How To Match Wall Colors With Wood Floors

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Wondering how to match wall colors with wood floors? You aren’t alone. No doubt, hardwood floor colors come in many tones and there are endless potential wall color combinations.

The best way to match wall colors with your flooring is to paint your walls with a neutral color like white, off-white, or light gray. Most designers suggest painting walls in a color opposite to the undertone of your floors.

How to match wall color with wood flooring

So for flooring with cool tones, choose a warmer paint color for the walls like Pure White by Sherwin-Williams. And for warmer toned floors, stick to cooler wall hues on the color wheel. Cooler paint colors like Oxford White by Benjamin Moore allow for enough contrast against warm wood flooring.

As a homeowner, matching your flooring undertones and wall paint colors is the most important interior design decision you’ll likely make for your home.

This guide on how to match a wall color with wood floors makes it easy for you. Let’s start by answering a few key painting and flooring questions.

How can I tell the undertones of my hardwood floors?

Warm undertones look more red, yellow, or orange, and cool undertones look more blue and purple. A good way to determine the undertone of your hardwood floors is to place a white sheet of paper on the flooring. More often than not, undertones will be more noticeable next to pure white. Similarly, you can also do this to figure out warm tones versus cool hues in paint color swatches.

how to tell undertones wood floors

Remember, you’ll want to select a wall color that is opposite to the tone of your wood floors. In the end, this means pairing cool wall colors with warmer toned flooring or selecting warm paint hues for cooler-toned floors.

Should floors be darker or lighter than walls?

In most cases, you’ll want your floors to be darker than your wall color with a flat white ceiling. As a rule of thumb, go at least 3 shades lighter on the walls than the floors.

However, there are instances when you can add accent wall colors or paint in darker shades. Certainly, this all depends on your furniture, house decor style, and how large your rooms are.

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darker or lighter walls versus floor color

When looking at a paint fan deck, interior designers recommend choosing the lightest color on the swatch for dark wood floors. After that, you can move towards darker shades on the swatch for accent colors.

Not to mention, natural lighting plays a major role in how flooring and painted wall color schemes look in your home. Along the same lines, lighter floor and wall color combos can make a small living room look bigger and vice versa.

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Wall Colors For Light Wood Floors

Light wood floors are the most popular type of flooring in the United States. Luckily, it’s easy to match wall paint colors with lighter-toned floors. According to design experts, the best wall colors for light hardwood flooring are cooler white, neutral off-whites, and soft grays.

Avoid warm neutrals with yellow or brown pastel undertones that clash with warmer light flooring tones. These include taupe or beige paint colors that bring out yellow undertones in natural wood flooring.

wall color for light flooring

A few of our favorite wall colors for warm light wood floors include Decorator’s White By Benjamin Moore and Superwhite by Sherwin-Williams.

The advantages of natural or light wood floors include being easier to clean and better for homes with pets because it shows less dirt and hair. Not to mention, scratches are less visible than on darker wood flooring. Overall, the most common light wood floors include red oak, maple, and birch. Likewise, popular light wood stain colors include natural or a clear coat, golden oak, honey maple, and weathered oak.

What Paint Color Goes With Golden Oak Trim?

One of the most popular questions we get is what wall color goes with honey or golden oak trim or floors? We recommend a white or cooler neutral shade to offset the yellow in the honey oak trim and flooring. It’s best to avoid warm whites or orangey neutral hues when pairing with honey oak floors or trim wood tones.

Even strong wall colors like Sherwin Williams’ Naval or Pigeon by Farrow and Ball can modernize honey oak shades. Each can act as an accent color or the perfect tranquil bedroom color. No doubt, these darker neutral green, and blue paint colors coordinate naturally with golden oak flooring or trim.

What Paint Color Goes With Golden Oak Trim?

If you are still finding it hard to match wall colors to your honey oak wood, you can always paint the trim white. While popular in the 90s, honey or golden oak trim can seem outdated today.

Accordingly, painting the trim, windows, and door casings of your entire home white is a huge upgrade to any interior design palette. As a reference, the best white color for trim is Extra White from Sherwin Williams.

Next, we’ll explore some gray or cooler flooring shades and the best paint colors to match them with.

Best Paint Colors For Gray Wood Flooring

Gray wood flooring typically has cooler undertones which can make a room feel sterile or cold. To offset the colder vibes of gray floors, pick warmer leaning off-white or neutral wall colors. A few expert favorite paint colors for gray wood floors include Silky White by Behr and Swiss Coffee By Benjamin Moore.

gray wood floors wall color white

While beautiful, gray-colored flooring leans more trending than timeless given the popularity of farmhouse-style decor. Warm wall colors can extend the shelf life of trendy gray floor styles and create some contrast to the cooler gray hues in the flooring.

One thing to avoid is to match gray wall colors with gray floors. That means you should steer clear of cool greige paint colors like Repose Gray from Sherwin-Williams. These highly popular cool gray neutral colors have just enough hints of grey to clash with cooler floors.

