Which colour floorboards will I choose?

I need some help! I’ve done this before and every time we get to the floorboard colour choice in the house I can’t decide. Why are there so many choices!?

My husband does like to weigh in on this decision (oh the horror, how dare he! *stomping my foot* haha!). He has a preference for dark floorboards whereas I don’t (well I could be swayed, but I’m not sure). I’m all about the practicality and how they look when they are NOT clean. I’m not too worried about scratches because we do look after them, but it’s how they look when dirty that is my main concern…

I don’t like floorboards that show every smudge when you stand back and the light catches them. I think the dark ones seem to show up more smudges?? (Yes, no?)

I don’t want them to overtake the house either. I want them to be subtle and fit in with every colour scheme (because you all know I like to paint and change things lots!). I’ve had a few houses over the years and have always put floorboards in, but have never really loved any of them. The only ones I have truly loved have been original cypress pine boards in a house we renovated – but it’s impossible to have these in my new house because we’re building on a slab and I’m not going to the expense of putting batons on the slab for floorboards…. so a floating floor will be it.

Help me choose!

I have a poll at the end of the photos. Just vote there, or leave me a comment to tell me why you would choose one colour over another.

Colour: Driftwood.

Colour: Classic Walnut.

Colour: American Oak.

Colour: Smoked and Limed.

Colour: Smoked and Black.

Colour: Brown Black.

Colour: Chocolate.

All photos were take from Royal Oak Floors.

Which colour floorboards would you choose?

My husband will be watching these votes today too! Ha!

Thank you! X



  • Natasha Harrington
    June 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Have you thought about polished concrete??? Otherwise classic walnut!! :-)

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

      Hi Natasha, I was emailed this exact question last week! While I love the look of them, I couldn’t do it. They wouldn’t suit the style of house I am doing, plus I’d need in floor heating which is very costly. But I do love them! I’ve seen some great ideas :)

  • Julie
    June 14, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I never knew there was so many different types of floorboards lol
    I went with the American Oak as it was the one that really jumped out at me. Not too dark but no too light either. Good luck with making the final decision.

  • Sheridan
    June 14, 2012 at 7:05 am

    We have dark floors – probably slighter darker than the walnut ones you have here. They SUCK … everyone comments on how gorgeous they look, but they are terrible to keep clean..especially with my three monsters dropping food and stepping on it all day long! If just mopped, I love them. After one hour, I hate them!! If I renovated again, I would go for the driftwood or limed look. I love it.

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

      I sent this message straight to my husband hahaha

  • Brismod
    June 14, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I saw a home in a mag recently which did a dark rubber floor… Can’t remember where. It looked really good and can you imagine how quiet it would be? Good luck choosing!! x

  • Janette
    June 14, 2012 at 7:06 am

    We have just stained our Cyprus Pine floor boards in Walnut and I love the colour and look. Smudges don’t seen to show up too badly but I think the American Oak would be the best colour for not showing up dirt etc. can’t wait to c what u decide. Jxx

  • Fiona,Lilyfieldlife
    June 14, 2012 at 7:12 am

    We have NSW spotted Gum and it’s very beautiful. And a good hardwood. It’s brown with a lot of grey mixed in. They hid dirt a lot also! Check it out. I also like limed floorboards.
    Cheers Fiona

  • Natasha
    June 14, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I love the last one the chocolate, it’s dark like your husband likes but you can still see all that lovely oak whirly grain bits. Great choice to go oak, love oak, any of them will look lovely.

