Wooden flooring ideas to stand out from the crowd

Solid wooden floors are one trend in the home that just does not seem to be going away. Efficient and affordable central heating means that we are happy to leave our floors uncarpeted if we are lucky enough to have quality wooden floors. But this does limit the choices of how we can make our floors look. It’s pretty much light stain, dark stain or paint, with only a few variations between. Rugs or runners can break up the look of our varnished floors, but there are some things that you can do to make your floor stand out from the interiors in-crowd. Here are three suggestions that will wow the neighbours and bring out the very best in your boards.


Alternate stain

This is a simple but very effective way to change up your floor without being too radical. If you have a light-coloured stain on the floor you simply apply a darker stain to every other board. This means that you will end up with stripes running up your hallway or across your living room. You will need to carefully mask off the boards you are not staining and decide to do with any odd lengths of board at the edge of the room. But you will be pleased with the effect that this gives. It’s quirky enough to draw comments while classic enough to work with period furniture or features. You can also choose to paint rather than stain alternate boards. You can use a similar methodology to create a border around a room, just staining the boards at the edge of the room, or staining all but the boards at the edge.

Painted patterns

Painted pattern can look particularly effective on wooden floors, using a colour that contrasts nicely with the stain or shade of the wood. For a bold effect use a shade that is the opposite of the wood, so use white on a dark wood or black on a blonde wood finish. A subtle effect can be obtained by using a shade that is close to the wood’s shade. So, you may decide to use a cream shade on blonde wood or black on dark wood. This works very well when you have a large area that you want to work with, such as a living room floor. This can give you a look that imitates the effect of shadows across the floor. You can also use this method with dark or light stains on wood. Create a stencil, or just mask off areas you don’t want stained. Squares work well across a floor, as do chevrons.

Going avant-garde


Creating patterned floors can be as simple or as complex as you want. Even just staining one strip on a floor can be a bold effect. You can also create the effect of a patterned in-laid floor with judicious use of stencils or masking alongside different coloured stains or paints. But you don’t need to stick to just regular patterns or shapes. You could use the shadow effect described above to create an image of a tree or other natural shape across the floor. People or toys would work well in a child’s room as an unusual effect. You can also use temporary paint or peel-back paints for a semi-permanent finish. Spots or splashes of colour can also provide a strong impact.

Need help getting creative with your flooring? Head to our homepage to find a tradesperson.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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  1. I personally love dark, weathered wood floors, but I like the idea of staining wood or painting a pattern. I could definitely see this being an interesting concept. Thanks for sharing the ideas!

  2. I can’t stand those light brown wooden floors they look so tacky.

    When we moved into our apartment one of the things I really liked about it was the dark brown wooden panelling.

    As me and my wife begin looking for a home, real wood flooring would definitely be a plus specially if it’s exposed.

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