Are your hardwood floors looking a little tired and outdated, or are you considering installing new hardwood floors and wondering about the best stain color to choose? The transformation that comes with selecting the right stain for your wood floors adds an undeniable charm to your living space. However, with a vast array of colors available, choosing the right one can be quite daunting. This article aims to demystify the whole process and guide you in finding the most popular wood floor stain colors suited to your style and interior design preference.

For a quick glimpse, here’s a list of some of the trendiest wood floor stain colors in 2021:

  • Dark Wood Stain Colors: Espresso, True Black, Ebony
  • Classic Brown Wood Stain Colors: Walnut, Mahogany, Cherry
  • Light Wood Stain Colors: Pine, Golden Oak, Gray

These colors have proven to be a popular choice among homeowners, reflecting a range of tastes and styles. In the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into each of these categories, gradually unveiling the different stain colors and why they’re a popular choice.

Hardwood floor swatches in various stain colors - most popular wood floor stain colors infographic brainstorm-4-items

The Importance of Choosing the Right Wood Floor Stain Color

Choosing the right wood floor stain color is more than just a matter of aesthetics. It’s about creating a space where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and truly at home. The color of your hardwood floor significantly impacts your room’s overall look and feel, playing a pivotal role in your interior design and the atmosphere of your space.

In fact, the impact of your flooring choice extends beyond just the immediate appearance. The right stain color can add depth and character to your room, accentuate your furniture, and even influence your mood. For instance, darker stains can create a cozy, elegant, and sophisticated atmosphere, while lighter stains can make a room feel more spacious, airy, and casual.

Just like in fashion, some wood floor stain colors are classic and never go out of style, while others are trendy and change with the seasons and years. For example, Jacobean, Provincial, and Antique Brown have consistently remained among the most popular wood floor stain colors, due to their timeless appeal and versatility.

However, it’s not just about following trends. The best wood floor stain color for your home should ultimately reflect your personal style and complement the existing decor in your space. It’s crucial to select a color that enhances and harmonizes with the other elements in your room, from the wall paint to the furniture and even the lighting.

At California Flooring & Design, we understand the significance of this decision. With our vast selection of wood floor stain colors and expert guidance, we are committed to helping you find the perfect stain color that reflects both the individuality of your floor and your own personal style.

The Process of Staining Hardwood Floors

Staining your hardwood floors is a strategic process that requires expertise and a keen eye. The end result magnifies the beauty of your space and gives your flooring a fresh, vibrant look. Here’s a quick rundown of what the process entails:

1) Surface Preparation: First, the surface of your floor is prepared for staining. This involves sanding the hardwood to create a smooth and even surface. This step is crucial as it allows the stain to be absorbed evenly across the floor, ensuring a uniform color finish.

2) Stain Application: The chosen stain is then applied to the wood surface. The application process is carried out with precision to avoid uneven coating or blotchy spots that could affect the final appearance. The stain is typically applied using a rag or brush, following the grain of the wood to enhance its natural beauty.

3) Drying Time: Once the stain has been applied, it needs to dry completely before any further steps can be taken. The drying time can vary depending on the type of stain used and the environmental conditions.

4) Protective Coating: After the stain has dried, a protective finish is applied. This finish not only adds shine to your hardwood floors but also acts as a barrier against future dirt and damage, ensuring your hardwood floors stay pristine and vibrant for a longer time.

At California Flooring & Design, we take pride in our meticulous approach to staining hardwood floors. We understand the nuances of different wood types and how they react with various stains. Our professionals are trained to apply the stain evenly and carefully, ensuring a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

In the next section, we’ll delve into how different types of wood can impact the final color of your stain, and why this is such an important factor to consider when choosing the most popular wood floor stain colors for your home.

The Impact of Wood Type on Stain Color

Before selecting the most popular wood floor stain colors, it’s crucial to understand how wood type can impact the final color of your stain. Different wood species vary in their grain patterns, texture, and natural color, all of which can influence how a stain is absorbed and presents on the wood.

Light Woods

If you’re aiming for a delicate and understated finish, consider light woods like maple, ash, or birch. These types of wood offer paler colors with less visible grain patterns, meaning they do not absorb stains as easily. This can result in a subtler color, perfect for a minimalist or Scandinavian style home. For the best results with these lighter woods, we recommend opting for natural or honey tones, which can enhance the wood’s inherent beauty while keeping the overall look light and airy.

Medium Woods

Medium-weight woods such as oak or cherry are ideal for homeowners seeking a deeper, richer color. These species have pronounced grain patterns that absorb stain at a uniform rate, resulting in beautiful colors like golden oak and warm walnut. These shades contribute a sense of warmth and coziness to a room, making them a popular choice among homeowners.