  • Scandi Coast Home
    June 14, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I had a floating floor in a similar look to the limed oak at my last house……enough variation in the tone to hide the dirt etc but no knots to draw your eye like the American Oak……
    I think the limed oak would sit well with all other timber furniture and coloured accessories nicely……a nice canvas for all your favourite bits!!! ;o) It should also go with pretty much any carpet or rug colour for bedrooms etc……
    Good luck with the picking……it is a hard one.
    I can’t wait to see what you pick!
    Tania xx

  • kerry
    June 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Smoked and limed or chocolate. :)

  • Lisa
    June 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Oh Katrina we are going through the same thing at the moment – I love the American Oak

  • Something Gorgeous
    June 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Hi Katrina, I left a message for you on Facebook to check out the Greg Natale post to the Brighton Melbourne Home. He used a lighter coloured floorboard and it looks amazing. xToni

  • le_third
    June 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

    hello there K – that smoked and black is the best of both worlds :) American Oak is the classic yes … and even the smoked and lime looks good too. Too dark and all you will see is dust and the kids will draw smiley faces on them like steam on a mirror … kids can’t help but want to draw in dust :)

    A girlfriend had floating timber put thru and had all kinds of problems with moisture … lift and warp etc … just mentioning – you probably already know the pros and cons :) le xox

  • Something Gorgeous
    June 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

    BTW I went for the light boards in my beach apartment and they look fantastic but also show marks. So I guess all colours show the dirt, so just go with what you like the best and you won’t mind cleaning them! XToni

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

      This is true Thanks.

  • A-M
    June 14, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Oh the first one, the Driftwood! It’s so versatile…. for all aesthetics… industrial, country, Hampton’s…. and it won’t show the dirt. I can see rustic iron coffee tables and funky modern decor items mixed in with slipcover sofas. Rumour has it, really dark floors show everything. I really want a dark floor, love them, drool over them… but I don’t want them reminding me to dust them all the time. A-M xx

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      This is my first pick too. Now to convince Chambo! ha! I think you should bombard him with text messages!!

  • Theresa
    June 14, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I’ve got vinyl planks similar to the driftwood colour and they are amazing. Dirt and smudges just don’t show up. Only downside is you don get that satisfying feeling from mopping cos they barely look different! Amazing I love them.

  • mel
    June 14, 2012 at 10:10 am

    I liked the limed the best, not too grey or too brown. Would go with alot of colours I think. Dark shows up every spot of dust, worse if they are shiny. Have you considered bamboo? Sustainable and light colour range? melx

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 11:17 am

      I will be looking at this option too Mel – ta! X

  • Karen
    June 14, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I haven’t voted (couldn’t choose!) but I do have a stronger preference for the lighter colours. I’m torn between Driftwood and American Oak.

    Dark floorboards show smudges, but what drives me even more nuts is that they show DUST! They look beautiful when they’re clean but I don’t know anyone who can keep up with it. And if you have pets, just forget it. Hair everywhere.

    Hope that helps!

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Karen – I like your reasoning!

  • Michelle Hayward
    June 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I really want to vote in your poll but I’m torn! I have vinyl planking in my house which looks like timber, and gets all the compliments of timber but wears really well. It doesn’t scratch quite as badly, rarely if ever. I have macchiato, dark chocolate. I LOVE it, it was a great choice! I think next time I would go light, to mix it up a bit, liker American oak (maybe) There’s two sides to the coin…when I’ve gone light you see the dirt, every spill, every footprint, it shows THE LOT! But in going dark you see all of the lint and the dust specks etc. You can’t win! Someone dropped icing sugar the other day, oh boy! It’s a tough one. I was SOOO undecided when we built this house that I ended up putting a diamond design in the entry way using my two favourite colours – the macchiato and a blond wood and it looks great. It also gets loads of compliments, and it never dates! :) Good luck with your choice…I’m leaning towards the oak!

    • Katrina
      June 14, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Oh diamond?!

      • Michelle Hayward
        June 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

        I emailed the pics so you can see it. I wouldn’t do it justice describing it lol!

  • Nik
    June 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I went real timber in my house (which is a slab) … builder laid ply over the slab and then ramset the timber into that (no batons required). Apparently it is a cheaper option. House is now 12 years old and flooring still looks as good as the day it was laid. I chose the smoke and black because I thought it would not show up the dirt so much and would be a good compromise for you and your hubby’s taste … but now I’ve read AM’s comment I think you should go with her suggestion … she has such impeccable taste … you know you can’t go wrong following her advice. Good luck with your decision!