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Wall Colors For Medium Wood Floors

Choosing wall colors for medium wood floors or rich walnut is tricky because they are darker than lighter or natural stained flooring. The best paint colors to match with medium wood flooring are dusty greens, cool blues, and neutrals or whites. An expert favorite includes Stargazer by Behr paint company.

brown medium wood color walls

Skip wall colors that are too warm, especially if your medium hardwood flooring contains warmer clay or terracotta undertones. Likewise, avoid all beige walls with warm color undertones as they don’t offer enough contrast against medium floors.

Again, your best bet is to choose light or white walls that are cooler for warm medium brown floors and vice versa. Just make sure to choose a wall color that’s lighter than your floors in smaller rooms without much natural sunlight to open up the space.

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Cherry Hardwood Floor Wall Colors

The best wall colors for cherry hardwood floors are cool white hues, lighter blue tones, and cooler grays. Even a soft, cool green like Garden Flower By Valspar acts as a complementary color to bring out the red tones of your cherry wood flooring. A deeper charcoal green like Halls of Ivy by Behr can look incredible as well. Avoid warmer wall hues that bring the warm wood tones out of your cherry or mahogany floors too much.

Likewise, Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace is a coolish white neutral paint color that contrasts nicely against red hues in flooring.

best cherry flooring neutral paint color

Again, always pair cool color walls with red or warm flooring. In the same fashion, a cooler neutral light color on the walls allows your cherry floors to be the center of attention. Similarly, light blue wall colors can nicely complement red-toned floors while offering enough contrast. Using another example, a popular gray paint color that goes with deep mahogany floors is Money Moves by Clare Paints.

Lastly, the light neutral tones we recommend for cherry floors can really open up a stuffy dining room. Rich navy wall colors like Deep Ocean by Dunn Edwards look regal in a dining room when paired with cherry-toned floors or trim. Just make sure you match and coordinate any amber wood tones in your dinner table set with your flooring.

Best Paint Colors for Dark Wood Floors

Dark hardwood floors are timeless and classic, as long as you pair them with the right wall color. The best wall paint colors for dark wood floors are crisp whites and lighter neutral shades. Our favorite pick includes Sherwin’s Agreeable Gray.

On the flip side, we recommend avoiding dark colors when matching walls and darker toned floors. Specifically, dark wall colors paired with darker flooring will close off your space. That is unless you have huge lofted ceilings and an open floor plan that gets plenty of natural light.

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dark hardwood floor-wall paint match

No question, light walls make a space look larger. Since darker wood floors are so dark, you want to make sure to choose a color that doesn’t close off your rooms. For more variety, you can add a natural olive green or a blue wall color like Behr’s Night Flight as an accent wall.

Additionally, white colors on the walls create lovely contrast in homes with darker flooring. In this scenario, you can add pops of color with cheerful throw pillows and bright accent pieces. Not to mention, you can always use a neutral throw rug to break up darker spaces.

All in all, white paint tones add a clean sophistication to any modern interior design aesthetic with darker wood floors. Especially paired with minimalist or trendy boho style furniture that creates a comfortable yet sleek space.

Flooring and Wall Paint Color FAQs

The following are some of the most frequently asked paint color and floor matching questions we get from homeowners. We hope this helps narrow down the best wall paint color choices possible for your wood flooring!

What color floor hides dog hair?

Light-colored flooring hides dog hair, dust, and dirt better than darker wood floors. They also hide scratches better than dark hardwood in addition to hiding pet hair. Overall, this means less maintenance for you and cleaner-looking floors that last longer.

Which shows scratches more, dark or light hardwood?

No question, dark hardwood tends to show the scratches more. Whether you have laminate or wood, darker shades of flooring have more contrast to lighter-toned scratches or scuffs.

A typical scratch on floors means you dig or etch into the wood. As a result, the scratch uncovers the lighter raw wood membrane of the floor. This lighter-toned layer uncovered by the scratch or gouge blends with light or natural flooring much better than darker wood floors.

What color should stair spindles be?

The best color to paint your stair spindles is a cool white that matches the trim and baseboards in a house. Avoid yellowish-toned white spindle colors or neutrals that make the railings look dirty or faded.

Your handrails or banisters should be either a darker wood stain or a wood tone that matches your floors. Likewise, stair risers should match the painted white spindles and trim of your staircase.

Other color variations include staining the spindles and handrailing to match your wood floors. Alternatively, a modern idea is to install iron or metal spindles that bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary styles in your home.

A photograph of the author Andre Kazimierski
Written by
Andre Kazimierski
Founder, Improovy
Years Painting Experience
Houses Painted
More about the author
I have been building and scaling successful home service businesses for the past 17 years. Growing up in Chicago, I saw the struggles of contractors and small business owners first-hand. Having spent most of my life in home improvement, I founded Improovy to help bring trust back to the trades.

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