Picture this: you’ve moved into a delightful new home out in the country. It’s an older farmhouse, maybe, but that’s part of its charm. Inside, you’re delighted to discover gorgeous hardwood flooring in the kitchen and living area…but when you get to the dining room, there’s unsightly, ugly carpeting straight from the 70s! You don’t want that so you have it all pulled up right away.

But now what? You want your home to have a cohesive feel to it, while still retaining that old-fashioned charm. You definitely don’t want to get rid of the original hardwood flooring. How do you reconcile all this? Well, you have some new hardwood flooring installed…but flooring that pretty closely (or perfectly) matches the existing floors. Seem impossible? Well, it’s not!

There are plenty of different reasons why you need to know how to match hardwood floors. Follow these practical solutions on how to match hardwood floors in your home:

Tip #1: Identify the type of hardwood floors in your home

The first step on how to match hardwood floors is to figure out what type of flooring you have in your home. Is it oak? Hemlock? Maple? Whatever it is, it’s important to find out before you go on to any of the other steps.

Contact a professional wood flooring company to ascertain what type of wood you’re dealing with it. That will make the job of matching flooring materials that much easier and simpler. You can at least narrow it down to one type of wood! You’ll also need to know the grade and match that as well.

Tip #2: Measure your floorboards

While you could potentially have differing widths of hardwood between the original and new flooring, for the sake of cohesiveness you may want to have all the new/old floorboards be about the same width. For that, you’ll probably need to manually measure the boards and record your findings.

Sometimes, a different width of board could work better in a particular room or layout–you may want to consult with a flooring professional to see what they think you should pursue in terms of width. Additionally, you’ll probably want to match the length of the floorboards as well–unless, as with the width, you’re doing something new in a different room.

Tip #3: Consider refinishing all the floors

You want to know one way to cut down on a lot of the fuss and bother of finding an exact (or near-exact) match for your hardwood floor? Install the new floor and then strip both floors and refinish both of them with the stain/varnish/coat you’d like them to have. It’s a way to get new-looking floors while being able to keep the valuable flooring you already possess. It’s a way to make sure the floor looks uniform without tearing your hair out over finding the exact right shade.

Tip #4: Match the wood floors with a customized wood stain

Another way you can make your flooring match without finding the perfect hardwood in the first place is having a specially mixed wood stain created that will help your new flooring match the old.

Tip #5: Utilize accessories to cover discrepancies

We don’t want you to endlessly stress about getting your hardwood floors perfectly matched! Yes, it’s a good thing to want your house to look as awesome, amazing, and put together as possible. But when that gets in the way of relaxing and enjoying life, it’s probably time to take a break. And you know what the great thing is? Even if you don’t find the absolutely perfect, spot-on match for your existing hardwood floor, it’s doubtful that anyone will notice once you’ve decorated the rest of the room to your liking!

Right now, the differences probably seem glaringly obvious because the floor is bare and you can look over every inch of it. But add furniture? A comfy rug? Some end tables? A lamp? Guests–and maybe even YOU–will be hard pressed to discover the difference, as long as you’ve done a reasonable job of matching hardwoods.

Tip #6: Forego the floor matching

“What!” you might cry. “Forget about matching hardwood floors after everything you just told me?” Well…yes. That might be a viable option for you and your home and it could end up making everything come together in a very fresh, unique way! Mixing hardwood flooring isn’t for everyone but it can definitely work–and it just might be worth trying out if perfectly matching the flooring is stressing you out.

After all, it’s better to have two completely different types of flooring than two hardwoods that look close enough that people know you tried–and failed–to find a match. There’s definitely a precedent for mixing hardwood floors–check out magazines, Pinterest, and more for inspiration!