The Best Hardwood and Wall Color Combinations

January 24, 2024
Living room with a brown couch


Hardwood floors offer convenience, durability and versatility, suiting styles from classic to modern. When you choose hardwood flooring, you gain warmth and texture throughout your home, whether you use it in your living room, dining room or bedrooms. To highlight your wood floors and bring out their beauty, your wall colors should complement the natural tones and shades.

Entrust experts from Shoreline Painting to choose the perfect colors for your home painting project. We can direct you to gorgeous paint colors that go with various flooring styles to enhance your home’s aesthetic.

Discover tips on the best floor and wall color combinations for your rooms below. Browse ideas from four categories of wood stains — light, cherry, dark and oak hardwood flooring, along with trendy wall colors that will make your home pop.

How to Match Wall Paint Color With Your Wood Floor

Your hardwood floor and wall colors reflect the style you wish to convey, so you’ll want to choose the best combinations. At Shoreline Painting, we understand the secret to choosing the right paint colors to complement wood floors, and it all comes down to undertone color contrasting. In other words, it’s essential to pair your wood flooring’s undertones with the opposite side of the temperature spectrum is essential. If you have yet to install hardwood, choose the best contrasting wood undertone to complement your wall colors.

Wood comes in just as many undertones as paint options — making it easy to combine your colors and create an inviting space:

  • Cool wood undertones: Cool wood undertones include green, blue and pink. For cool wood undertones, paint the walls yellow or red since they’re warm colors. Choose your wall shades carefully to avoid blue or green, cool colors.
  • Warm wood undertones: Warm wood undertones include red, yellow and orange. For warm undertones, opt for blue and green paint tones. You’ll likely want to avoid too much tan and cream because it won’t do anything to bring out your floor’s undertones and could appear too warm.
  • Neutral wood undertones: Neutral wood undertones include gray, beige and taupe. Neutral hardwood flooring is more versatile, so you have more freedom to choose warm or cool paint colors for contrast.

By choosing contrasting colors, rooms feel more balanced and comfortable. Stray from choosing paints with similar undertones as your wood floors since they can make your space look too cohesive. If you’d like your colors to be equal, choose subtle wall color shades that are easy on the eye. With the right color combination, your home will be the perfect oasis for comfort and style.

How Do You Determine Wood Color Undertones?

To determine your hardwood’s undertones, place a few pieces of it together to get an idea of what the wood will look like once it’s installed. Is it warm and golden? Cool, gray or ashy? The answer will help you decide on your wall color. The flooring manufacturer may offer details on your flooring’s undertones if you purchased new flooring.

When you need extra help, consult with Shoreline Painting — we can help you decide on the perfect colors for your rooms without you needing to lift a finger.

Paint Color Combinations for Light Wood Floors

Light hardwood floors are popular, especially with the growing farmhouse-style trend. If you have concerns about a dark-colored floor making your room appear too somber, you can keep the floor light in tone to make the atmosphere bright. There are also plenty of paint colors that go with light wood so you can craft the perfect look for your walls and space.

Contrast With a Saturated Tone

Your light hardwoods serve as the perfect companion to saturated, bold hues. For instance, light gray hardwoods would look stunning next to a burnt orange or coral wall.

Choose Brilliant Jewel Tones

Jewel tones are any color you would associate with precious gemstones, such as sapphire, emerald, amethyst and ruby:

  • Blue: A crisp dark blue would contrast nicely against your light hardwoods, and both design elements would pop next to one another. Blues and their gentle undertones always usher in a soothing, calm feeling, while a bold sapphire adds personality.
  • Green: Green is the contrasting color to red, so emerald is the natural choice to complement light flooring that has warm undertones. Or pair emerald with a neutral white hardwood to create an ideal balance between light and dark.
  • Plum: Plum is another excellent color that pairs well with gray- and beige-colored hardwood. And since purples can have red undertones, plum paints will add warmth to your space.
  • Red: If your hardwood has cool or neutral undertones, you can warm up your home with a rich ruby wall color. You can also err on the cooler side with an on-trend, deep-berry paint shade.

