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Transition between light floor (honey oak floor) and dark floor

Becky B
5 years ago

I need to redo my kitchen due to damage from a burst pipe. My cabinets will be white. I would love to put in a dark-medium dark oak floor and a marble look countertop. The problem, I have been told, is that the adjoining room has a honey oak floor, and there is too great of a contrast between the honey oak and the dark oak. What would be the best way to transition between the two rooms, or do I HAVE to stain the entire house so that it matches the kitchen? Another concern that my friends mentioned is that when you walk in the front door, you would see across the honey oak floor straight into the dark floor of the kitchen.

I will add pictures later today.

Comments (42)

  • misforminkGW
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I would want it to match so it's less visually jarring. I think it's going to come down to personal preference. Though being completely different in color may actually be better than having it look like you tried to match but failed. (If you wanted something closer in tone but not the same or if the flooring people couldn't match it.) My house has a lot of different flooring and it reminds me of a patchwork quilt. Doesn't help that it's a ranch house. I'm looking forward to having it all one floor. Whatever you decide make sure you're going to be good with the decision down the road.

    Becky B thanked misforminkGW
  • aprilneverends
    5 years ago

    I feel the best way would be to stain one color, both flooring materials being wood

    if the kitchen was tiles/stone/etc, then it's a different story. but it's very hard to pull off two different woods. You really need to have all sorts of elaborate things going on, like parquet, with alternating colors in patterns, to make a good job out of this transition. Simple planks would be better the same.

    Becky B thanked aprilneverends
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  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    This is the view of the 2 floors together. The front door is at the top of the picture, then the hallway, then (at the bottom) the dark brown wood that I am considering for the kitchen.

    Is there anyway to make a nice transition between the two? Truthfully, I love dark wood floors, but I don't want to have to change the entire house (dining room, living room, and hallway) just to match the kitchen, and avoid the transition. Is there any hope?


  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    This is the countertop that I am considering. It will be on white cabinets.


    Thank you for any help that you can give me!!!


  • eld6161
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I agree with Sheesh, I personally don't care for it. The transition is right in a sight line. Also, very dark wood will really show the dust. I have the same honey oak in my home and I appreciate the fact that it gives the appearance (at least) of always being clean.

    That said, my DD's both did renovations to their co=ops and both used a medium brown. It looks spectacular.

    But, if you are not willing to redo the adjoining areas, I would embrace the honey oak and continue it throughout.

    If you would consider redoing, I would go with a medium brown.

    I agree with April, for me, the only acceptable way would be to use an entirely different material such as slate or ceramic if I wanted to go dark. This is not my first choice as I think these materials are hard on the joints. For some, it's fine.

    Becky B thanked eld6161
  • Sds
    5 years ago

    I like the idea because it is atypical. You could add transition strip(s) of in between shades of wood for an ombre look graduating the light to dark; or alternate light/dark transition strip; or a transition strip pattern of both shades...

    Becky B thanked Sds
  • pugga
    5 years ago

    Could you do some sort of inlay border for your kitchen area? Here are a couple of examples of what I'm talking about.




    Becky B thanked pugga
  • pugga
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Ack! My photos disappeared. I'll add them again.

    What I'm thinking is some of the honey colored flooring inlaid into the perimeter of the dark flooring in your kitchen.

    Becky B thanked pugga
  • aprilneverends
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    yes, one can do that; that's what I call elaborate..needs to be highly considered too..

    will probably cost more in labor, take lots of time thinking and planning, and the result might still be mediocre. and the end won't justify the means.

    will be easier to stain all/continue existing oak

    there's a very good reason for this idea being atypical. you need to up your game tremendously to make it work. or so I feel

    I wanted to do a transition on the countertop..really wanted walnut butcherblock, but was advised against it next to sink and stove area..so I wanted to create a transition, between wood and Quartz, having no island, just an u-shape countertop, that would look cool enough to justify itself

    I did design a very cool thing in the end. It stayed cool on paper. Because in order to pull it off I'd probably pay what I payed for the whole kitchen remodel..Well maybe half.

    Still proud of myself of course, to tell the truth:)

    If it was two fabrics, would be easier...)

    Becky B thanked aprilneverends
  • aprilneverends
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Pugga..exactly..that's what I call upping the game.

