace the wall-to-wall carpeting in some areas of the house, we will probably refinish them. Aren’t danes the best!

Annie- All Things Big And Small

Great choice Lindsay. They look beautiful. Oil based is always tougher and cures much harder than water. When we had our original floors refinished before we moved in i really really really wanted light wood and prefered the natural white oak boards just polyd but Naomi wanted them super dark. We compromised with Early American. Callie makes me wish id pushed harder for the light wood. Maybe when we do our addition ill strip them and go with the light throughout including the add on

I know, Shavonda, I so wish we hadn’t let that guy talk us into water in the last house! But oh well, we learned from it! We are loving the light!!! I still adore the look of darker floors, but it would be tough with gracie…plus these look clean even when I knooooooow they’re not πŸ™‚ Love yours too though! They are beautiful πŸ™‚

Hi Lindsay, I am currently working on a blog post about spool tables and how we can use them in DΓ©cor. Was wondering if you would let me use your gorgeous spool table pic with a link back to you naturally??? Christine from Little Brags