If you are looking to refresh or refinish the hardwood floors in your home, I am in the process of having the floor in my kitchen and living room refinished. I am sharing ideas and tips that will help make choosing the stain color and finish easier.

Over the past 3 weeks, my house has been undergoing two “big home improvement projects”.  My usual modus operandi is to go back and forth between larger projects and smaller ones, but these two projects just hit at the same time and have been taking all my time and attention.

Both projects have involved the process of having to choose a color and not just for a piece of furniture, but for the exterior of my house and a new color for the hardwood floor in my kitchen and living room.  I am very excited about both projects and how they are turning out, but the process of choosing the right color can be a little stressful.

Kitchen with herringbone hardwood floor that has turned orange with age.

I recently shared with you my process on how I chose the color for the exterior of my house. It is all done. I love it and promise I will show you the AFTER soon.

This week, the herringbone patterned hardwood floor in my kitchen and living room is getting refinished and I needed to figure out what color I wanted it to be.

Usually Ed and I DIY our home improvement projects, but for both of these big projects we felt it was better to call in the pros.

Living room showing hardwood floor that has turned amber orange over time

Since the first day we moved into the house 3-1/2 years ago, I have wanted to get the floor in the kitchen and living room refinished. I love the unique herringbone pattern on the floor, but not the orange color.

Different shades of wood flooring in a home.

Once upon a time the floor probably had a more natural wood color, but the oil-based poly that sealed it yellowed with age and for my floor – took on an amber orange tone. That is not a color I like to use in my decorating, except maybe for a few weeks in the fall. 🙂

In my previous house, we had the wood floor in the kitchen and mudroom refinished. It came out fine, but the process of sanding made a mess and the poly smell as it was applied and dried was pretty intense, which made it hard to stay in the house for a few days.

I knew I didn’t want to go through that process again and started doing research about hardwood floor refinishing. When at a home decorating conference last summer, I found out something I didn’t know.  You know Bona, the company that makes wood floor mops and floor cleaning products? Well the company does a whole lot more.

hardwood floor in a kitchen that has turned orange with age.

Bona also has wood floor refinishing services where they hand-pick and fully train floor refinishing contractors to learn The Bona System.

These contractors become Bona Certified Craftsmen and know how to protect your hardwood floors and bring out their natural beauty. They use a Dustless Sanding System and water-based, low VOC products that have little to no smell and dry fast.

The Bona System offers three services that will bring out the beauty in a hardwood floor, REVIVE, RESTORE or REFINISH.

The REVIVE treatment is called a spa day for your wood floors. The RESTORE treatment brings out the beauty in a lackluster floor.  My floor needed the REFINISH-ING treatment which is a total makeover.

To get the wood floor refinishing project underway, I found a local Bona Certified Craftsman in my area on the Bona website.

Greg Martin of Martin’s Floor Refinishing is who is refinishing my floor. About two weeks ago, he came to check out the floor in my living room and kitchen. While visiting, he helped me to choose the best color and finish for the floor and my decorating color scheme.

How to Choose Wood Floor Stain Color and Finish

There are many different stain color options for hardwood floors, so it’s important to think about the overall look and feel you want to have in your home. For example, dark stained floors can add drama and sophistication, while lighter stains can help make a room feel larger and more airy.

Choosing the right color can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make when it comes to refinishing your hardwood floors. Unless you have the exact image in your mind of how you want them to look, you’ll need to find some inspiration.

One of the best places to see different flooring styles and colors is in that stack of home decoration and renovation magazines you have piled up in a corner somewhere and also on Pinterest. You should be able to find images of houses with all sorts of wood flooring shades within them.

When it came down to choosing the color stain and finish for my wood floor, I knew I didn’t want a stain with red or amber orange tones. I also didn’t want too dark of a color.

Floor variations in a home from hardwood to brick to laminate.

I wanted something lighter, but that would still make a nice color transition between the various rooms on the first floor of my home that each have a different type of flooring.