    Will it be worth it?

    while the first photo is amazing it's not really a transition..it's a design..it's not done to mask something but as in its own right, Just because it's beautiful. They're not trying to do a transition

    second illustrates better..I can only imagine the cost..

    third..it says "we couldn't find same wood(happens all the time, don't I know), so we made the best of it"

    so one needs to weigh his options and know whether the result will be worthy of efforts. try to predict it, within the resources that he has.

    Becky B thanked aprilneverends
  • palimpsest
    5 years ago

    I think in a fairly typical newish house, the only way I would make such a transition is if I was using a different material on the kitchen floor as well.

    There are two aspects, possibly, about the dark choice that I don't care for: one is the drastic change in color, and 2 is the width of the flooring. The dark flooring is much wider. If you were going to do something like pugga suggests, the best way to execute it would be with exactly the same flooring in two different stain colors with the border piece picking up the stain color in the adjacent area. At this point though, you are getting into custom work which will likely be more expensive than refinishing the entire floor to match the new kitchen.

    I would probably match the kitchen to the rest of the house as closely as possible and site finish the entire thing to match, if I wanted to change. If that option is out of the budget, I would try to match the existing as close as I could.

    Becky B thanked palimpsest
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    5 years ago

    I had this dilemma when I decided to go with the original hard pine flooring found under the linoleum, yet the adjoining room (and rest of house) is 70+ yr old red oak. With the 2 different woods, and different width to the boards, no matching was possible -- I thought that matching the color wouldn't look right

    I went with a darker, more medium chocolate on the pine, and had the floor guys insert an oak strip running across the doorway (the rest of the floors ran lengthwise) that was stained a color pulled from the pine's color variation. Like you see in the pictures above, without the extra border inlay -- just the one piece at the border.

    I think it worked well -- sorry, don't have a picture to show you


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  • PRO
    Anglophilia
    5 years ago

    Most houses with hardwood floors keep the same color throughout. It just looks better and more spacious.

    Becky B thanked Anglophilia
  • Christy Reves
    5 years ago

    Can you believe it I am going through the exact same thing. We also had a water line in our kitchen break buckling up 700 square feet of our red oak hardwoods. What a mess. The floor guy is at our house now. This is not about me though. I think no matter what you decide on color it will not transition well because of the two different plank sizes and color. It also looks like the flooring is different...red oak and ?? Is the darker flooring pre finished? I hate to say this but I would probably go with a natural stone floor for your kitchen. However, your floors look finished. Is the honey stained already done or is it the area of undamaged flooring? If you have decided to stay with both of the flooring woods, I would do as palimpsest suggested and refinish all floors with same stain color and finish. It will be okay. Good luck.

    Becky B thanked Christy Reves
  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Thank you all so very much for your time and efforts in helping me with this dilemma. The vast majority of you are suggesting that I have the two floors match, and I appreciate and agree with that suggestion-but OH-how I don't want to do that! I can't believe that a 1/2" burst in a pipe has caused all of this trouble! I am so reluctant to stain the LR, DR, and hallways to match the dark wood! I just wanted to put in a kitchen so the house would be sell-able in the near future. Now it's grown to this huge project, only it is intensified by the fact that the woods are not only different colors, but different width planks.

    I truly appreciate everyone's time and suggestions. If there are any other suggestions that would eliminate me having to sand and stain the entire house, please let me know. I'm not giving up yet.

  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Christy---I'm so sorry for the problems that you are having, and really appreciate that you are sharing your situation with me. To answer your questions, the honey oak floor is undamaged, and the dark floor is pre-finished oak in "cocoa bean." I'm not sure what you mean by the "floor doesn't look real to me."

    I have no island, but the idea of a similar color honey oak floor in the kitchen is worth consideration, but it may be difficult to get a good match. It's not my first color choice for this kitchen, but it looks good in your picture.

  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Olychick-I am having a similar thought to yours, but I am thinking about putting in the darker brown floor in the kitchen now, and sanding the LR, DR, and hallway in the future. Of course the different plank size creates a problem and it may be a better idea to choose a narrower plank size for the kitchen.