Stay Safe With Neutral Tones

If saturated or jewel tones are too bold for your home, you can always complement your light hardwood floors with a neutral wall. Be sure to select a neutral tone that matches the hue of your floor. For instance:

  • Beige: For light hardwood floors with cooler tones like gray, go with beige. Beige tones create a warm, inviting environment, and they also keep the room balanced if you have colorful decor or furniture.
  • Soft black: You may put your defenses up when you think of a black wall, but a soft black creates an exciting contrast against light hardwood flooring, giving your room a modern touch.
  • Gray: If your floors have warmer, yellow undertones, you can’t go wrong with gray walls. Choose a gray with blue-green hues to give your room an earthy style and stand out from the warm tones of your light hardwood flooring.

How to Choose Wall Color Combinations for Cherry Hardwood

How to Choose Wall Colors for Cherry Hardwood

Cherry hardwood is stunning, rich and inviting. Ensure the color you choose for the walls is equally as beautiful. Several paint colors go with cherry wood, whether it’s on your trim or just your floors.

Go Green for a Beautiful Contrast

Many green tones would look attractive in a room with cherry hardwood, such as:

  • Sage: In sage’s case, its softness lets the cherry hardwood shine and be the focal point of your room. Soft green colors have been on trend for their calming effects that suit modern and classic styles.
  • Forest: You could try a darker green if you prefer a more vibrant but less contrasting look, such as forest. The cool, almost gray color plays well with cherry wood’s bold, rich hue.

Be careful when selecting your paint color — you do not want to venture into green shades with a yellow undertone, such as olive, which can clash with the warmth of your cherry hardwood flooring.

Choose a Cool Blue Shade for a Peaceful Space

Blue is a popular color for walls in modern homes, and you can certainly pair it with a cherry hardwood floor. Examples include:

  • Robin’s egg blue: Soft blue paint colors complement a cherry hardwood floor very well, creating a peaceful and inviting space. Light colors provide the perfect contrast for cherry, letting the red-hued planks stand out. Consider this combination for a bedroom, dining room or family room.
  • Dark navy blue: A dark blue complements the dark colors in your cherry hardwood while providing just enough of a contrast.
  • Cerulean blue: For a pop of color and personality, choose a rich cerulean blue. This color often features green undertones, letting it contrast nicely with cherry hardwood.
  • Pale blue: A serene, light blue that borders on gray is a timeless option to complement cherry floors. Pale, almost neutral blues are especially ideal if your goal is to make your home a retreat where you and your family can unwind at the end of the day.

Keep It Simple With Neutral Colors

Each neutral color has a multitude of tones and shades. Here are some neutral colors and their variations:

  • Whites: Of course, you can go for a classic pure white paint that provides a canvas for any style or theme you have in your home. You could also soften the room by choosing cream or eggshell white. White walls and trims are versatile, allowing you to get creative with your art and other decor.
  • Grays: Although white is a safe choice, gray can make any room look slightly more modern. If you’re going for a sleek, modern look in your home with cherry hardwood flooring, go for gray walls. There are many variations of gray, so you can select one that makes your furniture and decor stand out.
  • Browns: We can’t exclude brown from the list when pairing neutral colors with cherry wood floors. Brown offers many options, including beige, mocha brown and cool brown. One thing to keep in mind when considering brown is to steer away from warm browns, like chestnut or sienna, since they are too similar to cherry.

Color Combinations to Consider With Dark Hardwood Floors

Dark hardwood floors are popular because they don’t show every speck of dirt, and they have a premium, classic look, which many people appreciate. Dark hardwood floors are an excellent choice if you want to decorate a large room or if your home has an open floor plan. Once dark flooring is installed, it can make a space look smaller and cozier.

Before installing dark hardwood in your home, consider the light sources in the space. Does the room or area get plenty of natural light? If not, do you have overhead lights in place? If there is not a lot of natural light, ensure sufficient lighting in the space from overhead lights and lamps — otherwise, the dark hardwood will appear too dark.

Below are a few tips for choosing the best paint colors for dark floors.

Look at the Undertones in the Stain

When selecting wall paint colors for dark wood floors, you will want to consider the undertones in the stain used to finish the floor. If your floor is black or almost black — with neutral undertones — you have an exquisite foundation from which to work when picking out your wall paint color.

