What color vinyl planks makes a room look bigger?

Quick Answers

Light and bright colors like white, light gray, and light beige vinyl planks will make a room look bigger and more spacious. Dark colors like black, dark brown, and dark gray will make a room look smaller. Lighter wood-look planks that mimic maple or birch also help rooms feel more open.

When remodeling or updating a room, choosing the right flooring can make a big difference in how large and spacious a room feels. Vinyl plank flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners because it is affordable, durable, and easy to maintain. Beyond those practical considerations, the color of vinyl plank flooring you select can also impact how big or small a room looks. Using light-colored planks is one of the easiest tricks to make any room appear larger. On the other hand, dark vinyl plank colors will likely make spaces feel smaller and more closed in.

How Color Impacts Perceived Size

The way the human eye perceives color and light has a significant impact on how we view the sizes of spaces and objects. Light colors reflect more light, while dark colors absorb light. As a result, our eyes perceive reflected light as making objects seem larger and more spacious. Darker colors absorb light rather than reflect it, so they will make a space feel smaller to our eyes. This phenomenon applies to vinyl plank flooring as much as it does to wall paint colors or other décor elements. Choosing light, bright planks for your floor is one of the most effective and affordable ways to make a room look bigger.

Best Vinyl Plank Colors for Large, Open Rooms

Here are the best vinyl plank floor colors to make rooms feel more spacious and open:


A white vinyl plank floor reflects the most light of any color, instantly brightening up a space and making it appear larger. White planks look crisp and clean, creating a light and airy aesthetic. They pair well with any wall color. The only downside is that white floors require more frequent cleaning to keep them looking their best.

Light Gray

For a slightly less stark look than white, light gray vinyl planks are another excellent option for opening up a room. The light color reflects plenty of light while the gray tone adds subtle depth. Light gray also hides dirt well, making cleaning less of a chore.

Beige and Tan

Warm beige and tan plank colors add a touch of style while still allowing light to bounce around the room. Beige with undertones of brown or gray are versatile neutrals. Soft tans bring a welcoming, relaxed feeling. Both colors make great choices for creating a larger look in any living space.

Light Wood Grains

Wood-look vinyl planks in soft, natural hues like maple or birch can help rooms feel airier. The light colors reflect light while the wood grain pattern adds texture and visual interest. Wire-brushed plank finishes popular in wood looks scatter more light around the room for an even more spacious effect.

Avoid These Colors for a Small Space

On the other end of the color spectrum, here are vinyl plank shades to avoid if trying to make a room look larger:


Of all flooring colors, black absorbs the most light and will make any space feel smaller. While black adds drama, it also visually closes off the room. If you want to use black planks, incorporate them sparingly in a small space.

Dark Browns

Deep chocolate or coffee-colored brown planks also absorb light, making rooms feel more enclosed. Dark wood grain colors like walnut or mahogany have the same shrinking effect on space. Use dark brown planks minimally or break them up with lighter tones.

Dark Gray

While light gray opens up a room, darker charcoal gray tones will likely have the opposite effect. Stick to pale gray floors to get the spacious look you want. However, one option is pairing dark gray with white in a checkerboard pattern to balance the two shades.

Bold Colors

Any deep, dramatic vinyl plank colors—jewel tones like ruby red, emerald, sapphire—tend to make spaces feel smaller and more closed off. Use these colors sparingly or in very small rooms where the bold shade is more impactful.

Tips for Using Vinyl Plank Colors

Here are a few more tips for selecting and working with vinyl plank flooring colors:

  • Add window treatments in light colors that complement the floors to reflect even more light.
  • Incorporate large floor mirrors to visually double the size of the room.
  • Balance dark accent walls with light-colored planks to keep the space feeling open.
  • Zone rooms into multiple color areas—use light planks in higher traffic areas and darker ones in less-used spots.
  • Pair bold or dark vinyl planks with lighter area rugs to break up the intensity.
  • Use wider planks rather than narrow to make rooms feel bigger—the eye follows the long lines.

How to Choose Between Vinyl Plank Flooring Brands

With so many vinyl plank flooring brands on the market, it can be tricky to compare options and decide what works best for your space and needs. Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing vinyl plank flooring brands:


Look for planks with a thick wear layer for durability and scratch resistance in high-traffic areas. The best vinyl planks have a wear layer of 20 mil or higher. Brands like COREtec Flooring are known for exceptional durability and longevity.


