Playing with Light

24 Jun 2020

Light has a vital role to play when choosing a wood floor. It has the ability to change the mood and ambience of a room, just as much as it can cleverly manipulate the size and shape of a space. Lighting also has a significant effect on how wood flooring color can look.

Combine lighting techniques with the effects of a light colored wood floorboard, such as white or a grey, and a room can instantly be lifted from dark and dismal, to bright and spacious.

As seen in our Loft project, our beautiful Fendi board from the Venture Plank collection is visually accentuated by the elegant, light-filled space that is made bright and airy through white walls, large windows and a stunning skylight.

A characterful board, the natural light here helps to emphasise the Fendi wood’s natural grains and knotting which adds an appealing sense of personality to the room, due to the striking organic material.

The effect of sunshine and light quality on wood flooring offers an opportunity to be playful within interiors and embrace seasonal changes throughout the year – creating a space that is cool and welcoming during some months, and warm and relaxing during others. Using natural light wherever possible will ensure that the wood flooring is being showcased at its best.

Project: Loft 10:4, London
Products Used: HW3606 Fendi

Light can be used to create rich and dramatic spaces, especially when utilised to accentuate dark wood flooring. In these darker rooms, natural light can provide a more spacious feel to any space, whereas pendant or statement lighting offers a more stylised finishing look.

Dark wood flooring offers a classic, timeless and traditional look that can act as a sophisticated backdrop to furniture and walls, however it’s easy for it to become too intense and overpowering without clever planning. Light can be used to brighten and highlight, transforming dark wood into a stunning focal point, creating rich and dramatic spaces.

For a harmonious aesthetic, wood furniture should match the warmth of the floors, but be a few shades lighter. For example, grey or dark wood floors work well with pale, weathered furniture, and warm, rich floors work better with medium- to light-toned wood furniture like cherry or maple. Lighter wood furniture and white walls will provide contrast to dark wood floors without appearing stark.

Project: Mulberry Restaurant, Conwy
Products Used: HW16604 Pallido Chevron

Project: Derby County Football Club
Products Used: HW16604 Pallido Chevron

Sunshine isn’t the only light that can have an effect on the look of wood flooring - artificial light can also have a dramatic impact and the effect should not be underestimated. Incandescent and soft white florescent bulbs intensify warm wood colors but tend to fade cooler colors, while halogen and full-spectrum bulbs most closely mimic the bright light of natural sunlight.

The same product can appear warm and rich under one light, and then cool and stark under another. Depending on the wood material and finish, wood flooring can be a reflective surface, much like a tile, meaning that its warmth can appear yellow or golden in color depending on the light shining upon it, otherwise it may appear completely washed out under an artificial light. By using multiple sources of artificial lighting and ensuring that all darker areas of flooring are well lit, you can open up a room that can, in the wrong light, feel compact.

The type of light fixture in the room will also affect the way wood flooring looks. Indirect lighting aims light towards ceilings or walls to highlight certain areas and, similarly, lampshades can change the look of flooring too, depending on the color of the shade and the strength of the lightbulb.

Pro tip: Order a sample and examine it in different rooms or areas of your project. You should also try leaving it in the same place at different times of day. Even natural sun light changes color throughout the day.