Pale Wood Flooring: Creating the Scandi Look

Bring a calm and collected feel to your home with pale wood flooring. Interiors writer and stylist Helen from Design Hunter talks us through creating the Scandi look.

pale wood flooring helen

Instagram accounts featuring stylish Scandinavian homes and apartments are an endless source of inspiration to me. Along with bright, light filled spaces and elegant furniture, it is the flooring – usually pale wood and perhaps casually adorned with a textured rug –  that is often a key element of this look.

Flooring is a defining decision when it comes to setting the tone for any interior. It’s the basis for everything else that you subsequently incorporate into your home. Get this right and all the other details will fall into place much more easily.

This is something I’ve spent a fair amount of time pondering recently. We moved house and took on a big renovation project a few months ago, and now that some of the messier jobs like plastering and rewiring are complete it’s exciting to be at the stage where we’re ready to choose new flooring. We had pale wood flooring throughout our old house and I’ve found myself gravitating towards it once again in our new home.

If you’re considering this look for your home here are a few things you may want to consider.

Softwood vs hardwood

pale wood flooring ecru oak

The pale Scandi look is sometimes achieved with softwood flooring like pine or Douglas fir but this requires regular maintenance and a lot of cleaning. Softwood will also scratch and wear very easily so you need to be willing to put up with a certain amount of scuffing and imperfection.

For high traffic areas in the home – the hallway, living room or kitchen for example – hardwood flooring like oak is a much more durable and hard wearing option. The Goodrich parquet rangeCotton and Ecru – are perfect for achieving a pale toned look.

You may have your heart set on solid wood or engineered wood flooring but don’t discount Stratex, particularly if you are trying to work to a slightly tighter budget. If you like the appearance of Douglas Fir or pine but need something more hard wearing take a look at Brecon Blanche Oak. It has a clean fresh feel that’s perfect for creating a Scandinavian inspired look but with a tough scratch resistant finish that makes it ideal for any area of the home that needs to be able to withstand a little more wear and tear.

Colour and Finish

light parquet woodpecker flooring

Wood flooring comes in a huge range of options – my desk is currently swamped with samples. I particularly like Goodrich Whitened Oak – a pale, ash toned parquet with a slightly rustic character.

Lighter still is Cotton Oak which has an almost pure white finish.

As well as colour you’ll also need to consider the finish. Here the options include brushed matt or unfinished surfaces through to oiled or lacquered wood. Pale timber often looks particularly good with the former in my view. Goodrich Ecru Oak (new to the Woodpecker range this month) has an unfinished look and texture which gives it a beautifully natural feel.

Size and Shape

pale wood flooring haze oak

The size and shape of the wood is another consideration. Again this can vary quite a lot from wide planks several metres long to smaller pieces designed to be laid in a chevron or herringbone pattern.

Herringbone and chevron designs are enjoying a surge in popularity at the moment. These are great for achieving an elegant urban look. They also tend to make more of a design statement – the floor takes on a more prominent role in the design scheme rather than simply acting as a backdrop.

Creating a sense of flow

While there are no rules to say that you can’t mix different materials I personally like to use a fairly consistent palette of colours, materials and finishes throughout my home. I think this approach is particularly worth considering if you live in a smaller property. Pale floors reflect light and can help make a space feel bigger, and using the same flooring throughout will create an open airy feeling and a natural sense of ‘flow’ from one room to the next.

Styling your space

pale wood flooring grey oak

So you’ve chosen your flooring and are ready to style up your space?

I like to use white or neutral tones like grey with pale wooden floors. Often I’ll include a few black accents to help ‘anchor’ the scheme – a collection of black and white prints or a black metal lamp or coffee table for example. I find that black provides definition and helps bring things into focus.

Adding lots of texture is the key to making this work. Pale wood floors look amazing combined with other natural materials so I like to opt for furnishings and accessories in materials like slate, linen, porcelain, rattan, leather and wool.

But really it’s up to you. Install a beautiful pale wood floor in your home and it will provide the backdrop for pretty much whatever you choose for many years to come.

Browse the naturally inspired collection and see your favourites at home with free samples.