Many top brands like LifeProof and Armstrong Flooring use advanced printing technology to perfectly emulate the look of real hardwood or stone. The more realistic visuals combined with textured surfaces like embosses wood grain make for convincing vinyl plank floors.


Leading vinyl plank brands make 100% waterproof flooring that can handle spills, pet accidents, and high moisture areas with no damage or warping. Shaw Floors and Karndean Floors are two brands known for superior waterproof engineering.


A strong warranty also speaks to the confidence a brand has in its product quality and durability. Many offer at least 10 years of residential coverage but the best warranties last up to lifetime and cover fading, wear, stains, and more.


While higher performing vinyl plank brands may cost more upfront, they offer outstanding durability that saves you money in the long run. Investing a little more for quality often pays off down the road.


Don’t just take the company’s word when comparing brands. Read customer reviews on retailer sites to see real feedback on the look, quality, and longevity of vinyl plank flooring brands you’re considering. This helps remove some of the guesswork.

Range of Options

Look for established vinyl plank brands that offer a wide selection of colors, patterns, plank widths, and textures. More choice allows you to find the perfect floor for your style and space. Many also have coordinating moldings and accessories for a cohesive look.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring provides many benefits, but there are also a few downsides to consider:


  • Durable and scratch-resistant
  • 100% waterproof
  • Affordable compared to natural hardwood or stone
  • Extensive variety of realistic looks
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Soft, warm, and quiet underfoot
  • Stain and fade resistant
  • Easy maintenance


  • Can show indentations from heavy furniture
  • Susceptible to damage from rolling heavy appliances or furniture on top
  • Top layer can scratch or peel over time
  • Not as valuable for resale as real wood or tile
  • Can fade, discolor, or warp if exposed to too much moisture or sunlight

Vinyl Plank vs Laminate Flooring

Vinyl plank and laminate floors have similar looks, but vinyl provides some key advantages:

Vinyl Plank Benefits

  • 100% waterproof
  • Extremely durable wear layer
  • Quieter underfoot
  • Warmer feel
  • Minimal subfloor prep needed
  • Handles temperature fluctuations well
  • Easy installation with no glue

Laminate Flooring Benefits

  • Slightly more affordable
  • More realistic wood look
  • Can be repaired by replacing planks
  • Traditional tongue-and-groove installation

For wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms, vinyl plank is the clear winner for waterproofing. Laminate cannot get wet without being damaged. Vinyl planks also better handle kids, pets, and other heavy-traffic conditions with their durable construction.

Vinyl Plank Flooring Prices

Vinyl plank flooring costs $2-$8 per square foot installed:

Vinyl Plank Type Price per Square Foot Installed
Basic Vinyl Plank $2 – $3
Stone-Look Vinyl Plank $3 – $4
Wood-Look Vinyl Plank $3 – $6
Luxury Vinyl Plank $4 – $8

Factors impacting vinyl plank flooring costs:

  • Brand quality
  • Plank thickness and durability
  • Realism of visuals
  • Color and style
  • Distressed or embossed textures
  • Professional vs DIY installation

Luxury vinyl plank flooring provides the most realistic looks but costs more. Basic vinyl and laminate-style planks are the most affordable.

Vinyl Plank vs Tile Comparison

Vinyl plank flooring and tile have similar upfront costs, but vinyl provides advantages in installation and durability:

Vinyl Plank Tile
Cost $$ $$
Installation Easy DIY option Professional recommended
Durability Durable, scratch-resistant wear layer Prone to cracks and scratches
Waterproof 100% waterproof construction Can be damaged by moisture
Noise Quiet, absorbs sound Noisier, echoes sound

Vinyl plank flooring is better suited for DIY installation. Tile requires more subfloor prep and professional installation is recommended. Vinyl also holds up better against moisture and daily wear-and-tear. However, ceramic or porcelain tile offers a genuinely natural look that vinyl does not.


The color of vinyl plank flooring plays a big role in making a room feel open and spacious or closed-off and small. Light, bright vinyl plank colors like white, light gray, and natural wood looks reflect the most light and give rooms an airier feel. Bold, dramatic dark colors like black, chocolate browns, or dark greys absorb light and make spaces feel smaller and more cramped. Consider the size and layout of the room when selecting vinyl plank colors and patterns. Properly installed, quality vinyl plank flooring creates a beautiful, durable, and waterproof flooring solution for any home.

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