Bona DriFast Wood Floor Stain Color Chart

Here is the Bona DriFast Stain Color Chart that I looked at to choose a few colors to sample on my floor.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Wood Floor Stain Color

Do you like the light, clean open look of a lighter colored floor?

  • Lighter floors can be better for small dark rooms as they will brighten them up, making them look bigger because they reflect light. Dark floors will absorb light and have the opposite effect.
  • If you have a family running through, scuffing things up, tracking dirt and dust in and you don’t want the stress of continually cleaning up, you may want to consider a lighter color. Lighter floors are considerably easier to maintain and keep looking clean.

Or do you prefer the deep, elegant and bold look of darker floors?

  • One reason for going with a dark colored stain may be to hide blemishes or imperfections in your floor. If there are large areas of water damage or pet stains, then a dark stain might be able to adequately mask these areas and other imperfections without having to do extensive repairs.
  • One other thing to note about dark floors is that maintenance will be somewhat more difficult. Scratches will show through easier and dust will be much more noticeable on the surface.

Sampling Different Colors of Stain on My Actual Floor

Most popular wood stain colors being tested on a just sanded hardwood floor to be refinished

Bona DriFast Stain colors from left to right: Grey, White, Provincial, 1/2 Grey + 1/2 Provincial, Sand Dune, 1/2 Grey + 1/2 Antique Brown, Natural, Antique Brown

Greg, the Bona Certified Craftsman who is refinishing my floors did a sampling of colors I told him I was interested in to help me make my wood stain color decision.

  • Every piece of wood will accept color differently – humidity levels, species of wood, type of stain, and what grade of sanding you did during preparations will all affect the finish. So always do lots of testing to make sure you like how the color looks on your wood floor.

He sanded an area of the floor and taped off boxes with painter’s tape. In each box he applied different colors of Bona stains I asked to see.

Sampling hardwood floor stain colors on actual floor

Wood Floor Color Stain TIP: When choosing a wood floor stain color, you can mix stains to come up with a custom color to fit your decor perfectly. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Greg did this for me and mixed Grey with Antique Brown and also Grey with Provincial.

Orange toned wood floor with oil-based polyurethane before getting refinished with the Bona Hardwood Floor Refinishing System

Seeing all the colors on the actual wood made it easier for me to choose which color I liked best.

What Color Wood Stain Did I Choose for My Floor?

I went with the Grey stain, but I still had another decision to make. I needed to pick a finish.

How To Choose a Wood Floor Finish

Did I want a shiny, satin, or a matte finish on my grey stained floor?

The type of polyurethane used (oil vs water-based polyurethane) can have a big impact on the color, especially for a very light floor.

  • Oil-based poly will be a bit darker and more amber.  Since I am trying to move away from this yellow/orange tone and opting for a lighter and more natural look, I am going with Bona’s water-based finish called Bona Traffic HD in a matte finish.

kitchen island on hardwood floor

Kitchen floor BEFORE getting the Bona REFINISH Treatment

I chose a matte finish for the reason that I didn’t want the sheen to hide the grain of the wood. A matte finish will also bring out the beauty of the herringbone pattern.

Paintable Textured Wallpaper in Kitchen

So goodbye amber orange toned floor.

Brick floor where it meets wood floor

I can’t wait to see how nicely the new grey stain with the water-based matte finish will look with the brick floor in my foyer and the luxury vinyl plank in the” hallway of darkness” and my Studioffice. 

Bona Certified Craftsman sanding a hardwood floor

Greg started the floor this week. It looks AMAZING so far. I will keep you posted on the progress.

If other Bona Certified Craftsmen are as knowledgeable and professional as Greg – you will get the best of the best when it is time to REVIVE, RESTORE or REFINISH the hardwood flooring in your home.

Inspired to do amazing things with your hardwood floors? Check out Bona’s flooring inspiration site and for even more hardwood floor ideas head on over to their Pinterest boards. 

Locate a Bona Certified Craftsman near you and rest easy knowing that your family and your floors will be in good hands.


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