Dark vs. Light Laminate Flooring – Which Is Better?

Whether we’re building a dream house from the ground up or renovating our current homes, laminate flooring is durable, more eco-friendly, and affordable. That begs the question of which is better: dark or light laminate flooring? It will depend on the room and your personal preferences, but here are some guidelines to start making that decision.

Dark or light laminate flooring can work in a room. Light laminate floors open up the room, giving it a more modern, clean finish, although light floor colors fade more quickly. Dark laminate flooring looks newer for longer and provides a sophisticated, timeless look, although it shows dust easily.

Changing out the flooring can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s important to take your time when making this decision. Here are a few points to consider when it comes to laminate flooring! 

An image of a Laminate wood floor and hammer tool for flooring.

How to Know if Dark or Light Laminate Flooring Is Best for Your Home

While a dark color provides a sophisticated yet cozy finish, it requires a larger space and adequate lighting. Lighter flooring options allow for more color and variety for the rest of the room design. In terms of durability, lighter colors do tend to fade faster. 

There are many options for flooring for a home: tiles, carpet, vinyl, hardwood, or even stone. Laminate flooring stands out for its various colors and styles, durability, and ease of installation.

Not to mention, laminate flooring can give a fabulous look without the hefty price tag that comes with hardwood flooring. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of dark and light laminate flooring.

Pros and cons of dark laminate flooring

Dark laminate flooring is a perfect choice for a classic, sophisticated look. Darker laminate flooring also tends to bare a greater resemblance to real hardwood flooring at a fraction of the cost. Given that it is a more popular choice, dark laminate flooring can up the resale value of a home. 

Despite the financial benefits, dark laminate flooring can also have several negatives. One obvious downside to dark flooring is that it can make a room appear much smaller.

Along with this, darker flooring requires a greater amount of natural lighting in the room. This means it may not be ideal for smaller spaces or areas of the home that do not have access to lots of light. 

There’s so much to think about, so the key pros and cons of dark laminate flooring are tabulated below. 

Provides color contrast in brightly colored spacesRequires a larger space and adequate lighting
Sophisticated, yet cozy finish Dust and dirt are more easily visible
Adds to the home’s resale valueCan pull focus from other décor elements
Table 1. Pros and cons of dark laminate flooring.

Pros and cons of light laminate flooring

The obvious upside to light laminate flooring is that it makes the space appear bigger. With light laminate flooring, a room is almost guaranteed to look spacious and airy.

Lighter colors are also the perfect canvas for the rest of the room’s décor to stand out. From classic to contemporary, light laminate floors are known to suit a number of décor styles while still being easy to maintain regularly. 

Light laminate flooring has a few downsides: the color tends to fade faster compared to dark laminate flooring. A smaller drawback is that lighter laminate floors can wash out the room.

Of course, this depends on the rest of the room’s décor, and there are many instances where a light-colored room looks amazing!

With so much to consider, the key pros and cons to light laminate flooring are tabulated below. 

It gives the impression of a larger spaceLighter-colored flooring fades faster
Allows the rest of the room décor to stand outCan wash out a room when paired with lighter room décor
Easy to maintain and complements a myriad of décor stylesGaps and imperfections in the grain may be more noticeable
Table 2. Pros and cons of light laminate flooring.
An image of Laminate floor planks crossed renovation concept.

What Color of Laminate Flooring Is Most Popular?

Lighter floors are hot right now, with grey, white, and creamy oaks being the most popular choices. Along with light floor colors, more natural-looking designs will be in style in 2023. Natural-looking designs also tend to have more staying power, as they are classic. 

Light laminate flooring brings many advantages to a space, one being that lighter woods are very popular. Lighter colors are preferred for a more modern and airier look, particularly in smaller spaces.

Natural patterns, like natural oak patterns, are also popular laminate flooring options. 

Are Dark Floors Out of Style in 2023?

While dark floors are not the trendiest in 2023, they are still stylish and have a classic look. Dark floors will come back into fashion in due time, so do not be afraid of dark wood flooring if it suits the space and personal design aesthetics. 

While it’s true that lighter floors are trendy right now, darker laminate flooring can still be stylish. This is especially true if it suits the overall theme and décor of the room.