Dark Woods

For a bold and dramatic effect, dark woods like mahogany and Brazilian cherry are a fantastic choice. These woods have impressive grain patterns and a naturally rich hue, making them perfect for deeper stain applications such as espresso or ebony. Dark woods absorb stains quickly and deeply, producing a color that is intense and impactful.

Understanding the relationship between wood type and stain color is key to achieving your desired aesthetic. After all, the beauty of hardwood flooring lies in its natural variations, and working with these variations instead of against them can lead to stunning results. At California Flooring & Design, we are here to guide you through this process, ensuring that you make the best decision for your home.

The Most Popular Wood Floor Stain Colors of 2021

Choosing the right stain color can transform your space, bringing out the character of your home, and enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Let’s explore the most popular wood floor stain colors of the year.

Dark Wood Stain Colors

Dark wood stain colors have been a top choice for homeowners seeking a dramatic, modern look. They make a bold statement, adding depth to any room.


Espresso is a popular color that’s almost black but carries dark brown undertones. This rich, dark color is perfect for both flooring and furniture. Its versatility makes it easy to match with most colors, adding a dramatic touch whilst maintaining warmth.

True Black

The boldness of true black has become a popular trend in modern interior design. For those seeking an ultra-sleek look, true black is the way to go. It offers a stark contrast to lighter furnishings, offering a sophisticated and contemporary look.


Ebony leans towards the cooler side of the color spectrum. It’s almost black but carries cooler undertones. If you prefer cooler colors like blues, grays, and greens, you may find ebony to be the perfect compromise between dark and cool.

Classic Brown Wood Floor Stain Colors

Classic browns are timeless and versatile. They reflect nature and are easy to style, transforming ordinary flooring into something much more elegant and high-end.


Walnut is a deep, classic brown shade that is both timeless and modern. It champions the wood grain patterns in your hardwood floors, offering an almost-vintage feel to your space.


Renowned for its deep red color, mahogany offers a unique and gorgeous stain. This stain will have your guests exclaiming, “That is mahogany!” with excitement and awe.


Cherry, as you might guess, also carries a red hue, but this wood floor stain leans more towards a rich, warm brown tone than a vibrant red one. It’s the perfect happy medium between the brown tones of walnut and the red tones of mahogany.

Light Wood Stain Colors

Light wood stains are popular for homeowners seeking a serene, light, and airy space. They work perfectly in rooms that receive a lot of natural light.


Pine is a softwood that takes on stain color very well. It’s often stained in light, natural colors and is perfect for homeowners seeking a casual, rustic look.

Golden Oak

Golden oak is a gorgeous shade that brings out the delightful hues of medium wood types, such as oak and hickory. This warm tone produces an inviting atmosphere, making it perfect for traditional home décor styles.


Gray wood floors are a modern trend that provide a unique, contemporary feel to any room. They work well with a variety of design styles, from rustic to ultra-modern.

At California Flooring and Design, we offer a wide range of wood floor stain colors to choose from. We understand that every house is unique, and our experts are here to help you select the perfect stain color for your hardwood floor. Whether you prefer dark, classic brown, or light wood stain colors, we have something to suit your taste.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wood Floor Stain Color

Choosing the most popular wood floor stain colors for your home involves more than just personal preference. There are several factors that can influence how a particular stain color will look in your home, including room size and natural light, furniture and interior design style, and the colors of your walls and kitchen cabinets.

Room Size and Natural Light

The size of your room and the amount of natural light it receives can significantly influence the appearance of your wood floor stain color. For rooms with limited natural light, warm-tone stains, such as honey oak, can help to liven up the atmosphere and create an inviting ambiance (California Flooring and Design). On the other hand, lighter stains may work better in smaller rooms, making the space appear larger and more open. Conversely, darker stains can add depth and sophistication to larger rooms.

Furniture and Interior Design Style

The style of your furniture and interior decor should also be a major consideration when choosing a wood floor stain color. Do you prefer a rustic farmhouse style or a modern minimalist design? Certain stain colors work best with specific design styles. For instance, mid-toned brown shades work well with rustic farmhouse styles, while lighter shades are perfect for modern, contemporary minimalism. On the other hand, elegant, moody designs look great with darker browns and reds.

It’s also essential to consider the color and style of your furniture. You want to choose a stain color that complements and enhances your furniture, rather than clashing with it. You can also use stain samples to compare them with your furniture and see how they look together in person.

Wall Colors and Kitchen Cabinets

Lastly, consider the colors of your walls and kitchen cabinets when choosing a wood floor stain color. The right stain color can create a beautiful contrast with your wall paint and cabinets, enhancing the overall aesthetic of your room. For instance, if you have light-colored walls and cabinets, a darker wood floor stain could provide an elegant contrast.

Choosing the right stain color for your hardwood floors is a significant decision that will have a lasting impact on the look and feel of your home. So, take your time, consider these factors, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us at California Flooring and Design for expert advice and guidance.

