Can You Use Different Wood Floors on Different Levels?

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can you use different wood floors on different levels

If you’re getting ready to purchase wood floors for one level of your home but already have hardwoods on the other, you’re probably wondering if they should match.

The good news is that you don’t have to use the same flooring on all levels. And if you’ll be using different wood floors in your home, splitting it up between two levels is one of the easiest methods.

To make sure using different woods on different levels looks right, there are three rules you can follow. First, choose flooring materials that complement each other. Secondly, use your stairs to tie the two materials together. Third, make sure the floors are the same style. 

Here’s what else to consider.

How to Put Different Wood Floors on Different Levels

how to put different wood floors on different levels

Putting two types of hardwood flooring in one home is sometimes a challenge – especially when those floors butt up to one another. Luckily, putting hardwoods on different levels is much easier.

To ensure the flooring in your home correctly flows, follow these three tips.

Choose Floors that Complement Each Other

When using different wood flooring in your home, choose floors that look good together. Do this by choosing flooring with similar undertones.

For example, if you have cherry on your first floor, you can put red oak on your second floor. Both flooring choices have warm red undertones, yet cherry is usually much darker than red oak.

Another option is to use the same wood species only in a different stain. For example, consider a white oak on the second floor if you have a medium brown oak on your first level.

Consider the Transition 

Your transition is the make or break when it comes to using two different hardwoods.

In an ideal world, the two materials you’ve selected effortlessly work together, and you can use one for the riser and one for the tread of your stairs, perfectly tying the look together. 

Unfortunately, most of the time this doesn’t work.

Instead, you have two other choices. The first is using your dominant floor color for the stairs. (This is usually the lower level color.) 

The second is adding a stair runner to complete the look. You can use a stair runner with both wood colors for an easy transition.

Keep with the Style of Your Home

An often overlooked but essential tip for coordinating wood floors is to make sure they’re the same style and match your house.

For example, if you live in a traditional home, don’t clad your upstairs in a sleek gray hardwood. Likewise, don’t use knotty pine or driftwood floors if you have a modern house.

If your house is modern, make sure your flooring choices for both levels are also modern – even if they’re different. 

Should Flooring Go in the Same Direction on Both Levels?

When using different floors on different levels of your home, you also need to consider the orientation of the hardwoods.

Luckily the rule stays the same no matter where you’re installing your floors. As a general rule of thumb, run your hardwood flooring parallel to the longest wall in the room.

Pros and Cons of Using Different Wood Floors on Different Levels

pros and cons using different wood floors on different levels

If you’re debating whether to use different hardwoods on different levels or keep them all the same, it comes down to personal preference.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons.


  • You can give each level a distinct personality
  • Easier to buy new flooring than match up with the old
  • The best option if you don’t like your downstairs hardwood floors


  • Not cohesive
  • The transition between two hardwoods is challenging to get right
  • Can make a small house appear smaller

Frequently Asked Questions

faq can you use different wood floors on different levels

Is it bad to have different flooring in different rooms?

While having different flooring in different rooms is not bad, it can make a house feel a bit choppy. If you have an open concept, it’s best to use the same flooring throughout. Then, you can add different types of floors to bedrooms.

How many different types of flooring should be in a house?

There’s no set rule on how many different types of flooring should be in a house. Most houses have 2-4 depending on their size. The most important thing is to be mindful of transitions – especially if you’re putting two types of hardwood floors next to each other.

Can bedrooms have different flooring than the rest of the house?

It is 100% okay for bedrooms to have different flooring than the rest of the house. Since bedrooms are closed off, feel free to give them their own personalities and use flooring you love, even if it’s different from what’s in the hall or the rest of the house.

Final Thoughts

Using different wood floors on different levels in your home is perfectly fine. However, if you want to make sure your house still flows properly, there are three basic rules you can follow. These rules are to use woods that complement each other, pay attention to the transition, and use the same style throughout your home.

The most important of these rules is to use your stairs to create a smooth transition. You can do this by incorporating the wood colors in your risers and treads or using a stair runner.

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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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