My wife and I are trying to pick out a stain color for our new hardwood floor, and we just can’t seem to agree. I’d like to pick a color that matches our cabinets, but my wife would like to pick a color that compliments some of our other design choices. What do you think?
-John in Omaha
When considering the use of hardwood flooring, it is important to consider the other finishes in the home that will surround the hardwood. Some of these finishes include: base board, chair rail, crown molding, window coverings, cabinets, furniture and more. Often, people tend to think that all of the other wood finishes in the home need to have exact matching hardwood species and stain finish colors.
Think of when you go into your closet and look at a collection of sweaters or pants that are all the same color, black for example. It is virtually impossible for all blacks to be the exact same shade. This is the same with hardwood. Even if you chose the same species of hardwood for your floors and the exact same species and stain for the molding, cabinets or doors in your home it would be virtually impossible for those woods to match. It is impossible to match because of different elements such as the area that the hardwood is grown, the conditions it is grown in, the species and type of stain as well as other variables.
Again, even if you could get everything to match, from a design standpoint, you don’t want all of the woods in your home to match; you want them to coordinate or blend, but not to match exactly. If you could get everything to match, it would look like you went to the wood store and picked everything in your home off the same shelf. That’s no fun! A home looks more balanced and well planned if each different type of wood blends rather than matches. When everything matches, it takes away from the natural beauty of the product as well as its natural characteristics.
Taking it one step further than floors, molding, cabinets and doors coordinating the same “rules” apply to furniture and accessories. It is perfectly acceptable to have a stained cherry piece of furniture in the same room with stained oak floors and doors. It is also perfectly acceptable to have more than one stained species or color of furniture in the same room as a different stained floor or molding.
This advice does not mean that you should mix oak trim with cherry doors with maple cabinets just so that everything does not match – it means that it is ok and expected for all wood finishes in a home not to match exactly.
Be creative, but most importantly, have your expectations set to where you understand that even the same species of hardwood stained the same color will not match exactly.