For example, rooms with a vintage style may suit darker wood flooring. It’s important to remember that home décor trends come and go, and floors can be an expensive investment. 

What Color Laminate Flooring Shows the Least Amount of Dirt?

Lighter-colored laminate flooring shows the least amount of dirt. Darker colors such as cherry, mahogany, or walnut display dirt, dust, and general debris much faster than lighter-colored woods. However, this can be dependent on a number of factors.

If hiding dirt is a major concern, the room’s general use and foot traffic should be considered. If the room is a high-traffic area, for example, in a hallway or kitchen, there may be more mud stains and spills to consider on top of the everyday dust. 

Darker-colored floors tend to look much dustier. Lighter-colored laminate flooring is great at hiding everyday dust, making it an excellent choice for those who may not have time to sweep daily. Lighter colors such as oak, white or light grey conceal hair from light-haired furry friends. 

Of course, while they may easily hide dust, light wood floors do have their drawbacks. For example, furniture’s mud stains and black scuff marks will be visible on light wood floors. Darker floors may be more forgiving to these stains, especially stubborn ones.

Do Dark or Light Floors Make a Room Look Bigger?

Light floors make a room look bigger, reflecting more light back into the space. Choosing lighter flooring makes the most of natural lighting and gives the room a more airy feel. Darker colors tend to absorb light, making a room look smaller. 

Flooring can make a big difference in making a room look bigger or smaller than it is. The general rule is that lighter floors can make a room look bigger, while darker floors make a room appear smaller. 

This isn’t to say that only light colors can make a room feel spacious. Dark colors can also make a room feel big with the right wall paint and furnishings. Cooler-toned wall paints, lighter furniture, and plenty of natural light can help make a space feel bigger. 

An image of a Newly Installed Brown Laminate Flooring Abstract.

Next Steps: Dark vs. Light Laminate Flooring

Ultimately, the best shade of laminate flooring is the one that suits the room the best. The main factors to consider when finalizing a floor color are the overall style, the space, the size of the space, the amount of natural lighting available, and the purpose and practicality of the room. 

Bold dark flooring exudes richness and a timeless finish that will raise a property’s resale value. The main downside of dark flooring is that it isn’t suited to smaller spaces and can make rooms feel cramped. 

Lighter colors are the right choice if the space is on the smaller side or needs brightening up. Light floors may not be the best choice for areas with a lot of foot traffic, particularly if the traffic comes inside from outdoor areas.

For example, hallways and mudrooms may end up looking much dirtier regularly. They do, however, suit a number of décor styles and allow for bold design choices to shine. 

Are you considering adding light laminate flooring to your kitchen? Make sure you consider the kitchen cabinet colors first! Read this article next: 5 Pros and Cons of White Kitchen Cabinets You Should Know.


Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These sources were used in this article and our research to be more informed as we DIY and decorate our homestead.

  • Bestlaminate, and Bestlaminate. “Light or Dark Flooring – How to Decide What’s Best for Your Space.” Bestlaminate Blog, 2 Mar. 2023, www.bestlaminate.com/blog/light-or-dark-laminate-flooring.
  • Flooring, Kennington. “5 Flooring Tips to Make a Room Look Bigger.” Kennington Flooring, 7 Feb. 2020, kenningtonflooring.co.uk/5-flooring-tips-make-room-look-bigger/.
  • Jess. “25 Pros & Cons of Dark Vs Light Hardwood Floors: The Ultimate List!” The Brain & the Brawn, 1 Sept. 2022, www.thebrainandthebrawn.com/dark-vs-light-hardwood-floors-pros-and-cons.
  • Kelly, Tamara. “Flooring Trends 2023 &Ndash; 9 of the Most Popular Design Choices for Stylish Floors.” Woman and Home Magazine, 20 Jan. 2023, www.womanandhome.com/homes/flooring-trends-2023/.
  • “Light Vs. Dark: Which Floors Will You Choose?” Flooring America, www.flooringamerica.com/blog/light-vs-dark-which-floors-will-you-choose.
  • Wheeler, Kathy. “Light or Dark Flooring? Everything You Should Consider When Choosing. – New York Carpets and Flooring.” New York Carpets & Flooring, 3 Dec. 2019, newyorkcarpets.com/light-or-dark-flooring-everything-you-should-consider-when-choosing.

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