flooring samples

Why You Should Always Order Floor Samples Before Buying

In the flooring business one of the greatest thrills is to see clients “ooh and aah” over their newly installed floor.

We believe one of the foolproof methods of finding your dream floor is by ordering samples first. It is a sure-fire way to choose the right prefinished wood floor for your home or office.

If you are planning to install an unfinished floor or resand and refinish your floor, your installer will create color samples on your floor to choose from. In this case, you don’t need samples of the unfinished floor because that’s not going to be the final color.

silvian laakso valley
Will a floor look exactly like how it does in a floor? Not exactly. Photos are great for getting an idea of how a floor will look, but the best way to determine if you like it is to see it in person.
Featured Floor: Silvian “Laakso (Valley)”; Project: Cadis Construction, Houston; Photography: Feather & Arrow

Why photos online are not enough

When you’re in the market for wood flooring, our phones and computers are indispensable research tools for seeing all the color choices. However, not every device is the same, and each can yield variations in tone and contrast.

Because of this, it’s next to impossible to get true accuracy online for a wood floor’s color and texture. You really need to look at the product in your own space. And plus, it’s super fun!

Once you have in mind several different colors of flooring, we suggest you order a few different shades because of potential variations. What you think your heart is set on may in fact be too dark or too light, and by choosing alternate shades, you can land on just the perfect color.

We know clients who will choose an extreme, like a dark red-brown, just for comparison, knowing their ultimate choice will fall in the middle.

Read on to discover the 3 reasons why ordering flooring samples is the way to go.

various lighting in room
Lighting can greatly change a floor’s appearance. This photo shows the affect really well. On the left side, the flooring looks cooler since it’s natural lighting. On the right side in the kitchen, you can see that the flooring looks warmer because of the artificial lighting. This is why it’s so important to look at the flooring in your own space.
Featured Floor: Vintage Loft “Harborside”; Project: Carbine & Associates, Nashville

Make sure the floor will rock the lighting

There’s no getting around it: Lighting in your home or office is going to look different than in a showroom. When you hold a flooring sample in your space, your specific collection of lighting will hit the sample just as it would your future floor.

This is important because light bulbs offer a wide range when it comes to color temperature. As well, most homes have various types of lights even within the same room. For instance, you might have a cooler LED bulb in a task light as well as various warm shades in floor and table lamps. These color temperatures matter.

Also, it is important to note the play of light at different times of day. Dawn, high-noon, afternoon and dusk all provide different temperatures, hues and contrasts in the floor. And make sure to test the floor at night when the space is under purely artificial light.

storehouse parcel
Having samples of flooring allows you to compare it to the other design pieces in your space.
Featured Floor: Storehouse “Parcel”

Coordinate with walls and furniture

It is important to coordinate the floor’s color and tone with existing walls and furniture.

By placing a floor sample beside a painted wall, you can determine if they are a good complement. For more on matching wall colors with hard floors, see this article.

Holding the samples up to cabinetry and window treatments can give you insight into what will work. Also, try the samples against your couches, chairs and end tables.

We recommend choosing samples of different colors, which allows you to place them side by side with each other and next to your walls and furnishings to get the perfect match.

killarney kingfisher
Samples give you the opportunity to feel the flooring for yourself.
Featured Floor – Killarney “Kingfisher”

Get the full experience of the floor’s texture

Another reason we encourage ordering samples has to do with the physical texture of the flooring.

If you are researching flooring online, think about how difficult it is to understand texture just through an image. You can’t feel the texture, and it’s difficult to grasp the floor’s surface from a photo on your phone or pc. If you can take a sample inside your space, it makes a world of difference. You can hold the flooring sample in your hands, even lay it on the floor to step on it. We know folks who try out their samples in bare feet and with socks on.

You can place it next to furniture and walls, this gives you a genuine feeling for its texture and possibility.

Order Samples Before Buying a Floor

Before you make the big leap and order your flooring, we highly encourage you to use flooring samples to your advantage. We offer them for free at all of our showrooms and can supply them to your installer as well.