These expert tips will help you choose a wall color that complements your flooring.

By Jessica Bennett
Updated February 27, 2020

Choosing paint colors for your home can be an exercise in patience—or frustration. Unless you have formal design training, colors can be hard to figure out, especially if some of your fixed surfaces have a definite color cast. Take wood floors: When stained, many of them lean yellow or orange. To find the perfect paint colors that flatter yellow wood tones, we turned to the experts. "Whether you have wood on the trim or on the entire floor, the wall color can help you accent or tone down the yellow undertones," says Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore. These paint picks from the pros pair beautifully with wood floors.

Edmund Barr

Sherwin-Williams Alabaster SW 7008

Painting walls with a light neutral paint color, like white, lightens and brightens a room while letting the wood floor take center stage. "If you're looking for a neutral backdrop, opt for a warm white that has similar undertones as the floors," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. She suggests Alabaster for a creamy white shade that picks up the warmth of flooring with yellow undertones.

Erin Kunkel Photography LLC

Dutch Boy Mapped Blue 429-5DB

To tone down the warmth of wood flooring, choose a blue wall color that acts as a neutral and won't overwhelm the space. Ashley Banbury, senior color designer for Dutch Boy Paint, suggests Mapped Blue, a sophisticated shade that offers muted color in an otherwise neutral scheme. It has a slight yellow undertone, making it a perfect match with yellow wood floors.

John Bessler

Benjamin Moore Alexandria Beige HC-77

Instead of trying to fight yellow undertones, embrace them. "Colors that share a similar undertone as the wood can create a monochromatic color scheme," Yeo says. Alexandria Beige is a soft, timeless hue that can bring out the buttery yellow tones of light wood flooring. The result is a soothing neutral color scheme that's perfect for bedrooms and other cozy spaces.

David A. Land

Sherwin-Williams Charcoal Blue SW 2739

Pay special attention to a color's temperature (warm or cool) when choosing a shade. To punch up the contrast, try painting walls (or a small accent area) in a cooler hue to help balance the space, Wadden suggests. Sherwin-Williams' Charcoal Blue has gray undertones that can cool off yellow undertones in surfaces like oak floors.

Annie Schlechter

Benjamin Moore Lighthouse Landing 1044

Consider how the wall color and wood tones will flow into each other to create a cohesive overall look. "Neutrals with yellow undertones, such as Lighthouse Landing 1044, are a great way to create a subtle transition from wall to wood," Yeo says. This sandy hue brings out the undertones in wood floors, maximizing the light, cozy feel in this small bedroom.

Related: Best Paint Colors for Small Rooms

Richard Leo Johnson

Sherwin-Williams Misty SW 6232

Neutral paint often has undertones that give it a color cast, which can work in your favor when trying to pair with yellow-toned wood floors. To temper the ochre tones of your flooring, try a gray paint color with a blue-leaning tint. One of Wadden's top picks is Sherwin-Williams' Misty, which she calls "an icy cross between blue and gray."

Gordon Beall

Valspar La Fonda Fireberry

To make quick work of choosing hues, look to the color wheel for inspiration. One color wheel rule to remember is at play in this space: Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, which are called analogous, pair well together. Use a fiery red, like Valspar's La Fonda Fireberry, to complement the orange-tinted wood floor.

Ann VanderWiel Wilde

Pittsburgh Paints Victory Blue

Paint colors for oak floors can be especially tricky. But an easy-to-use color wheel rule comes into play in this dramatic room. Complementary colors are those located directly across from each other on the color wheel. Here, that's demonstrated by a rich midnight blue, like PPG's Victory Blue, on the walls and a yellow-orange tone on the wood floor. Dark wall colors can also add instant intimacy to an otherwise formal space.

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