  • Siobhan Johns
    June 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I voted for driftwood, but if I could have voted for 2 the other would have been chocolate! I don’t envy you – we are renovating & want to save our beautiful baltic pine boards, but we have decided to whitewash them, as they have been unstained for 16 years +++ – & i hate tiles, so whitewash it is (plus it suits our decor!)

  • Judie
    June 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Love the Driftwood. I’ve got vinyl planks (expensive ones) and they mark easily. Love to know where your sample came from.

  • Emma
    June 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I LOVE the classic walnut, we had floorboards in a rental this colour, having only lived in houses that have tiles since, floorboards are SOOO simple to keep clean and hide smudges etc. I do like the driftwood as well but I guess it depends which way your furnishing go colourwise… the walnut colour complimented our colours really well because we had simple neutrals but if you have lots of colour in your house I personally think there might be a fight for attention going on… so driftwood….

    damn will have to retract my walnut vote :)

  • Anna (My Design Ethos)
    June 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I voted for the Smoked and Black because I think it will be the most versatile and classic for your style of house. I’m deciding on timber-look laminates for my house and I’m thinking of a limewashed or whitewashed look. Love the style of white floors, but isn’t always the most classic look!

  • Kathryn
    June 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I am confused. How is this even a question? I would MARRY those driftwood floors. Honest. 😉

  • Katherine
    June 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I can’t believe so many people have voted for Walnut it is so orange and 80’s looking…I went for the brown black second last pic. It’s more funky. Have you seen the bamboo floors, apparently very strong etc. Sonia from Raine and Sage knows a bit about them I think… anyway I think if I redid floors I would consider Bamboo. xxx

  • Nicole
    June 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Please don’t go the Driftwood! They remind me of acid-washed jeans. Eewww! :) The Chocolate is awesome – it looks fairly Matt finished, so it perhaps wouldn’t show up the dust/between-clean marks.

  • house painters naperville
    June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    There is definately a great deal to learn about this
    subject. I like all of the points you have made.

  • Heather
    June 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I love darker colours but I think keeping them clean with 3 little boys might take away from time which could be better spent blogging/online shopping/redecorating. hehe. I would probably go a lighter one like the Driftwood.

  • Kylie P
    June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I lived in a house with dark floorboards and as a result said I would never ever have them in a house. I was constantly cleaning them and even as I was cleaning them they still looked dirty or would show marks. I was a live in nanny at the time looking after 3 little boys….need I say anymore!!! My fav floorboards would have to be murray pine or equivalent as I think the colour is classic, timeless and goes with most decors…and most importantly…and dirt , marks or dust just blend on in with the tones. Have fun choosing!!!

  • Renata
    June 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I am having the exact same dilemma! I think it all depends on the style of house you have, modern/ beach style homes suit driftwood which i love, but the chocolate would suit both modern and traditional style homes, and would be easier to change designs around. Nothing beats the beauty of real timber, but it is costly, and you can put down ply instead of batons with a slab. So my vote is chocolate, besides who doesnt love chocolate!
    As for cleaning it doesnt matter what you have with kids and pets its a constant never ending battle!

  • chelle@geeyourebrave
    June 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Definetely driftwood or American oak but

  • Daniel
    January 18, 2013 at 8:27 am


    Im finding it hard to find Driftwood in stores… I live near Sydney (Wollongong). Does anyone know who sells Driftwood floors????

    If you could help it would be fab!


  • Nancy @ Express Flooring
    March 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I personally liked all of them but first one “Drift Wood” the most. I did give my vote above but not sure if it still needed. Good job with your blog here!!

  • Natalie
    August 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    We are renovating at moment my partner wants dark but I don’t want because it will show up all the marks. Katrina what did you with in the end??

  • Dee
    October 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Definitely the classic walnut if you have more neutral shades in your furniture, but go for the driftwood if you have more modern/chic/beachy furniture with lots of colours or ultra modern blacks etc. Mmmm…got me thinking…might go the classic walnut myself now!! I was thinking of doing 2 coats of limewash!

    Good luck!

  • charney
    March 10, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Im having this same debate, except I’m in a tiny apartment. What supplier did you go with?

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