Should you stain your hardwood floors?

To stain or not to stain? That’s the real question Shakespeare should have asked. It’s also a question he may have found exceptionally difficult to answer. On one hand staining a hardwood floor is perhaps the most effective way of completely transforming a space, on the other, it’s hard to go wrong with the timeless look of natural hardwoods. To help you make the right choice we’ve put together the best advice from the experts at Hudson Flooring. So whether you’re renovating a dining room or laying a stage worthy of Hamlet, you can make sure your choice is the right choice.


The advantages of keeping natural tones


Natural hardwood is a true classic, effortless in its ability to inject warmth into a home. Because a clear coat finish can be applied to its surface it’s great at showcasing the original grain, making it the ideal partner for more rustic looks. It’s also fantastic at reflecting light, creating a feeling of airiness and space within a home.


The choice between natural and stained tones is one that isn’t quite as simple as light versus dark. Instead, it’s more of a decision of whether you value light or contrast more. All things considered, a natural hardwood floor is the floor of choice if you want to keep things bright, breezy and simple. It works well with white walls and can be used throughout the home, creating a sense of flow unparalleled by other flooring types.


What about stained floors?


If you want to add character, a classy twist or simply make a statement in your home, staining a hardwood floor is the best way to do it. Not only do stained floors make your home look unique, they can also help define its overall style – helping to shift its look to a more contemporary one.


It’s a common preconception that floors can only be stained in a few shades, namely brown or black. In fact, there are hundreds of different tones available to play with, from super light to mahogany red. The key is to make sure that the shade you go for doesn’t look out of place with its surroundings. For this it’s important to test the stain on a piece of wood that matches your current floor. Factors such as wood grain and the underlying colour all act to subtly change the tone produced, meaning that what you see on the tin may not look like the final result.


Contrasting a dark floor with light walls is a look that has become on-trend recently, keeping a room fundamentally light whilst distancing itself from the past. Try matching the legs of furniture with that of the floor to make the room appear more put together. Alternatively using white or bleached woods in chairs and fittings creates a stylish organic look, reminiscent of a rather modern jungle. Going a step further, Japanese craftsmen have revived the tradition of using indigo dye – creating fabulous stained woods that keep the grain visible, underneath layers of deep blue.   


What should I consider?


Before jumping in with the brush there are a few things you should be aware of. Firstly most people stain their floors to get them to resemble rarer hardwoods such as mahogany. It should therefore go without saying that these woods are best left as they are, preserving the features that make them so sought after in the first place. On a similar theme, weigh up whether staining fits in with the rest of the home. Staining one room in a house full of natural hardwood floors will make it look out of place, making it important to try and match your flooring styles.


Finally, remember that staining is a long costly process, that takes a lot of effort. Once stained, wood can only be lightened by sanding away the layers – a process that can be difficult and release particles of dried stain into the surroundings. It’s therefore vital to consider how a stained hardwood floor fits into your home.


At the end of the day, the choice is entirely up to you. Whether you play it safe or take the plunge, our friendly experts at Hudson flooring would be delighted to help you create a home that truly reflects you.