Floors are hard....for real. If you're looking to refinish your own hardwood floors anytime soon, I have three simple tips that might make the process a tad more successful.
1) Try out the stain on a fairly large section of floor. If you're going darker, be sure to cover the perimeter with some other dark material; if your block of color sits next to the light, freshly-sanded floors, you'll not likely get an accurate idea. I did the first part, but not the second. As a result, I thought the stain was much darker than it actually was.
2) Go back and look at the stain at various times of day [and night] before committing to your color. Lighting will affect your decision; a finish can look drastically different in the sun than it does after dark. I skipped this step and found myself disappointed with the final finish during daylight hours. Lucky for me, I decorate for the night. Making a space moody and sexy is what I live for, and my floors look perfectly dark and cozy when the sun goes down. Accidental win.
3) This final tip applies to any large surface you're refinishing [floors, walls, cabinets, etc.]. Keep in mind that this will likely be the only time you'll see your project as a stand-alone piece. Soon, your floor will be beneath a myriad of rugs, furniture and people. The walls will have art and light, and the cabinets will house your booze and your glasses. Your decisions will lead to what is really just a backdrop for your life, so take a moment to envision the finished product, rather than the empty space.
I may just be trying to talk myself into liking my floors. Stay tuned for more photos and updates on paint and wallpaper. It's all coming together...