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What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best For Resale?

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best for Resale?

Hardwood flooring has long been popular for the many benefits it brings to a home’s aesthetics and longevity, as well as its affordability over the years. But what about home resale? How does hardwood flooring affect your home’s resale value, and how do you choose hardwood that’s best for resale? Keep reading to learn more about these questions and more in this guide on how to choose the best hardwood flooring for resale.

What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best for Resale?

Jump to our 5 best hardwood floors for resale

Hardwood floors Are the most popular type of flooring

Hardwood flooring is used in more than 40% of homes. With that much demand, hardwood flooring is one of your safest bets when it comes to choosing a floor that will last and appeal to future buyers. The type of wood you choose, however, can have a big impact on how easily your floors sell once you decide to upgrade.

Some types are easier and cheaper to replace than others. What color hardwood floor is best? Typically, hardwoods are not stained by default but finished with high-quality lacquer or oil; though it depends on what kind of finish you prefer for any room in your home.

Reselling your home after you've installed a hardwood floor can make all of your hard work worthwhile. Since more than 40% of all homes have some type of wood flooring, many buyers expect it as an option in their future homes as well. But if you plan on selling your home within 10 years or less, it's best to stick with a neutral hardwood floor.

You can purchase hardwood flooring in both a solid form, as well as in an engineered form. Solid wood floors are made from one solid piece of wood and have all of their natural characteristics intact: including knots and other imperfections. Engineered hardwood floors are made from multiple layers of wood glued together with a thin layer of veneer on top that is sanded down to look like solid wood flooring.

Go with a neutral color option that’s easy to maintain

Consider your resale options when choosing wood flooring. If you plan on staying in your home for a long time, you might be able to choose more decorative and unique styles of hardwood flooring. But if you’re thinking about selling your home soon, it might be wise to stick with more neutral color schemes that are easy to maintain (and will appeal to more buyers). After all, having new carpet installed is a lot cheaper than ripping out brand-new hardwood flooring!

If you go with a light color, use dark accessories (like area rugs) and carpets throughout other parts of your home so that they won’t stand out as much. If you go with darker colors, try using lighter-colored furniture throughout other parts of your home.

No matter what color you choose, make sure your wood floor is sturdy and well-made. Check out Consumer Reports’ report on inexpensive hardwood flooring to learn more. Then, work with a reputable contractor who can help you determine which types of wood will be best for your home and budget. Also check into energy-saving features that can reduce your utility bills and carbon footprint.

Don’t make quick decisions

Before purchasing hardwood flooring, do your research and consider how you’ll go about re-selling your home. If you plan on living in a property for an extended period of time, then it probably doesn’t matter what flooring material you select. But if your home is more of a short-term investment, you may want to opt for something that will make it easier—and more appealing—to sell down the road.

Don't make a quick buying decision, only to find out later that it's not right for your home. It's important to know what you're getting into before you make a purchase. If you have any doubts about whether or not hardwood flooring is right for your home, it may be best to wait until you're more certain.

For example, if you're planning on moving in less than five years and want something that will help sell your home faster (and at higher price), you might get more for your money with a product like luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Hardwood flooring is expensive. Do your research, before you make a decision on what type of hardwood flooring you want in your home. You can also ask yourself if you plan on staying in one place for an extended period of time or if you're looking at a short-term investment property.

Understand that your style choices might not work

It's always a guessing game on style. The hardwood flooring you pick today, might not be popular 20 years from now. Your choice of color may also have an impact on your home resale value. And because every house is different, there are no universal rules that apply to all homes and their buyers. That’s why it’s so important to consider these things when picking out your new hardwood floors. Here are some factors that can help you choose which kind of wood flooring will work best in your home.

First, consider your local climate. If you live in a region that receives a lot of snow and rain during winter, it’s best to pick hardwood flooring with finishes that can stand up against moisture. Such floors are also less likely to warp and last longer than unfinished or lightly finished ones.

Next, consider your local home resale market. If you’re planning on selling your home in a few years, it’s best to pick flooring that will appeal to future buyers. Pick neutral colors. These can have an impact on your home resale value.

Finally, if you plan to live in your home for many years and want to upgrade down the road, it’s smart to choose hardwood floors with finishes that are easy to change out later. For example, using solid wood floors with a clear finish is easier than using oak floors with an oil-based stain.

Keep in mind resale trends and design ideas

From teak to walnut, there are many different hardwood flooring options. There’s no one right answer when it comes to hardwood flooring and resale values. What you choose should take into account current trends and long-term design ideas in your home’s local market. The real estate agents we spoke with recommend wood floors that have a natural look, like ash or maple, over engineered hardwoods like oak or cherry. Why?

Neutral colors appeal to more people. More and more home buyers are looking for a home that will be easy to decorate and keep clean. Natural wood flooring, like ash or maple, is much easier to match with any other design elements in your home. Darker woods like cherry are often too dark, especially if you’re using lighter furniture.

Lighter color choices are better on the eyes and don’t show dirt as easily

Lighter hardwood flooring is generally easier on your eyes, meaning you’ll feel happier in your home. With most light-colored floors, you won’t have to worry about dirt showing as quickly and be able to keep your floor clean and looking nice much longer than with darker floors. Additionally, lighter color options will work well in any room of your home so you can decide where they go when it comes time to sell.

Light-colored hardwood floors also look good in any room, so you can pick a style that works well in each space. So, you don’t have to worry about removing your flooring if you ever move or choose to sell your home.

This means you’ll have more flexibility in where and how you use your hardwood floors. If one area needs new flooring but another looks great, you can simply put down new flooring in that room without needing to go through an entire remodel.

Darker colors show dirt easier and require regular cleanings

In general, darker colors will show dirt and dust more than lighter colors, meaning you’ll need to clean them regularly. However, it’s important to note that how easy a hardwood floor is to maintain will depend on several factors (e.g., finish). For example, some of our favorite dark hardwoods—such as Black Walnut—are actually very low-maintenance floors because they are finished with an oil-based sealer that resists scratches and dings.

Darker colors also show scratching more readily than lighter hues, so keep in mind that if you have pets or kids, your hardwood floor may get scratched up quicker than expected. Pet hair is also a bit of a nuisance when it comes to darker floors, as it tends to stick around longer than on lighter floors.

In addition, light scratches can be easier to spot on darker woods—so if you want an easy-to-clean hardwood floor that will hold up over time (i.e., avoid expensive refinishing costs), we recommend going with a light color like oak.

One last point about darker colors: they will appeal to a lessor group of home buyers. So for resale, we recommend going with a lighter color like oak or maple. However, if you’re looking for an investment-grade hardwood floor that you plan on keeping forever, then it’s worth considering one of our favorite dark hardwoods (e.g., Black Walnut).