How to Use Different Wood Floors in Adjoining Rooms

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how to use different wood floors in adjoining rooms

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably had someone tell you to run the same hardwood floors throughout your entire house.

And while there are some benefits – like creating a flow and making a small space look bigger, matching your hardwood floors isn’t necessary.

You can use two different hardwoods in adjoining rooms. As long as you’re mindful of your floor choices and transition, it looks great and allows you to add personality to individual spaces.

To use different wood floors in adjoining rooms, pick floors that are noticeably different from each other. You’ll also need to use an appropriate transition strip and avoid starting the new flooring material in the middle of a room.

Here’s what to do.

Different Color Hardwood Floors in Adjacent Rooms: Making it Look Right

different color hardwood floors in adjacent rooms

If you’re adding a new hardwood floor in an adjacent room that has a wall and door, you can make it look fantastic with minimal effort. 

However, if you’re trying to butt two hardwood floor types up to each other in an open concept, making it look right is much more difficult.

Here’s what to consider for each situation.

Don’t Use Similar Woods

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when using different woods in adjoining rooms is picking hardwoods similar in color and size. Doing this makes it look like you’re trying to match your floors but accidentally got the wrong kind.

Instead, you want your floors to be noticeably different in each room.

It’s okay to use flooring with similar undertones but make sure the new floor you bring in is at least a couple of shades lighter or darker than your existing floor. Of course, you can also pick something of a completely different color or width.

Use the Right Transition

You never want to lay two types of hardwoods next to each without a transition. Doing so looks like you’re trying to blend the two floors, which is not what you are trying to do.

In an open concept floor plan, the transitions are extremely important. Your transition needs to start where a new room would naturally begin. You can use a decorative transition, T-molding, or create a border.

You can also lay the new flooring in a different pattern. 

Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of butting the new floor directly against the old floor. Instead, take your time to choose an appropriate transition for your space.

Consider the Layout

The one thing you shouldn’t do is start your new flooring right in the middle of the room. Instead, there needs to be a natural transition where one room stops and another begins – this is extremely important if you’re working in an open-concept space.

If you are putting hardwood floors in an adjoining room with a door, run the new flooring in the opposite direction of the older flooring.

Does it Look Bad to Use Different Flooring in Different Rooms?

does it look bad to use different flooring in different rooms

It’s harder to make different hardwood floorings look good than it is using one type of hardwood throughout your entire home – but it’s not impossible.

There are many benefits to using two types of hardwoods, including:

  • Giving different rooms some personality
  • Creating a fun pattern
  • Cost savings
  • Slowly phasing out your old hardwoods by replacing them with the kind you prefer

As long as you are mindful of the transition and don’t use hardwood that looks too similar, you’ll have no problem working it into your home’s design.

Can I Use Different Hardwoods in My Kitchen and Living Room?

If your kitchen and living room are open concept, it’s challenging to make two hardwood floors look good together. But there are some things you can try:

Use colors that look good together – If you have a very red oak in your living room, avoid using a cherry floor in your kitchen. Since they have very similar undertones, they won’t look right next to each other.

Consider a pattern or border – In an open concept, you should generally run your hardwood floors all the same direction. The big exception is if you decide to do a pattern like a herringbone or run a border around one of the rooms.

Go with a different type of floor – If you’re still worried that two hardwood floors won’t look right next to each other in the kitchen or living room, consider a different floor type. You can go with carpet, tile, or patterned vinyl – all of which look excellent next to hardwoods.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq how to use different wood floors in adjoining rooms

Can I put different wood floors in the bedrooms?

You can put different wood floors in a bedroom without any problem. However, you should consider using the same wood floor for all bedrooms, even if that’s different from what’s in the rest of your home.

Consider running the flooring in your bedroom opposite the hallway.

Can you mix light and dark hardwood floors?

If you’re using different wood floors in adjoining rooms, you can use light and dark. In fact, if you want to create a statement, you can use a dark walnut and a pale white oak. For an open concept, create a noticeable transition between the two.

What type of floor looks good next to hardwood floors?

The best flooring to put next to hardwood is tile or carpet. You can use practically any color of these flooring choices with your wood floor. 

It’s more complicated (not impossible) to run a laminate or wood-look vinyl plank next to hardwoods while making it look good.

Final Thoughts

Using a different hardwood floor is incredibly easy if you have an adjoining room with a wall and door. Just make sure your new floors are noticeably different from your old floor – if not, it will look like you made a mistake trying to match them.

For open concepts, using two wood floors is a bit trickier. You need to make sure your floors coordinate without looking matchy and that you use an appropriate transition between the two.

Photo of author


Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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