Color chart of wood stains

Updated April 17, 2017

When you're choosing stain for wood floors or any wood project, a colour chart is a good place to start. Not only does the colour chart provide a clear definition of the stain options available, but it also often outlines key information about the stain itself, including whether the stain is clear or semi-transparent, which helps narrow your choices.

Wood Color

A colour chart represents the potential stain exclusively. The colour of the wood over which the stain is laid will also impact the final appearance of the project.

Evaluate in Different Lights

The lighting at the store will differ significantly from the lighting where the project will be placed. Additionally, sunlight can impact the appearance of any stain, so be sure to take the colour chart your home to evaluate the colour under your normal conditions.


The most common finishes are satin, semigloss and glossy, with satin the least shiny and glossy the most. This can impact the colour also, so be sure the colour chart provides examples of the stain with a variety of finishes.


Wood stains come in colours beyond the basics of light pine and dark oak. Colour charts provide examples of stain that impart a soft blush, to pinken a light wood, or a strong blue to provide an antique look to a wood project (see Resources below).


Remember that colours on the chart may vary significantly from the finished product. But before you regret your choice, allow the stain to dry completely. The stain may change colour as it dries.

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About the Author

Carolyn Williams began writing and editing professionally over 20 years ago. Her work appears on various websites. An avid traveler, swimmer and golf enthusiast, Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College and a Master of Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California.