Underfoot Dilemma

With the closing on our new house looming in the not-too-distant future, it’s time to make some decisions.  First up: FLOORING. Underneath all that carpet in our new home lies beautiful oak floors, so our plan is to rip out the carpet, and get the floors refinished and all dolled up before we move in.   See those floors peeking out in our master closet?

And all uncovered in our walk-in cedar closet . . .

Well, there’s no sense moving all of our stuff in only to get it covered in sawdust and have it be in the way throughout the process, right?  Right.  And since that ‘s the number one project on our list (besides fixing the garage wall and patio which we mentioned here), it means I have to decide what I want (the Mr. has graciously left all home decor decisions to yours truly) . . . oh, and I have to try to not get paralyzed by indecision in the process.  So here goes: do I go with . . .

White and bright . . .

Image from Pinterest.

Dark and moody . . .

Image from Pinterest.

au Naturel . . .

Image from Pinterest.

or Wacky and wild . . .

Image from Pinterest.

I’m already becoming crippled by indecision.  I can feel. it. creeping. up. on. me.  ACK!!  There are just TOO MANY choices.

So how do I decide?  I’m not sure.  But, lately I’ve been hooked on watching Sarah Richardson on HGTV (she has quite a few shows: Sarah 101, Design Inc., and Sarah’s House to name a few) and she made the point that it’s best to go with a neutral choice when refinishing hardwoods–that way you don’t end up going with the current trends (which seem to be both really dark and really light; basically everything except au naturel seems to be on trend), but instead stay safely in the middle with a timeless look that will outlast the current design mags.  But do I want to stay safe?!  I don’t know!!!!!!  The Mr. definitely votes for safe, plus he just likes the  more traditional look of lighter wood floors.

What to do, what to do . . . hmm.  Well, luckily, with our exhaustive house hunt, we did manage to see almost the whole gamut of styles (minus the wacky and wild).  Want to see a for instance?  Well, here you go . . . For instance (hah!), this house was going to be our runner-up if for some reason our offer wasn’t accepted on the Holy House.

Isn’t it just darling?  I loved how bright and airy it felt–the owner was definitely a minimalist and almost everything was done in a shade of white or pale blue, and that included the floors.  He’d refinished the oak floors in a white wash treatment . . .

Pretty, right?  But I think it would almost be too beachy for us.  And let’s face it, as much as I’d like to dream, Buffalo is most definitely NOT the beach.

So then there’s the au naturel look, which we saw in some homes, although not many (Buffalo seems to be the land of carpet–good for the Mr.’s business, but not so much in my wheelhouse) . . .

(Those are from two different homes btw.)

And then, of course, the dark hardwood option which we came across in only one home along our hunt . . .

But, of course, since dark hardwood floors are all the rage at the moment, there are countless images meandering around the Internet (can images meander?) . . . just check out this one of newly refinished hardwood floors in Dark Walnut stain (almost the same as the American Walnut stain I used on the dresser):

So what am I leaning towards?  Well, I initially was all about refinishing the floors in a dark stain, maybe even one of these (isn’t it nice when other bloggers do the work for you?):

But, after listening to Sarah Richardson’s advice, and my sister’s advice (she has dark hardwoods in part of her house and noted that they don’t fair so well with hiding dirt, pet hair, or children droppings (like Cheerios–not the other kind, jeez–her floors aren’t toilets for crying out loud!)), I’m leaning a bit more towards au naturel.  Plus, with the massive chocolate-brown sectional we have, dark hardwoods might be overkill?  It might make the whole space seem really dark?

To better help me visualize, I found a pretty outstanding flooring tool on Armstrong Flooring’s site, called Design-a-Room.  It lets you pick the room (I chose Living Room), the style (none of them really matched my style, but for purposes of this, I chose Contemporary), the wall color (you can pick almost any color from Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore), and then the flooring (here’s where it became somewhat daunting since there are SOOOOOO many choices).  Here are the images from the Design-a-Room tool, from lightest to darkest (all in oak):

Okay, so now it’s your turn to decide.  Take this poll and tell me what you think.  Of course, I’m not promising that this is a democracy and the winning choice will be what we go with, but you should still vote (I think we all know that this is a monocracy, but don’t let that make you think your opinions aren’t worth anything . . . because they are–really, they are 😉 ).  And also because I like seeing how many people make it to reading the very end of my posts (judging from your reactions to yesterday’s post, there are clearly quite a few of you that don’t).



  1. Yep, of course I like the dark wood best… BUT I’m telling you again (I’m so glad you listened the first time!) that it’s a bit of a nightmare. HOWEVER, a stain on the red side of dark isn’t so bad… Now, if you never intend on owning a goat of your own, or small cheerio-eating, poop dropping (haha) children, go with dark 😉 NOW, have you considered a gray wash?? Perhaps less beachy and more contemporary?? I think a deep gray could be cool (no pun intended)… unless you pair it with the brown sofa… uuug, never mind. Oh sis, I’m no help here. I will end with the strange fact that the white (stark-white) floors you pictured will look cleaner than the dark… until your company drags that chair across the room with the tiny nail sticking out of the leg and… gulp. Ok, ok, final vote: a lighter shade of chocolate on sanded, original floors. Phew! (ps try to expose AS MUCH of the grain as you can to mask any droppings hehe)

  2. Before it was a trend (I actually didn’t know it was a trend until reading this today! I’m so current…), we put a darker bamboo (“wood”) flooring down in our living room and L-O-V-E-D it. I don’t think you’d regret it if you went that direction (it’s just a darker neutral to me), but I think the neutrals are still a solid classic that you don’t have to regret nor worry about decorating “around”. Good luck!

  3. We went with a cherry finish on ours. Our wood floors, while not in the kitchen, bump up against them and we have cherry cabinets. We thought that complimenting the cabinets would look nice and also tie the space together. I am constantly plagued by dog hair and dirt, but I think our color choice hides them fairly well. The biggest challenge is the clash with other furniture. Fortunately, we had several pieces already finished in the same general family. We painted a few pieces black and bought several that were black or had an espresso finish.

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