When you buy a home, oftentimes, you’ll have multiple types of flooring throughout the house. And it might not be the look you want, but is it necessarily “wrong”?
It can be tough to ensure flooring looks seamless and intentional throughout the house. And if you have wooden stairs, you may be wondering if they need to match your floor. Is it possible to create a cohesive look if your stairs and floor aren’t made of the same material?
Wooden stairs don’t have to match your floor. It’s not necessary for them to be the exact same type of wood or stain. In fact, mixing different elements can create an interesting interior. However, having matching wooden stairs and flooring will make your space look more cohesive.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the pros and cons of matching the rest of your flooring to the stairs. I’ll also suggest ways to make wooden stairs look good if they don’t match the floor.
Pros and Cons of Matching Your Stairs to the Floor
Every floor medium has benefits and drawbacks. If you’re considering renovating your home, one of the decisions you may have to make is whether or not to match your wooden stairs to the floor. Matching them can be a great way to add a sense of continuity and harmony in the home, but there are also some potential downsides to consider.
Matching your wooden stairs to the floor can help create balance, symmetry, and continuity throughout the entire space. It can also add sophistication and value to your living space.
- It creates a more elegant, seamless look. Matching your wooden stairs to the floor is a good idea if you want to create a more cohesive look. The stairs and floor are far less likely to clash if they are made of the same material. A smooth transition from flooring to stairs is much more aesthetically pleasing than two shades of wood or material.
- It’s easier to maintain. When your floor and stairs are made from the same material, you won’t need to worry about different cleaning strategies for each surface. You’ll only need one type of cleaner to maintain both surfaces. Furthermore, there’s less risk that either will be damaged by incorrect cleaners or techniques.
- It can be less expensive. Matching a wooden stair with a similarly colored hardwood floor can save money in the long run. When you choose floors that match the color and grain pattern of your existing wooden stairs, you don’t need to worry about paying for additional labor costs associated with trying to match them together.
Though matching your flooring and stairs is generally considered a good idea, there are also a few drawbacks to keeping the material the same.
- Renovations can cost more money. Redoing stairs to match the floor is expensive. However, placing new flooring to match the stairs isn’t any cheaper. Adding flooring to stairs often increases your overall flooring cost by about $1,000 to $2,000, and a complete remodel can cost anywhere up to $10,000.
- Some flooring types get discontinued. Finding the exact same laminated wood design or tile pattern can be difficult. Floor types are discontinued daily, and if you don’t have access to spare material, you may end up with mismatched floors after repairs.
- Matching wood grains requires expertise. Using actual wood ensures you won’t run out of supply, but sometimes matching wood grains requires the skill of an expert. Paying attention to how they run and face when laying a new floor isn’t easy.
- Matching stains is hard. If you don’t know what brand or color the stain on your floor is, it’s hard to match it precisely with the staircase. It will take some trial and error to get the correct color, or at least one that looks close.
The biggest drawback to matching stairs with your floor is the time it will take to get an exact match. It’s time-consuming because so much research goes into finding the suitable material and color to match the floor. Plus, you may have difficulty deciding whether the stairs should match the floor upstairs or downstairs.
Ways To Make Your Wooden Stairs Look More Cohesive
If you aren’t sure whether matching your wooden stairs to your floor is something you want to commit to, there are several ways to make your wooden stairs look great, regardless of your flooring material.
Remember, matching your stairs to your flooring isn’t required to make the room look nice. Many homeowners prefer a more artsy touch and purposely opt for mismatched floors and stairs. The key is finding the right elements that work together even if they don’t match perfectly. For example, you could choose two different shades of hardwood or laminate flooring that contrast nicely while still creating an overall cohesive look.
So let’s take a quick look at how you can make your wooden stairs look great without matching them to your flooring.
Apply a Similar Stain
To make your wooden stairs look good, even if they don’t exactly match the floor, is to apply a stain that’s similar to the one used on the floor. Using the same shade of stain will help disguise the wood. The closer your colors match, the better it will look, especially if your flooring runs to the stairs.
You can see in my house, the flooring is acacia, and the stair treads are oak. By using a stain that matched the mid-tone of the flooring color, we were able to achieve a fairly seamless look:
Use Complementary Colors
If you don’t want to use the same color as the rest of your floors, using complementary colors for your stairs is an excellent way to create a more coordinated look. Many homeowners opt for more vibrant colored stairs or black and white colorations. Black and white are always a safe bet if you don’t want to match the wood exactly, as they aren’t too jarring next to most shades of flooring.
Try Mixed Floors
You can also opt for a mixed-floor look. A floor is considered mixed if you use two mediums on the stairs. For example, you might have wooden stairs with a strip of carpet running down the center. This kind of flooring is excellent for disguising that you have different flooring materials on your stairs.
You can get extra creative with the carpet runner and find something that fits your home’s decor style. Additionally, the color of the wooden stairs that peek out is less important since a strip of carpet will mostly cover them.
Tile or Decorate the Risers
Another excellent way to draw attention from your stair’s mismatched materials is to decorate the risers. Now you can get as creative or stay as basic as you want with this. Painting risers white is a great way to give the stairs some height from the flooring and to keep attention away from the wood.
You can also take decorating a step further using tile murals, wallpaper, or by painting some fun designs. These artsy touches will undoubtedly capture attention, and how well your stairs match your other flooring will be an afterthought.
If you want a better idea of what you can do with your stair risers, watch the video below:
Your wooden stairs don’t have to match your floor. But if you prefer to create a more cohesive, seamless look, you can choose to match your staircase with your floor. Doing so can be expensive, so make sure you plan accordingly.
With the right design and technique, you can improve the look of your wooden stairs, even if they don’t necessarily match your floor. Some fantastic budget-friendly ideas can make both your flooring and stairs look elegant.