Interior Design

3 secrets to choosing the right floor colors – experts reveal the key factors to remember

Stuck on choosing the best floor colors? It's more complicated than you think

Floor color
(Image credit: Future / Jon Day)

You may be aware of the power of a floor color – but it can be hard to know where to begin when choosing one, particularly if you have more than one room to remodel at a time. 

It seems the answer to this is sought after by homeowners worldwide as, most recently, celebrated British interior designer Kelly Hoppen appeared on a British morning chat show to offer her advice on this ever-important question. 

Reminding viewers of her one timeless design tip, she explained: 'If you have a lot of light coming into your room, you would go for a much darker floor. If it's a very small room, you would go for something a lot lighter… It's all about balance and contrast.'

See: Kitchen flooring ideas – for a floor that works with the rest of your kitchen

Floor colors

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

While Kelly Hoppen's flooring tip offers us an essential base from which to kick off a color scheme, we spoke to interior design experts who built on Kelly's advice and agreed on three primary factors to remember during your next floor renovation – color, pattern, and texture. We investigate fully...

Floor colors  

Light wooden floor in a dark painted dining room

(Image credit: Future)

'Floor color is an important element to consider as this will create a cohesive layout with your existing décor scheme. It has the strength to evoke mood and alter a sense of space,' began Camilla Clarke, Creative Director of London- based interior design studio Albion Nord. Camilla continued, further highlighting Kelly's color rule. 

'When paired with light interiors, dark flooring offers a dramatic contrast, whilst also making a room appear larger and brighter.'

See: Wonderful ways to work wood flooring into your design – the patterns you need to know

Patterned carpets and rugs in a bright living room

(Image credit: Future)

Furthermore, designer Matthew Williamson, who recently collaborated with hand-tufted rug manufacturer, Obeetee, expanded on the importance of the floor color in 'setting the tone' for the rest of your room. 

'Color and pattern can be such vital elements in both our lives and our homes. They can speak to us at aesthetic and emotional levels, elevating our homes, infiltrating through the walls, the furnishings, and of course, the floor,' Matthew shared. 

'One of the best places to start when bringing color and pattern into the home is with a floor covering, setting the tone and anchoring the rest of the space. Color in all its depth and vibrancy and pattern in all its meaning inspire me endlessly.'

It's unsurprising to us that the most popular color for floors is grey, and in particular, grey wood, like that shown above. Grey flooring is the ultimate neutral – easy to co-ordinate and color scheme around, dark enough not to show the dirt, and yet pale enough to reflect light. And, of course, it's the perfect complement to grey living rooms, which have become enduringly popular.

How do I choose the right floor color?

To expand on what our interiors experts have said above, this is what to concentrate on when choosing the right floor color:

1. The mood you want to create: darker flooring, if cool-toned, creates a formal feel; dark colors in warm tones create a feeling of coziness; pale floor colors, whether will make your room feel airy, and bright, with cooler colors more formal-looking than warmer shades.

2. How much natural light you get: the lighter the floor color, the more suited it will be to a naturally dark room; if your room is flooded with light, you have the luxury of choice.

3. The room's size: The lighter the floor color, the bigger the room will look. 

4. Whether you want it to match existing flooring: if you are remodelling it's better to go for a contrast from room to room, rather than a close mismatch. For a truly cohesive feel, floor colors that run throughout an interior will also enhance the feeling of spaciousness. If you choose to add interest by varying it from room to room, pick floor color tones that complement each other.

5. Your furniture's color and finish: this can be particularly tricky when you have lots of wooden furniture in different tones and finishes atop a wooden floor. Ideally, you want the floor to be the backdrop, rather than stealing the attention from your carefully selected pieces. 

Choosing patterned flooring

Floor colors - choosing patterned flooring

(Image credit: Roger Oates)

While Matthew Williamson has already touched on the impact of patterned flooring, he continued, offering examples of furnishings that will complement your choice of patterned flooring. 

'A beautiful rug can give you a palette or a sounding board for the rest of the room. You could pick out specific colors from the weave and take them onto the walls, into the soft furnishings, and even up onto the ceiling for a dramatic look.'

'You could also experiment with pattern, pairing a patterned rug with a striking floral wallpaper or sofa. This way of injecting pattern and color into a space works in both sweeping, grand spaces, perhaps pairing a couple to draw the eye to different zones within a space, as well as in smaller rooms in the house,' he added. 

Picking textured flooring

Floor colors - Patterned carpet in living room by Brintons

(Image credit: Brintons)

The final primary category to prioritize during your next renovation is texture, or so suggests Jodie Hatton, Residential Designer at the luxury Britsh carpet company, Brintons

'In any interior scheme, neutral colors and the comforting texture of carpet brings a feeling of softness and calm. These are best suited to rooms where you spend a lot of time, such as a bedroom or living room, where relaxing is key to creating a happy space.'

See: Carpet trends 2021 – 8 stylish new looks for fabulous floors

Jodie continued: 'Decorating with neutral shades like grey also ensures that your scheme will have longevity, as a base you can bring in accessories to add on-trend elements, whilst retaining an overall scheme that will remain timeless for many years to come. For many, a neutral carpet is an investment in the design of the property, which will add and retain its value.' 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.