  • Olychick
    5 years ago

    Becky, if you're trying to appeal to a future buyer, I think most people are going to look at the mismatch and think they have a big project to fix it if they buy your house. Is the lighter oak in the kitchen an impossibility or do you simply want dark floors there? I think it's going to be a big faux pas to mismatch them, not only the color, but the plank size. :-(

    Becky B thanked Olychick
  • My3dogs ME zone 5A
    5 years ago

    You may want to look into unfinished oak in the narrower width like you have in the adjoining room, and have it stained and finished on site to match the other well.

    I think what Oly means about 'fake wood' is the much larger grain pattern on the wider dark plank sample. It's very different than the narrower original strips of oak in the other room, and almost looks like wood-look tiles, as it's SO different from the next room.

    Here's a post from Houzz on dark kitchen floors - [Yay or Nay - Dark wooden kitchen floor[(https://www.houzz.com/discussions/yay-or-nay-dark-wooden-kitchen-floor-dsvw-vd~790553)

    Becky B thanked My3dogs ME zone 5A
  • nosoccermom
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I'd get site finished, and match to existing, sorry, same plank width and color.

    The proposed kitchen floor --- dark, wider plank, engineered (?) --- just looks too much like a "fix", not to mention that I find such dark floors terribly impractical and at least in my area, it's a trend that's on its way out.

    But then, I'm biased. I've had the natural oak floors for decades in the whole house.

    BTW, I had floors perfectly matched, including feathering (?) the transitions. My floors were running the opposite direction from yours where the new and old met.

    Becky B thanked nosoccermom
  • Nothing Left to Say
    5 years ago

    I would match. We extended our kitchen into the former laundry room at our last house and I was amazed at how perfectly the floor guy was able to match the floors. I was expecting it to be kinda sorta matching and had reconciled myself to that but it was perfect.


    I will echo that dark floors are the bane of my existence because show everything. This is the second house where I have been stuck with them because they were done that way before I bought the place.


    If you really want a contrast, I would go with a different material. Tile, marmoleum, cork. . . .

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  • Bunny
    5 years ago

    I would match the existing honey oak. It's beautiful. I don't care for the dark at all.

    Becky B thanked Bunny
  • writersblock (9b/10a)
    5 years ago

    I've been looking at cottages in an area where if anything has happened to the original floor in a room there is 0% chance of getting an exact match, since the wood of the original floors (Dade County Pine, a harder form of heart pine that only grew in S FL) is extinct and now sells by the inch as reclaimed wood. To replace even a 10 x 10 floor would cost more than a new roof.

    So it's quite common for people to use a totally different wood in a room where the floor has had to be replaced, with just a wooden threshold strip. But, it's also usual for people to choose floors that harmonize at least moderately well with the existing floor, which I'm afraid your dark floor doesn't do.

    I agree with the others: if you can't match the honey oak, at least choose something that goes well with it.


    Becky B thanked writersblock (9b/10a)
  • Christy Reves
    5 years ago

    Becky, I am really relating to you believe me. Huge expense, mess, and disappointment. Especially when someone tells you what you want can't be done without the mess and expense. A contractor once told me "We can make it happen and do about anything it is about how much you want to spend". Our current floor guy told us that different wood takes up stain differently. That being said even if you want to refinish current red oak to match the dark or lighten the dark to match the red oak the finished product most likely will not match, but you probably already know that. Best wishes...feelin' your pain.

    Becky B thanked Christy Reves
  • katinparadise
    5 years ago

    Becky, if you're considering resale in the near future, you have to take "you" out of the decision. Most buyers are going to want to see flooring that matches throughout. I would go ahead and match the width, species and stain of your current flooring. It will have much more visual appeal. People are moving away from dark floors because they show every scratch, water mark and spec of dust.

    Becky B thanked katinparadise
  • tnfarmhouselove
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Beautiful counter choice. I would match the honey oak that you have and think about staining everything in a medium brown color down the road if you would like a change.

    I've had different wood flooring meeting up in doorways and didn't mind the look, but that's a big contrast in both color, width, and wood type.

    Also, having recently moved from a house with very dark wood floors, I don't think I would ever choose them again. Although beautiful, they showed every little speck of dust and looked dirty soon after cleaning. I'm actually loving the medium brown floors in my new house, and don't feel compelled to vacuum very day.

    If I were putting in new floors I would go even lighter, with more of a natural white oak finish.

