Two colors of wood in one house??
October 12, 2006 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Two different shades of hardwood floor?

We have light oak hardwood floors in our kitchen. Do to water damage, we have to replace the carpet in the dining and living rooms. We don't want carpet, we want hardwood floors. No problem, except for the fact that I'd like 1) a wider plank and 2) a darker stain. There is only one door between the kitchen and dining room where the two woods would touch.

People keep acting like I'm crazy, and that it won't look right to have two different colors. I don't understand why it matters - the rooms are two different colors. And now, hard wood touches carpet, and no one thinks that is odd. Am I missing something? I'm not the best at picturing things before they're done so maybe I am....
posted by dpx.mfx to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd be OK with that, as long as the two colors don't clash. A threshold between them could even be a third color to accent the boundary.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:23 AM on October 12, 2006

That's fine, and common in older homes with their many additions. The wider planks will also give the kitchen a more casual look, which will set off the formalness of the dining room.
posted by saffry at 6:53 AM on October 12, 2006

I don't think you're crazy necessarily, but it will affect resale value of your house. People like cohesive, flowing floorplans and decor. Two different colors and styles of flooring make me wonder what else in the house has been changed after the fact and may not be up to par... I wouldn't do it.
posted by orangemiles at 7:17 AM on October 12, 2006

It depends on how formal your decorating style is, and how different the color is going to be. I really don't see why it would be a problem, as long as the floor remains level over the seam. It's no different than having the carpet color change from one room to the next.

How visible is the kitchen floor from the dining/living area? If it's just the one doorway (how wide?), it shouldn't even affect the visual flow.
posted by jlkr at 7:21 AM on October 12, 2006

If you didn't do a wider plank, you could feather the new floor into the old. That might mute the difference in stains.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:21 AM on October 12, 2006

Some sort of threshold as a transition is your best bet.

If you wanted to change woods in an open area, like a living-to-dining room transition, it could look suspiciously odd. But between a kitchen and dining room seperated by a door? No real weirdness there.
posted by desuetude at 7:41 AM on October 12, 2006

Yeah, a lot depends on what's happening at the threshold - sliding double doors, just an opening, etc. I don't suppose there's like a foyer between the kitchen and the dining room, right? Anyway, you could consider making a nice border around the D-room to further "give the floor its own space," rather than just abut two differnt woods next to each other. The more deliberate you make it, the better. I agree with orangemiles that it will affect the resale value, but not prohibitively. Is there any way you'd consider re-flooring the kitchen? This would be an ideal time.

Also, regardless of what you decide: just in case of future water damage, make sure you buy 5% of your floor area for "attic stock". You can "stitch" that in if nec'y.
posted by DenOfSizer at 7:55 AM on October 12, 2006

I don't think your crazy, most people won't even notice. If I wanted to get fancy I'd install a medallion inside a square border as a transition between the two different floors.
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 AM on October 12, 2006

Yes, create a nice transition area at the doorway by running a few boards at 90 degrees to the main run. We have bigger, more "rustic" boards in our kitchen, compared with the rest of the house, and it looks great! Most people tile the kitchen anyway, which I point out because people expect the kitchen floor to be different from the other floors. I say go for it! The doorway will be your friend here.
posted by Mister_A at 7:56 AM on October 12, 2006

Thanks for all the advice!

The living room and dining room run the entire width of the house, and really are just one big room with actual doors between them (glass pannel doors that swing into the living room. We never close them).

The hallway touches both the kitchen and living room, and its tiled. We're not doing anything to that.

So really the only place that the two woods touch is in one small doorway (no door, just the opening) between the dining and kitchen. You see very little of either room if you're in the other.

We'd like to do the kitchen eventually, too - we'd have the whole floor pulled up and redone with the wider, darker wood. But then I'll want new cabniets, and then we'll need new countertops, and then .... you see? We're having them laid and stained, and our floor guy says that means if we decide to do the kitchen at a later date we can match pretty closely.

I guess if we decide it looks awful we can always drop the extra cash to have the kitchen done later. Owning a house is hard work! Ugh.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:14 AM on October 12, 2006

I would just pay to have the kitchen refinished because I do think it would clash unappealingly. (Of course, I'm saying this while visualizing with my own home's floorplan.)

Refinishing wood floors is surprisingly affordable--I paid this summer about $3500 to have two whole floors refinished, plus a staircase. Based on my experience, I think you can expect to pay about $2-3 a square foot to refinish.

Are you planning on doing a dark chocolate stain or more of a cherry color? I know the chocolate stain has been very trendy for the last few years, and for that reason alone, I'd probably avoid it. That's just me though.

One final thought about the benefit of refinishing now--you will be able to get a decent (I would think) color match. Waiting until later to do the kitchen, your living/dining room areas will fade with wear, so the difference between the rooms will be more noticeable.

I don't know if the difference between wideplank and regular plank floors would be so great. I do think the different colorations would be very noticeable though.
posted by Sully6 at 8:30 AM on October 12, 2006

We have a different color flooring in our dining room than the wood flooring in the "back foyer" as we say. In our case, though, the back foyer has a lighter floor with dark inlay. Due to sun streaming in on the wood floor for years before we bought the house, the lighter color is completely changed from its original state and is un-matchable unless you do custom - which we couldn't afford. We were able to match the dark inlay though, so we matched it and floored the addition with the darker wood. It looks really good and we get tons of compliments. So it can be done - you just have to find a segue.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:17 AM on October 12, 2006

This is more common than you know in older houses. Our 1914 Craftsman bungalow has red oak floors everywhere but the kitchen. The kitchen is maple. No matter what stain we use, even if we stain the whole thing the same color, those two different woods will show up as two different colors.

A threshold used to separate these two rooms and we will probably put in back at some point. Right now, the boards just touch at the ends. I would love to put a board or two perpendicular to the other boards as a transition (we did this when we had some wood replaced upstairs. I think it looks cool. You can see it close to the bottom of our closets.)
posted by jeanmari at 9:30 AM on October 12, 2006

« Older New laptop for an Internet novice   |   Best traffic solution for a bad intersection? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.