How to choose color for Vinyl Plank Flooring

I’m so excited for today’s post! The last time I talked about floors, the plan was to paint a diamond design on the concrete. I think it would have worked fine, looked nice (and been a tedious nightmare) but my dream has always been to have wood looking floors. Like, even at out last house, we stained the concrete a dark brown color because I wanted something warm like wood. So, when I got the opportunity to work with Karndean Design Flooring, I JUMPED. Karndean Design Flooring is gifting our floors but all words, opinions and waffling between options are my own Keep scrolling for tips for choosing a floor color.

Why LVP?

Choosing flooring can be so overwhelming. Not only are there a million different kinds but then there are a million different finishes, tones, undertones, colors etc. Really quickly, I was drawn to luxury vinyl plank because it’s waterproof and scratch resistant which makes it life (kid, pet, mess etc) friendly. The contractor I work with on design projects recommends them and they usually come with a lifetime residential warranty which makes me feel pretty confident. Karndean has all of these qualities and meets high standards in way of their environmental impact too. Read about that here.

Choosing the right color/ style

There are a few steps I went though to narrow down the many choices and get to the right color for us:


How much difference do I want between each board? I knew I didn’t want much.

For example, this is Washed Grey Ash. It’s really pretty but see how the different pieces are different shades? I didn’t want that look for our house.

as opposed to North American Oak where you can’t really tell one plank from another. (this one was one of my top contenders)

I was able to look through the catalog to check on the ones I liked and make sure there wasn’t too much variation happening.


Next, I thought about some of my favorite things about our house and what tones we already use. As much as I first thought I wanted to stay with neutral, more washed out tones, I realized most of my favorite things in our house lean a bit warm/ brown/ orange.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

For example, our reading room shelves.

floating book shelf wall

or our cedar shake in the laundry room:

cedar shingles in laundry

Again, it doesn’t mean I have to choose floors to match but it does tell me that cooler grey floors probably wouldn’t look the best.

Bring Samples Home

Based on those things, I grabbed some of my favorite floors and brought samples home. Do not pick your floors in a showroom. Your home has different lighting. You should make your final choice from home. I was so thankful that Karndean offered me full sized planks. It’s really hard to tell from the little squares you can take home from flooring stores. Here are the ones I brought home:

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples
colors from top to bottom: North American Oak, Canadian Urban Oak, Smoked Butternut, Warm Brushed Oak


Right away I could tell that the darkest one, although I love the details on the planks, was too dark. Another things to be on the look out for, the shade (lightness or darkness) of the flooring you want. Here’s a trick, take a picture and then turn the saturation down so that it’s a grayscale image.  This will help you see if your new flooring will be lighter or darker than what you have currently. Which will give you a little better idea of what things will look like when the whole floor is different.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples
colors (in grayscale) from top to bottom: North American Oak, Canadian Urban Oak, Smoked Butternut, Warm Brushed Oak

I really love the shade of our concrete floors so I mostly picked mid-tone colors that would mimic what we already have. You can see, in grayscale, they’re all pretty similar except for ‘smoked butternut’

Pick some non-negotiables

From there I laid the others out in the kitchen. I picked a few things in our home that I cared about the most and made sure the floors looked good with those things. For me, I picked the sofa, the cedar plank wall, the kitchen cabinets and the book shelves in the reading room.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

From here, with these 3 finalists in the kitchen, I picked the two on the right (top to bottom: North American oak and warm brushed oak) to move to the second round. DING DING DING.

Take pictures

Use your phone to take pictures. Sometimes the pictures, looking at the same thing on a flat screen, can act as another viewpoint or another set of eyes. Scroll through them and let them help you. I moved them into the laundry room and didn’t really like the lines I was seeing in the ‘warm brushed oak’ one on the left.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples
Warm Brushed Oak, North American Oak

























So I was down to ‘North American Oak’ and I pulled ‘Canadian Urban Oak’ just to make sure.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

They looked so different in the kitchen but seem much more similar here. I moved them around some more.

Here’s North American Oak in the entry way by the stairs:

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

Then Canadian Urban Oak

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

Here’s where I got tripped up and thought I had a winner. North American Oak matched the stairs exactly.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

But, remember my list of favorite spots above? The stairs weren’t on my list.. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stairs but I pretty much immediately felt like they were a bit too warm for me. They’re paintable or maybe I can even match whatever floors we end up with but I knew from the start that I didn’t want to base my floor pick off of the stairs. Canadian Urban Oak doesn’t match the stairs but the finishes aren’t so different. Some of the planks read a little warmer than others so it became my front runner.

The following pictures are all “Canadian Urban Oak”

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

The reading room doors don’t work with the floors as seamlessly but those are a quick and easy change.. I literally slapped some watered down paint on them to get this color a few weeks ago…Don’t get wrapped up in the stuff that can be easily altered.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

I love how they look in the kitchen with the cabinets…and with this awesome rug:

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

Next, I checked how they look with the sofa. SO GOOD!

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

These pictures are unstaged. They were just to help me pick. Here they are by my favorite roadside find desk:

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

And here they are again, on the left with North American Oak on the right:

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

I love how much they blend with the concrete floors because, again, I’ve always loved their color. Let the things that you love about your home help you to make the decision.

Karndean ridgid core LVP samples

There you have it! In the next couple weeks, we’ll be having ‘Canadian Urban Oak’ installed in the downstairs of our home and I couldn’t be more excited!

Why Professional Install?

I know these floors can be a DIY project but ultimately I felt that it was really important to get it right…I didn’t want a leaning curve on a project so large and important.. I wanted a quick turnaround so we wouldn’t be living in a construction zone for a long time. Last, I really like to make sure we, as a family, have a lot of margin in our schedule. I didn’t want laying floors to be the only thing my handsome man and I do for next 5 weekends…(or however long 1200 square feet would take to lay). We will be installing baseboards once the work is done and I think that will be enough DIY for us this spring. I hope this post gives you some helpful takeaways as you choose color for any type of flooring in your home.

I’d love it if you’d pin this post to share or save it for later:

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Thanks for reading, friends!


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