Can you really mix hardwood and laminate?

People have many different opinions regarding what types of flooring go together and which do not go together. Most people wonder if laminate and hardwood can be combined because they look similar while having key differences.

You can mix hardwood and laminate flooring. It is common to break the connection between laminate and hardwood with a transition board, but hardwood and laminate can be matched. If this is not possible, the laminate can have a different style or look from the hardwood without clashing.

A transition board can be the key to mixing laminate and hardwood. Combining laminate and hardwood, however, depends on your opinions and what you think looks the best. It is essential to remember that transition boards play a large role in mixing laminate and hardwood flooring.

Can You Match Laminate And Hardwood Floors?

Opposed to what you might think, laminate and wood flooring can be installed under the same roof. Many times, people will argue that hardwood and laminate cannot be used in the same area because they look similar enough to each other to match, but look different enough to be noticeable.

This does not mean you can put hardwood planks and laminate planks together as if they are the same thing because they are not. The planks probably would not fit together and could cause serious problems.

Laminate and hardwood, however, can be matched because there are various shades offered of both hardwood and laminate flooring. Matching refers to the same color and/or texture of the flooring, which can be achieved, but if the hardwood and laminate are not separated with at least a transition board, the transition from the hardwood to the laminate can seem odd and misplaced.

Differences Between Laminate And Harwood Flooring

Laminate and hardwood flooring have essential differences, even though they can appear the same. Laminate flooring and hardwood are manufactured in different ways, which is why they do not always appear the same.

While hardwood is made of 100% wood, laminate is not. In contrast, laminate is made of fiberboard with a photographic pattern over the top. Because of this key difference, hardwood flooring can be told apart from laminate. When the flooring is installed, however, most people will not know whether laminate or hardwood was used.


Hardwood is more likely to experience discoloration. Hardwood can be discolored by things like light, oxidation, and photochemical exposure. This cannot be prevented if you plan on using hardwood because all hardwood discolors overtime.

While hardwood experiences discoloration, laminate does not. As previously explained, laminate is essentially photo paper on fiberboard. Because of this, your hardwood floor will become different shade overtime than it used to be while laminate will remain the same shade or close to it.

Does this affect the way laminate and hardwood look together? Though the hardwood fades, this will not make both floorings look bad together. If someone were to put in laminate and hardwood flooring in their home at the same time, after the hardwood has some exposure, the colors will be a few shades off. If you add the laminate in after the hardwood has been in the house for a while, it will not be as noticeable.

It is also good to take into account that most often, the flooring will not be butted up right next to each other. It is common for people to not match the flooring if this is the case. For example, the laminate will be a drastically different color from the hardwood to create contrast on purpose.

In all honesty, it is all about personal preference since you know what you enjoy looking at.

The Wood Grain

The wood grain is also a key difference between lamination and hardwood. Lamination, because it is essentially a photo, will have repeated patterns. Hardwood, on the other hand, is drastically different in this way. Hardwood will reflect the pattern of the wood that was used to create it. Because not all wood looks the same, the pattern will be different on each slab.

The real question is if this would cause a problem? In reality, most people will not see the difference in the pattern just by glancing at it. It is only when someone stares at both laminate and hardwood for extended periods that they will notice if the patterns match or are distinct.

Coordinating Hardwood And Laminate Flooring

Coordinating hardwood and laminate flooring is much different than matching laminate and hardwood. Rather than having the colors and patterns match, people will pick purposefully different patterns and colors to ensure the flooring does not look odd next to each other.

Though the two types of flooring do not look the same, they match as if you would match a pair of shoes with your outfit. The colors look good together or the patterns are reflected in one another. The floorings do not have to look the same.

Another key part of coordinating hardwood and laminate is remembering that laminate has a variety of patterns. Laminate can even appear like tile. With the addition of a wide variety of laminate looks, there are a wide amount of options for matching laminate and hardwood flooring.

Combining Hardwood And Laminate Flooring

When people combine hardwood and laminate, they may divide the floorings to ensure the two floorings do not clash against one another. For example, people may put in carpet in between both the laminate and hardwood to space them out.

Another solution to this is using a transition board. Transition boards are common when the flooring is different between two different rooms. The transition board serves as a reset for flooring.

People will often draw attention to the difference between the laminate and the hardwood. One way to do this may be the direction in which the hardwood is laid regarding the way the laminate is laid. If the hardwood runs left to right, you can make the laminate run from top to bottom. If you do plan on laying the planks in different directions, make sure both types of flooring that you chose are not too similar. 

While it is possible to mix laminate and hardwood flooring, it is all up to personal preference. If you do not like the look of laminate and hardwood flooring together, you do not have to use both types of flooring.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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