Dark vs. Light Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring allows you to get the look of hardwood without all the labor and expense that's typically involved with such a project.


Light laminate flooring reflects light and energizes a room.Light laminate flooring reflects light and energizes a room.
The laminate panels or planks allow you to install them on your own, and they're typically pre-finished so you don't have to spend time and money buffing them down. Study laminate samples where you're installing the flooring to get an accurate idea of how each color looks in the space.

Your laminate floor color choice depends on how much traffic it will get and how often you're willing to clean it. Extremely light or dark colors tend to show dust and dirt sooner than mid-tone colors. Grain and pattern also contributes to how much dirt will show. A laminate color with a lighter or less visible grain can't hide dirt as well as a floor with fairly visible grain. This may be less of a problem if your floor is located in an area with little traffic, however. Darker hardwood floors also fade slower than lighter hues because they absorb more light.

Color Scheme

Study the room's color scheme to help you decide on light or dark laminate flooring. If you're looking for a formal, elegant contrast to your kitchen with all-white cabinets and countertops, darker floors add that touch, keeping a luxurious feel. Lighter wood like bamboo-colored laminate contrasts well with metal or natural-finish furnishings and can lighten up a room with darker furnishings.

Design Style

Different laminate colors give a different style to a room's design. Bamboo and beech colors give a contemporary look, as can extremely dark colors coupled with furnishings or cabinets with sleek, simple lines and reflective surfaces. Mid-tones like oak or maple give a more traditional feel, while mahogany or walnut add a formal, upscale touch. The ultimate look also depends on how contemporary, traditional or rustic the room's design, color scheme and furnishings are. For an eclectic touch, choose a laminate color that goes against some of the room's overall style, then add small decorative accents that mimic the floor's style, i.e. contemporary or traditional, for instance.


Laminate floor colors can change the entire mood of a room. Just as mahogany or walnut can make a room look luxurious, they can also warm it up, making the room seem cozy and enveloping. This may work well in a room with cool colors like white, green or blue, especially a larger room that needs a homey touch. Lighter floors can bring energy and a fresh feel to a room, especially against bold color or creamy neutral hues. Light laminate flooring also reflects light in rooms with little or no sun. Add mirrors in the room to intensify the effect.