Keep It Light and Neutral

Keep your walls and trim light and neutral in tone. You’ll want your wall and trim to be the same color for maximum effect. For your trim, choose a semi-gloss or a high-gloss finish so that it will stand up to the punishment that occurs in corners and areas near door jams.

Paint It Off-White

White looks clean and neat on painted walls. If stark white looks too clinical for your taste, tone it down slightly with an off-white shade. These colors are softer than plain white, but they still work very well with the light hardwoods to keep the room’s entire look clean and bright.

To take the off-white look further, choose pale peach. It’s a rising trend that offers a cozy, warm feel ideal for living spaces and bedrooms. This warm color contrasts well with cool or neutral wood undertones.

Go With Gray

Go With Gray

If off-white is too light for your taste, remember that gray is also a neutral color. Choose the exact shade for your room carefully while considering whether you want a gray with undertones or without. Popular gray paint undertones include:

  • Blue
  • Pink
  • Mauve
  • Green
  • Yellow

To determine a gray’s undertone, compare it to the back of a color chip. When you look at the shade against something white, you can see the undertone more clearly than if you look at the color itself.

Different undertone shades will bring out a completely different vibe — a cooler gray with blue or green influences creates a relaxing atmosphere. Warm, yellow undertones alongside dark hardwood floors make an open and inviting space, perfect for living rooms or kitchens.

Choose Cool Blues and Greens

If you prefer more color on the walls, you have many options. Black is neutral, so you can pair virtually any color with it. Consider cool blues and greens for wall colors, being mindful of the size of the space. A dark shade on the wall with a dark floor tends to close in the room.

Branch out Into Greige

It’s a little bit of gray and a little bit of beige, which works exceptionally well alongside your dark hardwood floors. If you’re looking to select a wall color you can paint in every room where you lay your new flooring, you might want to put greige on the shortlist. It creates the perfect backdrop for a slew of different styles, and having a single color in every room will tie everything together perfectly.

The Best Wall Color Combinations for Oak Floors

Oak hardwood floors are a beautiful choice in flooring, and they give you several options when it comes to wall colors. We always consider whether you have white or red oak before selecting a paint color for your project.

Wall Colors for Red Oak Floors

When you’re searching for the perfect color to pair well with red oak floors, choose dark, cool blue and green tones to enhance the warm tones of red oak flooring. Consider colors and shades such as:

  • Aquamarines
  • Dark blues
  • Dark greens
  • Pastel green and blue

Wall Colors for White Oak Floors

White oak flooring can look bleached and rustic, depending on its finish. It provides a simple backdrop for wall colors and allows us to create a refined, classic and beautiful space. For instance, a rich charcoal to match the wall color to the wood creates a luxurious and formal look for an elegant dining room.

Choose your favorite shade to give the room some interest and make sure the walls aren’t too light, which can whitewash the room.

Earthy Colors Work for Both White Oak and Red Oak

Many people select oak for its rich, all-natural color. You can complement the rustic feel of any variety of oak with an equally earthy paint color. Consider light and earthy hues to enhance the natural look of your oak. Everything from a gray to a lush green would bring out the grains and gorgeousness in your oak planks.

Rich and light colors that complement the richness of oak in any shade include:

  • Navy
  • Cinnamon
  • Plum
  • Forest green

The light-colored flooring will help to keep the space from looking too dark, while the exciting cool colors create a beautiful contrast to your natural oak.

Request a Consultation From Shoreline Painting

Are you thinking of painting your walls to complement new or existing hardwood floors? Choose Shoreline Painting to help you transform your home! We are a family-owned business that’s been painting homes for over 35 years. You’ll want beautiful colors that match the durability and attractiveness of your hardwood, and Shoreline Painting is excited to make your dream aesthetic a reality.

Shoreline Painting is a Fine Paints of Europe Master Certified Painter. We use only the highest quality paints and materials to make every part of your home look elegant and luxurious. We also provide exterior house painting to make your entire home shine and enhance your curb appeal.

If you live in either New York or Connecticut, call Shoreline Painting to request a consultation.

Request a Consultation From Shoreline Painting

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