Colored Wood Stain Ideas to Make Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces More Vibrant

Why stick with shades of brown, when you can choose bright-colored wood stain instead? After all, life can be complicated, it makes sense that we try to create beauty where we can.

Colored Wood Stain Ideas

Colored wood stain comes in beautiful vibrant tones that work for both indoor and outdoor use.

We will go through all the basics to help you understand colored stains and open up your eyes to its amazing possibilities.

Types of Colored Wood Stain

There are two main types of stain: oil-based stain and water-based stain.

Each type of stain works well in different situations. Make sure to evaluate your project before you decide on which type of stain to use.

Oil-Based Stains

Oil-based stains provide deep color and a durable finish. Therefore, while this kind of stain takes longer to dry, it will require less maintenance in the long run.

Thus, if your project is going to be exposed to the outdoors or to extreme conditions, it is better to use oil-based stains.

Make sure to work on your project in an area with good ventilation as oil-based stains have strong fumes that are not good to breathe. Also, oil-based stains are more difficult to clean as they require mineral spirits.

Water-Based Stains

Water-based stains are easier to work with than oil-based stains, but they are not as long-lasting.

These kinds of stains work well as interior wood stains and on woods that have natural qualities that protect them like cedar and redwood.

Water-based stains dry in a matter of hours and requires soap and water for clean-up.

Water Based Stains

Wood Stain Colors

Manufacturers have broadened their color palettes to include more colors beyond just the brown tones that we all know.

Wood Stain Colors

Large companies like Minwax, Benjamin Moore, and Varathane have colors including categories of red. green, blue, yellow, and purple.

Also, they have a beautiful range of neutral options like black, gray, white, and brown.

In addition to colors, stains range in opacity. You can find stains that allow the wood grain to show, or stains that are similar to paint in that it is opaque.

View each company’s wood stain color chart using the link provided.

  • Minwax – Minwax has one of the largest and most varied selection of colors.
  • Benjamin Moore – This company is most known for paint, but they have a wide variety of stain products.
  • Varathane – This is a solid company that produces good quality stains. They have a smaller but still beautiful range of color choices.
  • Spirit Stain – This is a small company that is located in the UK. They have a range of rainbow stain colors that you can buy from their own website or on Amazon.

The Best Wood Stain Colors

We have gathered up some pictures where people have used vibrant stain colors for wood projects that are striking as well as inspiring.

The best thing about stains is that it is easy for anyone to apply. So, dust off that old dresser or Adirondack chair that is gathering dust in your garage and get ready to give it some new life!

Turquoise Wood Floor

Turquoise Wood Floor
EL Studio

Consider this bold floor choice from E/L Studios for this DC Metro residence. They chose a turquoise stain and applied it throughout the room to counterbalance the white walls.

This green-blue stain color gives the room a contemporary and fresh style. If you like this look, try Minwax wood stain colors Sky Blue (MW1059) or Oasis Blue (MW 1047).

Dark Green Stained Wall

Dark Green Stained Wall

The wonderful thing about stain as opposed to paint, that stain can bring the wood grain out rather than hide it. Stain colors have different levels of opacity.

This dark green stain still allows the wood grain to show through which gives this shed a rustic quality.

If you like this dark green, consider using the Minwax color Austin Green (MW 1029) or Benjamin Moore’s Dakota Shadow (448).

Purple Stained Cabinets

Purple Stained Cabinets
Lush Home

Purple is not a color that most would consider for a kitchen, but these kitchen cabinets have an inspired style.

The wood stain color on these doors gives the kitchen immediate depth because it brings out the beautiful colors of the wood grain.

If you like this look, try Burgundy (MW 1218) from Minwax or Dark Purple (2073-10) from Benjamin Moore.

Gray Wood Stain

Gray Wood Stain
Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects

If bright colors are not your thing but you still want to add color variation, try a neutral. Gray stain is popular and one that you can find with many manufacturers.

It is impressive how the designer of this space emphasizes the details with the dark gray and lighter natural wood stain.

If you want a dark gray stain, try Minwax’s Aged Barrel (283). If you are looking for a lighter gray, go with something like Varathane’s Gray Stone.

Yellow Wood Stain

Yellow Wood Stain

Yellow colored wood stain will not suit the taste of everyone, but few can argue with its vibrant effect in this outdoor area. The designer has given the wood a sophisticated look with this ombré effect.

If you want to use a brilliant yellow like this, check out Daffodil (MW 1008) from Minwax.

If you like yellow but you want something that is a bit more toned down, try Minwax’s Harvest Grain (MW1018).

Black Wood Stain

Black Wood Stain
Chris Loves Julia

Black has a sophistication that no one can deny, just think of the quintessential little black dress. This dark colored stain is no different.

It has a timeless quality, and it is just different enough from brown stains to look distinct. If you want a dark black stain, we recommend Black (HC – 190) from Benjamin Moore or Espresso from Varathane.

White Wood Stained Floors

White Wood Stained Floors
Nesting With Grace

With the rise of farmhouse and cottage style, white wood floors are becoming a popular trend. You can achieve this look in a variety of ways, and white wood stain is one option.

White stain creates a more uniform and subtle look than using white paint as a whitewash.

Also, light floors blend well with Scandinavian and modern styles. If you want to use white stain, try Minwax Simply White (MW 275) or Varathane’s White Oak.

Navy Wood Stain for Floors

Navy Wood Stain for Floors
Color Me Indigo

If you are bucking the lighter wood floor trend and still want a dark option, choose a navy blue color. There are so many lovely tones that ground your space and give it an elegant moody look.

If you want to create this elegant style for your floors or even a piece of furniture, we recommend using Spellbound (1659) or Blue Note (2129-30) from Benjamin Moore.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can any wood be stained any color?

According to Minwax, they have over 500 colors that you can choose to use on your projects. However, it is important to pair the correct type of wood with the stain colors that will best suit them. For example, you would not pair a black walnut with a white stain color. While the paint would soak in the stain, it would not show up as well as if you used it on a light colored wood.

What is the most popular wood stain color?

The popular color for stains are tones of brown. Brown stains vary in color and depth, and certain brown tones may go in and out of fashion, but brown, as a whole, remains the most popular wood stain color.

What is the prettiest wood to stain?

Certain types of wood accept stain better than others. In general, you should choose a wood that is porous like oak or cedar in order to show off the stain color the best. If you want a unique look, choose a burled wood like burl maple. This wood has a variegated look that is beautiful once it has been stained.

How do I choose a stain?

Choose a stain based on two factors: color and type. You have an amazing variety of colored stains from which to choose. Look at the location and the other colors that are in play in the area you will be using to decide on the color you want. The type of stain you choose depends on how you will be using the object and how long you need it to last. If you are using the item outdoors, it is better to use an oil based stain color. If you are using the item indoors, a water based stain color will work just as well.

What color is a natural stain?

Natural stain is a light colored stain, but it has a slight amber cast that will highlight the natural wood grain.


Colored wood stain has wonderful possibilities for DIYers and interior decorators alike. Different from paint, stains will enhance the wood grain rather than hide it.

It presents an easy way to transform a room or an old piece of furniture into something that brings you joy every time you see it, and we could all do with just a bit more of that in our lives.