Laminate flooring isn't just light, medium or dark -- it's espresso, chestnut, honey, slate gray, blonde and off white, for starters. Along with color comes laminate sheen -- glossy, matte or something in between. Rather than lapsing into an options-overload coma, limit your floor color choices by first looking at your home's major attributes, its size and your preferred style, and base the colors on these.
Let Your Style Lead
If you're privileged to have a blank slate from which to build your home's interior scheme and theme, the flooring is one of the first picks. Dig deep, connecting with your true design desires. Ask yourself if, for example, a rugged, Old West interior touting warm, Aztec fabrics, timeworn suede furniture and muted or dusty hues throughout is for you. If the answer is yes, then a pet-and-kid-friendly distressed or hand-scraped laminate floor in leather brown, trail gray or gunstock may be a look you can live with for the long haul.
Dark Vs. Light
When you're choosing color for flooring -- or any major feature -- the hue is going to affect each room's overall vibe, even making the space seem bigger or smaller than it is.
A dark, matte shade helps to ground a large room with a high ceiling, anchoring furniture groupings and working to keep the eye low. Pale, mid- or high-gloss laminate tones -- blonde, honey, pine or oak, for instance -- bounce light to brighten and lighten small spaces, especially when partnered with subtly colored walls and white or off-white furniture.
Align With the Architecture
An ultra chic or modern home, boasting white walls and clean lines often suits a glossy, almost-black laminate floor for a high contrast, suave tuxedo effect. An abode with ornate architecture, however, benefits from something more yesteryear inspired, such as flooring that touts golden grain or oak notes.
Wood for Thought
For the home with plenty of wood -- cherry-wood cabinets, a rugged fireplace mantel, reclaimed-plank feature wall -- don't try to blend in the laminate flooring's color. Doing so amplifies any faux-wood evidence below, and washes out everything above, rather than showing off each real wood element. Go with varied wood tones, such as pine to highlight walnut. This way, the results won't appear like you tried to play color matchmaker, but instead, smartly planned the look with contrast in mind.