Wood floor in kitchen not matching adjacent wood floors?

scrappy25April 2, 2014

Greetings, I am hoping that you guys will post pictures of wood floors adjacent to nonmatching wood floors.

Our home currently has gunstock color oak floors throughout the first floor except for the kitchen/eating area and back hallway, which have/had white vinyl tile.My current cabinets are also a gunstock color oak.

I am planning to change to white or very light new cabinets. I was planning originally to match the gunstock oak for flooring in the kitchen. However, when I replaced the white vinyl floor in the back hallway last year with gunstock oak, it made the back hallway rather dreary and dark. I had to increase the lighting wattage and repaint the walls and closet doors white, but it is still darker than I would like. So I am thinking that gunstock oak flooring will be too dark in my kitchen.

I still would like wood floors, but am having a hard time envisioning what color and type of wood would look good next to the existing gunstock oak, and if there is a way to make the difference look like it was deliberately planned. The existing floors are in great condition and I really do not want to sand and refinish them.

So, please share you ideas and pictures for transitioning nonmatching wood floors in adjacent rooms. thank you in advance!

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Well this is not a wood to wood. But you could do something like this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light and dark floor

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:23AM
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Kathy Rivera

Mine isn't wood to wood, it's wood to cork. But the cork is in long planks that sort of look like wood. My oak on either side ran in opposite directions, so it would have had a weird change on one side anyway. And I knew I'd never get the stains to match and had no desire to re-stain the whole lower level. I opted for transition pieces that match the old oak floors. It's not perfect, but I think it's perfectly fine. I figure it defines the kitchen as a separate space.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:36AM
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We put down prefinished wood floors in most of the house several years ago. When we finally got ready to do the kitchen this year, they had discontinued our floors. So we really struggled with whether to put down different wood, the closest match we could find, or something totally different. I found several examples of people using two different woods. And several comments online said it was fine to do that. We talked to 2 different designers. One said it was fine, the other said absolutely not. Ultimately, I knew it would bother me every time I saw it. Even if I got used to it, I was worried when we eventually sell that people would walk in the house and think they had to replace all the floors.

I guess you just have to decide if you're ok with it or not. Personally, I would most definitely do the same wood floor in your kitchen. Your white cabinets will help a lot. If it still seems dark, add some more lighting. Brightening up with good lighting is a good idea anyway.

On a happy note, my wife did a lot of investigating and found the company that made our original floors. They no longer distribute through Home Depot (where we bought them), but they make the same exact floor under a different name. So we got them in yesterday, and they're a perfect match!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:56PM
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robo (z6a)

Could you go a gunstock "rug" in the middle of a lighter section?

Rustic Entry by Richmond Architects & Designers Birdseye Design

A pattern?

Traditional Entry by Nashville General Contractors Rogan Allen Builders LLC

A gunstock border with lighter wood inset?

Traditional Hall by Fort Lauderdale Architects & Designers tuthill architecture

Or in a traditional house, I think you could just do a threshold and just go for it.

Eclectic Kitchen

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Robotropolis' 2nd photo would probably be my preferred option for changing the flooring.

BUT - unless your kitchen is truly closed off from the rest of the rooms - I would definitely continue the same flooring into the kitchen. I just spent $5200 continuing oak hardwood from the dining/living area into the open concept kitchen. It was a budget killer and a huge nuisance but I feel very strongly about how continuous flooring creates a sense of flow in a home.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:48PM
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robo (z6a)

I wanted different (just b/c am cheap and didn't want to refinish everything), my husband wanted the same, he told the contractor to just piece everything in and hope it matched, and we ended up having to refinish evvvverything. What a pain and expense. But, in our somewhat open plan, it does make everything flow really well and looks nice.

If you have a more modern home, I would probably change the flooring type (to e.g. tile) or make it the same and use lighter cabinets and counters. Since you're planning light cabinets anyway, I bet it would be a beautiful contrast.

I'm wondering if your back hallway is naturally a bit darker than the kitchen anyway?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:58PM
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So do the gunstock in a 10"-12" border with the lighter wood in the larger area.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Lots of people, including our flooring guy, told us not to do it, but I didn't want the light oak that covers my entire first floor in the kitchen. We have a very open first floor so they placed a flat transition piece running in the opposite direction and then installed the maple going in the same direction as the oak. The boards are different sizes.

It looks great and we are so happy we went with it.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:05PM
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I personally like creamy white cabinets with gunstock oak. Do you have sufficient lighting in your kitchen, i.e. under cab lights and recessed lighting? Lighting can make a world of difference. Hallways are difficult to light.

But you know your kitchen better than anyone :).

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 3:56PM
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What tuesday says. The hallway may be quite different from the kitchen with white cabs and more lighting.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:58PM
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wow, thanks for all the help! I can see that the different adjacent woods look good in your posted pictures only because they are quite differentn from each other, not sure that I want to go too light on the new wood because it would be to "blendy" with the white cabinets. A border is an interesting idea but my kitchen might be too small to be able to pull that off, I have an approx 10 x 13 U shaped kitchen with an adjacent 10 x 8 breakfast area.

I appreciate the comments to consider that the lighting in the kitchen might be quite different from the hallway. That is true but I did not think of the hallway as being dark until we had the flooring changed and it surprised me how much darker it was after the flooring change.

I'm going to find some dark brown tarps to put on the kitchen floor and see what that feels like. thank you!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 7:13PM
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That's a great idea with the tarps.

Still, I think it's different from a hallway where you have nothing but the floor and walls. Below are some pics of tiny white kitchens. I think the dark floors ground them and provide a really nice contrast.

(even has wood counters)

Compare to these:

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:59AM
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Totally agree with nosoccermom:

"Still, I think it's different from a hallway where you have nothing but the floor and walls. Below are some pics of tiny white kitchens. I think the dark floors ground them and provide a really nice contrast."

And the photos illustrate that so well. As you point out - not that much floor will even be showing. The cabinets and counters will make a huge difference in the lightness of the room. Also, don't crowd your window with uppers and don't allow anything to block the flow of natural light in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 12:24PM
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I actually hard a really hard time finding white kitchens with light floors unless they were ultramodern.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 3:08PM
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I think the only white on light I like is the one with the stainless appliances and wood counter tops..both those elements break up the sterile starkness.

I agree those dark floors really work! Thanks for that visual.

For the hall how about a few small solar tubes?

I am a firm believer in their natural light power. Last spring we put one in our shower. (Originally the house had various windows in the shower.) The last "redo" we just had it removed. But for 5 years it was a cave in there..had to leave a night light plugged in all day so you wouldn't run into a half open door. Lol.. We have a medium size one in the shower/tub ceiling.

The house we close on in a month has two super large ones just off the kitchen in the dining space and two tiny (flood light size) in the once "dark" hallway.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Nosoccermom, THANK YOU for those great visuals. This has really convinced me to strongly consider the gunstock oak flooring in the kitchen. You are right that it is a much stronger and pleasing look than with the lighter floors.

feisty68, thank you for your persistence in your opinion which is now visually shown to be right.

terri, a solar tube is a great idea. We actually have one in the upstairs hallway because we could not use that hallway before with out turning on the light . In the back hallway, I had to add a motion activated light after the darker floors were put in for the same reason (never needed it before), but didn't think about the solar tube . That part of the house is one story so it is possible. thanks!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 5:19PM
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