    Becky B thanked tnfarmhouselove
  • powermuffin
    5 years ago

    I agree with Pal and Olychick, the size of the darker strips as well as its finish just do not go with the existing oak floors. Even if you stain all of the existing floors to match and have a top coat that is the same shine as your existing floors, the look will not work.

    Becky B thanked powermuffin
  • aprilneverends
    5 years ago

    Well..personally, I love darker floors(less dark than in example but doesn't matter), that's a question of preference and architectural style of the house..and we don't know whether Becky's going to list..

    so while all is true, and agree literally with every response-that' probably less relevant to the question...

    what's relevant though-can such transition be done, whether it can be done successfully if yes, and will it be cheaper/easier, than that another obvious messy etc solution of matching the wood throughout?

    and I think -no..either won't be successful, or won't be cheaper or easier..

    so I think..in this house stuff as literally in everything, one needs to pick his battles..

    and this is a battle I wouldn't pick

    I'd try to match the existing floor, same width of planks and all..who knows you might be lucky..even though the companies do change their merchandise every 3 to 5 years as i've learned(why?)..or at least they invent new names to make it especially hard for you to find what you're looking for. But as I've said..you might get lucky. And thus avoid the big refinishing mess.

    Or. Is there any other material that might make you feel even a bit excited and happy that'd go with your future choices, including the countertop, when you enter your new kitchen?

    Becky B thanked aprilneverends
  • jlj48
    5 years ago

    I think that the honey oak floors are beautiful. They show the wood grain and give warmth. They are timeless and classic. Although I love the look dark wood floors, they tend to be trendy, and not as desirable for many for all the reasons mentioned here. If I were you I would embrace the honey oak floors and find as close a match to them as you can and continue them into your kitchen. You can always bring in dark elements through rugs, a dark bamboo blind, a dark stand alone piece of furniture, lighting,ect. A different flooring material could be considered as well, but I don't think you would be happy with a vinyl floor and I have ceramic tile now and hate it. It is cracked, everything breaks into a million pieces that falls on it, and most importantly it hurts my legs and back to stand on it for long periods of time cooking.

    Becky B thanked jlj48
  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I love the honey oak floors, as well. They are beautiful and practical! However, the kitchen look that I love is a marble type quartz countertop, with a dark brown floor. My head is spinning from all of the suggestions because all are good, but not one is PERFECT for me. If I do tile in my kitchen, I will have to raise the back door. If I do wood, it is impractical due to water issues. If I do vinyl, it is vinyl (looks like a wood imposter) and may have carcinogenic problems. If I want dark brown, the consensus is that I will need to change the color of my LR, DR, and hallways, and since I love the honey oak in the whole house, I am having a difficult time reconciling myself to staining it dark brown to match the kitchen. OMG!! I never thought remodeling a kitchen would be so much work!!

    I can't tell you how much I do appreciate your comments, even though my head is spinning!! I do believe that it is better to be educated about as much as possible, before I do make a decision. If I could do an emoji here, I would send you all a kiss!!

  • katinparadise
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    My sister has hardwoods in her kitchen and has no problems with water. Think about houses that were built 200 years ago. They had wood because there were really no other options and they last and last. You had mentioned selling in the near future? How far off is that? Have you talked to a realtor in your area who can give you some ideas of what buyers in your area are looking for?

    Becky B thanked katinparadise
  • Elaine Wilson
    5 years ago

    The best way is to not sweat it. I've been in beautiful homes where wood flooring is not matched.

    Matched YAWN.

    If it concerns you so much I'd put a beautiful small wool area rug made in India in the door way opening. Beautiful rugs are jewelry, no one will notice the transition.

    Becky B thanked Elaine Wilson
  • Sherry
    5 years ago

    Becky, My house was built in 1965 and it was done that way on purpose by the builder.

    Becky B thanked Sherry
  • Olychick
    5 years ago

    I have hardwoods in the kitchen and also in my master bath. When I was researching about putting them in the bath (worried about water issues), I was convinced by people on some forums here, that regardless of the flooring, if you have a serious leak or flooding, it's going to ruin whatever floor you have. Or at least it's going to have to be pulled out in order to avoid mold and underlayment issues. So, I wouldn't have any worries about using wood in your kitchen, esp site finished oak. It will stand up to anything, barring a serious leak or flood.