Tips for Choosing and Applying Wood Floor Stain

Choosing the perfect stain for your hardwood floors is more than just selecting a color. It involves understanding the characteristics of your wood, how stains respond to different wood types, and the role of different staining techniques. Here are some tips to navigate this process.

Testing Stain Samples

The first step in choosing the right stain color is testing a variety of samples. Even within the same color group, different stain shades can vary significantly. We recommend selecting three of your favorite colors and testing samples on your floor.

These samples should be large enough to give you a good feel for each color. If they are on moveable panels, you can place them next to your furniture, cabinetry, and walls, seeing how each color interacts with different elements in your room. Take a few days to observe the samples under different lighting conditions. Different types of wood absorb stains differently, so the final color may vary from the sample board.

The Role of Water Popping in Staining

Water popping is a technique that can enhance the penetration of the stain into your hardwood floors. This process involves dampening the wood’s surface, causing the grain to rise and the surface area to become more absorbent. This results in a more even and deeper color saturation.

First, the floor is sanded and cleaned thoroughly. Then, clean water is applied and the wood is left to dry completely before the stain is applied. This technique is particularly useful for dark hardwood floor stains, giving them a richer and deeper hue.

The Impact of Stain Color on Scratch Visibility

It’s essential to consider the practical aspects of your chosen stain color. Darker colors can highlight scratches and dust more than lighter colors. If you have pets or a busy household, a lighter color might be a better option.

At California Flooring and Design, we understand that choosing the perfect stain color for your hardwood floors is a blend of aesthetic and practical considerations. Our team is here to guide you through this process, ensuring that you make the best decision for your home.

Customizing Your Hardwood Floor with California Flooring & Design

We believe that your home is an expression of your unique style, and your flooring should be no different. Our team at California Flooring and Design is dedicated to helping you achieve a look that is both trendy and timeless.

We offer a wide selection of the most popular wood floor stain colors, ranging from rich dark hues to light and airy tones. Our flooring experts can guide you in selecting a stain color that will complement your home’s existing decor and enhance the natural beauty of your wood floors.

Exceptional Quality and Craftsmanship

We take pride in our commitment to exceptional quality and craftsmanship. From solid to engineered hardwood, our extensive selection embodies the perfect balance of beauty, durability, and style. Whether you prefer the dramatic statement of dark hardwood floors or the serene lightness of white or pale grey wood, we can help you achieve your desired aesthetic.

Superior Customer Service

At California Flooring and Design, our commitment doesn’t end with providing superior product quality. We also strive to offer exceptional customer service. Our experts will work closely with you to understand your preferences and make recommendations based on your specific needs. We will even provide samples and perform on-site staining so you can see how different colors will look in your home.

5-Year Product Guarantee

We understand that choosing a hardwood floor is a significant investment. That’s why we back our products with a 5-year guarantee. This means you can choose your floor stain color with confidence, knowing that we stand behind the quality of our products.

Explore Design Options with Patterns and Colorwashing

Beyond traditional staining, we also offer more creative design options. For example, patterned floors can add a unique touch to your home. They are especially popular in homes with traditional décor styles but can also work well with modern interiors.

Alternatively, you may consider color washing or whitewashing your hardwood floors. This process uses diluted paints or dyes to add color, creating an airy and light feel that’s perfect for Scandinavian or coastal home designs.

As you explore the most popular wood floor stain colors and design options, remember that the most important thing is to choose a look that you love and that will stand the test of time. Whether you’re refreshing existing hardwood floors or installing new ones, we’re here to help make your vision a reality.

Contact us at California Flooring and Design to start your journey to beautiful hardwood floors today.


Choosing the right wood floor stain color is not merely a detail, but a crucial decision that significantly impacts the overall ambiance of your home. The most popular wood floor stain colors of 2021 range from dark, dramatic tones like Espresso, True Black, and Ebony, to classic, mid-brown hues such as Walnut, Mahogany, and Cherry, and lighter shades like Pine, Golden Oak, and Gray. Each color can bring out the different characteristics of the wood, enhancing the natural beauty of your hardwood floors.

Remember that the type of wood, the amount of natural light your room receives, the style of your furniture, and the color of your walls and kitchen cabinets all play a role in how the final stain will appear. Testing samples and considering techniques like water popping can help ensure a successful staining process.

At California Flooring and Design, we’re committed to helping you make the best flooring decisions for your home. We understand that the process can be overwhelming, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way. From helping you choose the perfect stain color to providing expert installation and aftercare advice, we’re dedicated to turning your dream home into a reality.

It’s time to transform your home with beautiful hardwood floors. Visit our products page to explore the different types of hardwood flooring we offer, or check out our Services to learn more about what we can do for you.

Choosing a wood floor stain color is an investment in your home’s future, so make it count. With our expertise and range of top-quality products, we can ensure that your hardwood floors will be a feature you’ll love for years to come.