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Are you looking for paint colors that go with dark wood floors? Here I’m breaking down the best wall colors that will compliment your new or existing dark hardwood floors.

While light oak floors are on trend right now, dark or medium stained hardwood floors are classic, and have a traditional vibe that’s equally appealing in its own right.

Assuming that you have hardwoods with a neutral color stain like Provincial or Dark Walnut, choosing a wall color won’t be all that difficult.

dark hardwood floors

Of course, if you have hardwoods stained with a more red or orange tinted stain, they can look more outdated, and you have to be a lot more careful and considerate when choosing the right paint colors for your walls, so as not to accentuate those tones.

For any room, it’s important to first assess the spaces around it. For example, in the living room, determine the furniture and fixtures that have to stay, and also the mood or feeling you want to create in the room. Are you set on keeping your couch, coffee table, and decor? These things will play a factor in what accompanying colors to select.

If you haven’t previously read it, my post on how to choose a color scheme for your whole house has some good advice on selecting paint colors that work in your home as a whole.

Light colors, particularly in shades of blue, create a calming effect. Whereas dark colors add drama and intrigue. Brighter colors with yellow undertones feel warm and happy. A pop of color can elevate the mood significantly. As you can see, picking a color palette that compliments your floors can hep you create that perfect look.

Interior designers often recommend light gray or white walls as an obvious choice to provide a fresh backdrop that contrasts beautifully with dark floors. A pop of color can also work wonders in enlivening a space.

Don’t Overthink The Color of Your Wood Floors

While your floors do play a large part in your overall interior design, they are not nearly as important in terms of the overall look as wall paint colors are.

Since walls are directly in front of you, and always in your line of sight, any “off” color will stick out like a sore thumb.

white bathroom with dark hardwood floors

Since floors are on the horizontal plain (i.e. on the floor), your eye is not directly drawn to them, since we usually don’t walk around with our heads hanging down.

Hardwoods are also usually softened with area rugs so in most rooms, there won’t just be a mass expanse brown.

Light or Dark Walls With Dark Hardwood Floors? That is The Question!

I love contrast. Dark hardwood floors and light walls offer a beautiful contrast and a bold statement that can really shine. I’m not saying your walls need to be white, but you don’t want them to be as dark as your floors (unless it’s an accent wall).

If you prefer darker colors, I highly suggest using a crisp white trim color to add contrast and a differentiating color between floor and walls.

Choosing Cool vs Warm Wall Colors

The best way to determine cool vs warm is to choose a paint color with undertones that matches or compliment your floors for a cohesive look.

If you have the right undertone, it doesn’t matter or how or dark the shade is – that factors more into what mood you want to create in your room, whether your want it to feel bigger or if you mind it feeling smaller (but perhaps cozier!).

dark wood floors and gray walls with a console table

Complementary colors are those that are opposite each other on the color wheel. If your hardwood floors have a cool grayish undertone, or a warm orange undertone, blue would be a good idea.

Blue is a cool color so it works with gray, but it’s opposite orange on the color wheel so it works as a complimentary color.

If your wood floors are a warm brown, then warmer wall colors would be an excellent choice. However, you can also up the contrast by pairing them with gray walls (or a different cool-toned color), which will in turn help decrease some of the warmth in the floors.

With that being said, you really don’t need to overthink wall colors as long as your floors are not glaringly orange or red toned.

Most dark hardwoods are of neutral colors and will work with a variety of paint colors, particularly when there’s pure white trim to bridge the gap between floors and walls.

Some of the best paint colors are in the greige family because of their neutral tones. Let’s discuss some of my favorites!

Taking floors out of the equation, choosing a gray paint color can be tricky because of the myriad of possible undertones. For this reason, I almost always suggest a greige paint color.

office with dark wood floors, jute rug and white furniture

These colors are grays mixed with beige, but they mostly err on the gray side with just enough warmth that they will work almost anywhere.

My two personal favorites are Sherwin Williams Repose Gray and Sherwin William Agreeable Gray, but Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter has been a popular choice in the past, too.

Other Colors Like Blues and Greens

While gray and greige paint colors continue to be the most popular, blue is a close second, especially in bedrooms and bathrooms. I love blue-gray paint colors, (again the gray!) because they are fresh and have a modern look, without being “childish” or “babyish”.

Similarly, green-gray paint colors are really fresh and can add a wonderful sense of warmth to your room.

Darker, more dramatic green paint colors have been growing in popularity recently and can really look quite stunning with paired with medium to dark toned wood floors.

Add an Area Rug

I mentioned this previously, but I think it warrants mentioning again. If you’re dealing with a large space with a whole lot of dark wood floors, don’t be afraid to lighten things up with an area rug or runner.

white kitchen with dark wood floors and a blue and white striped area rug

The rug will create a visual break from all the dark flooring, and help create a brighter room. It will also help your furniture stand alone and not blend into the wood tones of the flooring.

Don’t Forget To Always Use Real Paint Samples!

Don’t forget – no matter what you’ve read or photos you’ve seen online, it’s really important to sample paint colors in your home before committing!

Samplize provides peel and stick paint samples made with real paint, that are easy to move around your home, and cheaper than buying a gazillion paint pots! It’s the only way I buy paint samples.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found my tips helpful! As with selecting any paint color, always be sure to narrow it down to a few you love and then test them in your home!

Curious as to what paint colors are best for light wood floors? The same color theory applies!

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  1. Thank you. Your design advice for paint is most helpful to me. Been wanting to lighten / brighten my home walls for years. Want to get away from the brown neutral. Especially since I have dark wood floors in two story home. I feeling like I can change the color now.

  2. Thanks for your useful statments. However i am still undecided what to do when i have to decide which white color to use on my walls. Presently, all the walls are painted gray, which i hate, i find it boring. Because i have dark brown syntetic floors, i would like to try white but i am still undecided between BM Simply white or Chantilly Lace. I would love to have your opinion on the pros and cons of these two colours.

  3. Do you know what stain colors were used for the floors in the featured pictures? Particularly the kitchen photo with the blue stripe rug.

    1. The kitchen is painted SW Repose Gray and the living room photos are BM Stonington Gray and some are also Repose Gray