    I understand your desire for a dark floor "However, the kitchen look that I love is a marble type quartz countertop, with a dark brown floor" but since you are expecting to sell soon, I would think a cohesive, coordinated floor throughout the house, will appeal to more people than the look you want (when it's so different from the rest of the house). Maybe you can make your preferred look, the look you want for this kitchen, your goal for the house you'll be buying to replace this one?

    Becky B thanked Olychick
  • aprilneverends
    5 years ago

    Beautiful homes with mismatched flooring were usually either done in time when labor was different and craftsmanship was different, or are done now, with the amount of money enough to bring best trades and craftsmen to pull this all off.

    I tend to think that an ordinary homeowner has less chance to get something like this done to his full satisfaction.

    We poured tons of money in our remodel..yet we were considered "tight budget clients"..and the best people the GC had were sent to much wealthier folks. So some trades were still very good and good, and some could be better. And the more seamless elaborate work you want-the more you should be prepared to pay.

    That's not about boring or exciting. That's about-do you have resources to make something complicated work as you want it to work?

    if the answer is "unlikely"-don't start.

    Becky B thanked aprilneverends
  • ydmorales69
    5 years ago

    Hi, Becky- I am having a similar not so similar situation. I am first time homebuyer- and I purchased a home that is open concept so all the rooms are one big room and unfortunately I want different floors for every room but since I don't think that would look nice I decided to pick one type of floor so that everything transitions neatly, I decided on staying with a classic honey oak wood and I came across your post... those honey oak floors are beautiful, I love how shiny they are, the size of the planks, that is the floor I finalized on but I was back and forth on how I would transition the wood floors and ultimately decided to stay with one.

    I hope this helps if any, since I am new to all this homeownership stuff.

    Becky B thanked ydmorales69
  • Becky B
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Love my honey oak living room. Easy to clean, always looks great! Lots of luck on your new home! Thanks for writing to me!

  • PRO
    Daniels Floors
    4 years ago

    Please have the floors all stained the same color. The patchwork look you have really detracts from all of the other elements you are adding.

    Becky B thanked Daniels Floors
  • SJ McCarthy
    4 years ago

    Here are two options in order of importance:

    1. Install MATCHING species/width/cut and have it SITE FINISHED in a DIFFERENT COLOUR!!!! That way you can have your cake and eat it too. The resale add will say "oak hardwood through". That way the NEXT homeowner can decide the NEXT colour without swearing a blue streak about the person who was "too cheap" to match one floor to another. This to me is the best of both worlds.

    2. Choose another PRODUCT. Yes. A different MATERIAL allows you to choose colours as you see fit. A travertine-look porcelain tile in chocolate would be STUNNING and there would be NO CONCERN about different woods competing with one another.

    Done and dusted. Either way you go, you are creating a space for SOMEONE ELSE. And that someone is going to be critical of your personal choices. So best be safe and either match the wood (site finished and all) or you stay away from wood and throw down some stunning porcelain tile that gives the look YOU want without alienating the next buyer.

    Becky B thanked SJ McCarthy
  • Becky B
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Hi! Thanks for the suggestions! The bad news is that I can't put in tile because there is only one inch between the plywood floor and the bottom of the door to the deck. It wouldn't leave enough room for the door to close freely. So wood is my choice.

    I like the idea you presented in number 1 ("DIFFERENT COLOUR"), but in your final paragraph, it looks like you are suggesting to "match the wood (site finished and all"). I would do that but I have a huge wall unit that would need to be dismantled, and although I don't want it anymore, I am not ready to totally redecorate. It is so infuriating that a 1/2" hole in a pipe caused all this damage, as it is!!

    So I am thinking of a medium color brown oak (Sierra by Mirage). I think that works for your suggestion. New home buyers can change the wood to any color they want.

    Well, I guess I answered my own question. If you have anything to add, I am still interested in hearing from you -or anyone else.

    Thanks for your time!!!

  • deegw
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Is the door wood? If so, you can trim the bottom of the door and add weather stripping to accommodate tile. I love the look of slate look floors in kitchens and they would work really well with your marble, white cabinets and existing wood floor.

    Daltile continental slate

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