How Lighting Can Change The Appearance Of Floors

We’ve gotten some questions on social media lately about why our floors sometimes look completely different in the images that we and our retail partners and/or flooring installers share.

For example, the shots in the gallery to the left are all our Cappuccino Oak from our collection of Asha Hybrid floorboards. Some photos are from an installation by The Flooring Shed, while others were laid by Camden Valley Flooring. Based on the lighting within the spaces, however, the same floor can appear light, dark, warm and cool based on the time of day and whether artificial lighting is present.

Technically, Cappuccino Oak is a cool medium brown floor which features creamy highlights and deep brown undertones and detail.

The shades within this décor are rich and comforting, and the floors are well suited to many interior styles.

Once installed in a space, however, Cappuccino Oak, like any floor, becomes a bit like a chameleon. While you’ll always have the true tones of the décor, appearance can vary greatly depending on the environment. So, today we thought we’d look at why this happens, and how to ensure that your floors appear the way you want them to once installed within your home.

How Your Lighting Will Change The Appearance Of Your Floors:

As noted above, the changes in appearance presented in the images shown are influenced almost entirely by the light within the spaces. This is because the brightness and temperature of the lighting impacts how design elements look. This isn’t isolated to flooring only, and all aspects of your design will shift appearance depending on the lights used, so it is important to consider how things will be impacted when selecting your lighting.

Why Does Lighting Change Floor Colours?

The reason that your lighting impacts the appearance of your design elements is called the Kelvin Scale. Put simply, this scale explores the temperature of any given light (both natural and artificial) and a higher Kelvin rating means a cooler light.

In practice, this means that spaces with cooler lights (high Kelvins) often have a crisper, lighter appearance, while those with warmer lighting (low Kelvins) will feel intimate and appear softer. This knowledge will allow you to tailor your lighting design to create the mood that you want within any given space, while avoiding ending up in a situation where you are unhappy with the colour of your floors or any other design elements because they appear in a surprising way.

It is important to note that it isn’t just colour that can be impacted by the lighting within your space. You may also notice shifts in temperature and textures may even appear different. For example, if the lighting in a space is particularly harsh, the texture of your design elements will stand out more, while a gentler light can reduce the severity of variances in appearance. By the same token, cool lighting may wash out particularly light elements, while a low Kelvin set up will make even the coolest elements have a warm tinge.

Balanced lighting
Warm lighting
Cool lighting

How To Choose The Best Lighting For Your Home

This may seem like a strange section to include, but if you’re really wanting to achieve a certain look, you’ll need to select your floors and lighting at the same time so they are in harmony with one another. With this in mind, here are our top three tips for choosing the best lighting for your home:

Champion Natural Light

While this will create more variance in how your floors and other elements look, natural lighting is arguably the best option for any space. Not only is it far more energy efficient than any artificial light that you could select, but it’s also the best measure of the true colour of the design elements you select. The good news is that you can test natural lighting wherever you may be – simply step outside with a swatch of the floor you’re considering.

While this will obviously only give an idea of what the floor will look like at that particular time of day, doing this throughout the day is a great way to check how sunlight will interact with your preferred floors if you don’t have the ability to place them within the space that they will be installed in.

Ensuring there is enough natural light in your space will be easier if you’re building a new home or addition – as you can select where windows and skylights go – but an architect will be able to assist you in finding space to allow more natural light if you’re renovating an existing space.

Choose The Right Lighting Temperature For Your Needs

As we noted earlier in this piece, lighting is measured on the Kelvin Scale (K). The premise of this is that higher Kelvin lights produce cooler illumination, while lower Kelvin lighting generates warmer vibes.

This means that you’ll want to consider whether you want your space to have a sense of warmth (and deal with the warmer tones that that brings out in your design elements) or whether you want a crisper, brighter feeling (which can lead to certain light shades appearing washed out).

Cooler lighting is usually recommended in spaces where utility is vital (think rooms like kitchens and laundries where you’re usually working and need attention to detail) while warmer lighting can be well suited to bedrooms and other spaces where you main focus is relaxation.

Don’t Forget Accent Lighting

To use the words of our interior design partner, Liv from Flawless Interiors, “a house full of downlights isn’t going to cut it” if you’re looking to create a space that fits your personality and lights you up when you step inside.

Instead, be sure to add accent lighting such as lamps, feature lights, light strips and even coloured LEDs if they take your fancy. Although the main lighting within your space does need to be functional, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be beautiful as well, and accent lighting can exist purely because it sparks joy if you want it to.

An example of how this could work is adding a cool light strip that mimics natural light over the bathroom mirror to get the best idea of what your makeup will look like in the morning. This addition allows you to select whatever main lighting you please for the room, so you could choose a warmer chandelier style option which adds a sense of luxury and warmth to make your bathroom feel more like a home spa.

What Else Can Change The Appearance Of Floors?

In addition to the lighting selected within your space, other large elements in the room can impact how your floors appear. While this isn’t to the same extent as light, large design features such as walls and cabinetry can slightly alter the appearance of the flooring you select. In order to avoid this presenting an issue, we suggest creating a mood board before locking in design elements so you can be sure they work in harmony with each other.

How To Avoid Surprises When Your New Floors Are Installed:

The best way to avoid any potential surprises once your new floors are laid is to look at the floor you are considering within your own home. A larger swatch piece is best for this, and should be taken to all rooms of the home and viewed in both natural and artificial lighting. This will obviously only be possible for those who are renovating, rather than building a new home, but will yield the most accurate results every time.

For those building new, we suggest taking a swatch piece of flooring for a little adventure around the retail outlet that you are viewing it at. This will allow you to get a better idea of how it looks under different types of light. We also suggest that you take the swatch to a lighting showroom, so you can see how the colouring presents under the specific type of lighting you’re looking to have included in your new home. Your builder or interior designer should also be able to provide advice at this stage of the process so be sure to reach out for assistance if you’re unsure.

Now that you have a better idea of how much of an impact lighting within the home can have on the way that a floor looks, the images on social media and disclaimers on our product pages probably make a whole lot more sense. While every effort is made to ensure that the imagery we display on our website and social accounts is as true to life as possible, different screens display colours and depth differently. This means that, much like the lighting in your home, the settings on your mobile or computer can have a drastic impact on how a floor looks. This is why we always recommend heading down to your local flooring retailer to view the floors you are considering in person.


Good acoustic properties are important both for the health of your family and regulatory obligations. Quieter environments are better for everyone, so our Hybrid floors come with a pre-adhered underlay that helps ensure their acoustic compliance.


Floors that feature a waterproof surface are a great choice for those worried about spills or other accidents in their home. Our Luxury Vinyl Plank floorboards and Hybrid floors feature an inherently waterproof surface thanks to their water-resistant construction, while our Laminate floors enjoy a waterproof surface thanks to their aluminium oxide wear layer.


In some cases – like with our Luxury Vinyl Plank floors and Hybrid flooring – a waterproof surface also means that floorboards are suitable for installation in wet areas such as bathrooms (excluding shower bases) and laundries. This allows for the creation of a seamless design throughout your entire home – a great perk for those who want consistency in their style. 


Hard floors are assigned a Class Rating based on their suitability for different situations.


When you see Class Rating 23 assigned to a floor, this means that it is suitable for installation in even the highest traffic areas of your home.


Class Rating 23 is the highest residential rating achievable and is applicable to most Imagine Floors by Airstep flooring collections.


Our Reclaimed Wild Oak Engineered Timber floors in colour Brushed Natural Oak looking impressive in a luxury display home in Camp Hill. Floors installed by retailer Flooring Creations.