The Hardwood Floor Finish Decision Might Surprise You!

Hi Everyone,

I didn’t intend for this to be three posts. Alas, I needed to divide it up, which you’ll see why in a sec. If you missed the two-part post discussing the latest floor finishes, please go here. I also added one new company that a lovely reader told me about. It’s another low-VOC product from Europe and is sold here.


So, I have spent many hours making numerous renderings similar to the ones I made nearly three years ago.


I used the same base image as I used in November 2020, an hour after I closed. This was before any furniture was brought in. Then, I found the table I love, from Englishman’s but in a better perspective.

The table I’ve been using is two demilune tables, but it’s a little too small. I thought I could use a slightly larger table pad, but it scoots around and sometimes doesn’t work well.

One issue with these renderings is if doing a shiny finish; we don’t see the reflections from the windows, which definitely lightens up the floor a lot.

Choosing a floor finish can be an agonizing decision because it very much affects the feeling of the room.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t hate the finish as it is now, except it has to be redone because there will be parts that are new wood.


That’s upstairs and down.

The other thing and this is an important point, is that the kitchen is all white.

Therefore, looking into the kitchen, I want to see warmth.

Let’s look first at some of the renderings I’ve created for the floor and also the floor as it is.


Okay, I did a whole mess of finishes on Picmonkey.


But, first, let’s look at an image of the floor as it looked two years ago.

My Boston apartment dining area new table pad - November 2021 golden oak floors
Pretty yellow, ain’t it. And, I put as much blue in the image as I possibly could.

At night, however, it looks like this. (below)

my living room holiday 2021-warm lighting
See what I mean?

my Boston living room February 2022
However, most of the time, during the day, it’s pretty much like this.


So, let’s look at the Picmonkey renderings.


CommAve dark floor October 2023

Floor 1

This is a traditional English Chestnut. My finish would have more of a sheen.

While this isn’t how the furniture is arranged, the entire back third of the room will be rugless.

CommAve chestnut floor October 2023

Here it is with more furniture. I am not necessarily going to have black chairs. It feels quite traditional and a little heavy to me.


What happens if the floor finish is black or ebony?


CommAve black floor October 2023

Floor 2

During the day, I think it would begin to weigh me down. At night, I would be in heaven. However, I need to like it both times.

Floor 3

There are some yellowish highlights I had trouble getting rid of.

CommAve dark floor October 2023 natural pale floor

Floor 4

I went even further with this color because I love it. If the floorboards were super wide, maybe, but they’re not. On further reflection, I don’t think it’s right. It’s not right for this house in Back Bay, Boston. However, if you look up Sir John Soane’s Museum, some floors inside are this color.

Above is a historically accurate no-stain 18th c. hardwood floor.

lovely pale oak hardwood floor
This is very similar to Jasper Conran’s floor!

Then, I thought, “What color were Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello floors?”

They look to be a Chestnut color, not super dark, but not light, either. It’s pretty much what you would expect.


However, what were the floors when Monticello (late 18th, early 19th c.) was built?


They were probably more like the floors above.

But, here’s the part that’s one of the coolest things ever. While researching the floors inside Jefferson’s Monticello masterpiece, I found another website (Enbois Flooring) that featured a floor color named “Monticello.”

Okay, not bad, I thought. Then, it said: “See this in your room.”

Well, okay, I thought this was going to be a disaster. So, I uploaded my image, and what appeared on my screen about 20 seconds later shocked me immensely.

En Bois Flooring - Monticello - 04 Oct 2023 01 20 06 GMT
Floor 5 (Monticello from

Not only did their program get the floor exactly where it was supposed to be, but it put shadows on the virtual chairs and table!  These are images of furniture with the background removed. The shadows weren’t there! I mean, all I had to do was sit here and look pretty.

To boot, I very much like this natural floor white oak floor color.


It’s pretty close to my floor, #3.

However, I looked at nearly every color on the website.

Of course, I did. ;]

Now, I won’t show them all to you, but I will show you a few more.

Avignon Enbois Flooring in my living room.

Floor 6

This is one of their darkest colors, much like Minwax’s English Chestnut. Again, there’s no shine.

This is also similar to Steve Cordony’s floor color in his double front parlor. Actually, Steve’s floor is darker than this.

But, but, but… 90% of it is covered with his rug and furniture.

Plus, if I did a dark floor, I HAVE to do a rug.

Let’s look at a few more of the Enbois Flooring images.

ritz cove enbois flooring

Floor 7

This one’s called Ritz Cove. This is along the lines of Gerald Bland’s country home floor, but his floor is wide-planked pine. However, this color is maybe even closer to what I currently have. This one could work.

Gerald Bland exquiste not bland decor - white slipcovers - fabulous old oil painting - white walls

It looks like they took the finish off and just waxed the floors, which is what they did IF they finished the floors in the early to mid-19th century.

In more recent images, seen on Gerald’s Instagram, it looks like the floors may have darkened a bit, naturally.

Seriously beautiful!

Delano Enbois flooring

Floor 8

Delano is another finish I like that’s similar to Monticello but with a little more red. These no-color finishes would be flat to maybe a slight satin finish.

En Bois Flooring - Monticello - 04 Oct 2023 01 20 06 GMT
Monticello is pretty much what unstained white oak looks like.

Another important consideration is the floor juxtaposed next to the black and white painted floor in the entry and kitchen.

Coronado Residence Betsy Burnham Design - light hardwood floor stain black and white checkerboard floor

Above is a Betsy Burnham favorite with a black and white painted floor and a medium light finish similar to Delano in the background.

In closing, while the floor color is important, it’s literally and figuratively a supporting player in the scheme of things. Frankly, if someone comes over and then they are asked later what color the floors are unless I pointed it out to them, they should say something to the effect:

“Ya know, I don’t really remember the living room floors, only the stunning checkerboard as I came in. Whatever it was, it looked nice.”

Besides, I believe I passed out when I stepped into the kitchen and saw the exquisite, gleaming cremone bolts on those dramatically tall glass doors.”


Okay, that’s pretty much it. The floor only needs to look nice.


So, what do you guys think?


By the way, I received a sample from Wilmette Hardware of the polished nickel finish. And, indeed, *I* nearly passed out. It’s gorgeous! Incidentally, it was wrapped a thousand times better than either of those glass shades.  In addition, Wilmette sent me a stunning book of their entire line. They are a class act, for sure!



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Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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