Homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to types of flooring, whether it’s carpet, solid hardwood, laminate or even vinyl. Each flooring option has the ability to fit nicely into specific interior design styles, but the natural look of solid wood flooring adds a timeless feel to your home that goes far beyond other options.
Of course, popular designs and colors change over the years, but that’s one of the greatest aspects of hardwood flooring – it can be refinished and updated based upon the look you’re trying to achieve. So, what are the hottest hardwood floor trends that you can put into your home today? Let’s take a look.
Wood Species Flooring Options
When it comes to new flooring, hardwood is a top choice because it’s durable, timeless and can inspire interior design ideas for your whole house. The hardest part is choosing the species that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and home decor.
When choosing a hardwood floor covering, there are many things to consider, like where the species falls on the Janka hardness scale (which denotes the hardness/durability of various woods). Softer hardwoods are more susceptible to scratches and dents than harder woods.
The room you’re putting the new flooring in is also a factor. Does the room see a lot of foot traffic? Will the floor be exposed to a lot of moisture (whether from an outside door or high humidity)? Are you installing floors in a dining room or living room where chairs and tables frequently move? Be sure to review the characteristics of each species before making your choice solely on wood color alone. Afterall, many species can be made to resemble others with a few simple coats of stain and finish.
Mike Jones on Refinishing & Wood Flooring Trends
Hardwood floor color is one of the first things people consider when choosing new floors. It’s important to understand that natural woods have different undertones, meaning that wood plank colors can be warm, cool or neutral — which can be further adjusted based upon the stain color and finish.
We recently sat down with Mike Jones, owner of Mike Jones Hardwood Flooring, where we discussed the benefits of staining and refinishing hardwood floors. Watch the full interview for numerous tips and tricks when it comes to maintaining your hardwood floors for decades.
Natural Wood Floors vs. Engineered Hardwood Flooring
Engineered hardwood flooring has exploded in popularity, especially since people have begun to move away from vinyl flooring options due to concerns with toxicity. And while engineered hardwood flooring is easy to install (similar to vinyl plank), it is composed of a layer of hardwood bonded to a Baltic birch core, instead of harmful chemicals.
The top wear layer of engineered hardwood is real hardwood covered with a protective top coat. It provides the same look and feel as solid wood flooring but can be more cost effective. In many cases, the same species and stain options are available, too.
Engineered hardwood is also less susceptible to humidity and is less likely to warp. Because of its ability to withstand humidity changes, engineered hardwood flooring is a better option for below grade applications (i.e. basements) than solid wood planks.
Finishing Options and Color Trends
While hardwood flooring will never truly be “out of style,” certain color trends pop up here and there. In the 90s, maple was the go-to choice, then the distressed, rustic, reclaimed look took over.
Not every finish will deliver timeless style, but since hardwood flooring can be refinished multiple times, you will never be stuck with a certain trend or color.
Dark Floors vs. Light Wood Flooring
Dark flooring is common in interior design, and mahogany or cherry are stunning options for achieving a dark floor effect (but they can be two of the more expensive species). It’s important to note that a drawback to dark flooring is that scratches are harder to hide. If you expect your hardwood to see a lot of traffic or furniture movement, you might want to choose a lighter-colored wood.
Many interior designers have begun opting for the light wood look, and the majority of the latest trends include quarter sawn or live sawn white oak flooring. Lighter-colored floors are trending because they make the room feel bigger, as well. They are especially popular with open layouts to make the space feel more welcoming.
White Oak Floors
White oak flooring is extremely popular. It’s high on the Janka hardness scale, making it a durable hardwood floor. It’ll withstand daily use and traffic with little risk of dents or scratches. When it does face damage, lighter stained white oak floors will hide scratches better than darker floors.
Even though “white” is in the name, white oak won’t feel like a whitewash; you’ll still see plenty of undertones and mixed colors.
Hickory is a common choice for hardwood floors. It offers great color variation, sometimes even within the same wood plank. Hickory hardwood has knots, streaks, unique grain patterns and other color variations that make each piece different. Because of this, a lot of homeowners choose wider planks for hickory floors to show off the unique coloring.
Red Oak Floors
Red oak remains a classic floor covering choice. Its warm, comforting feeling pairs well with many different styles of interior design, including Victorian, contemporary, traditional and industrial. While other species gain momentum, red oak will always remain popular and versatile.
As designers continue to lean toward more natural looks, many homeowners are opting for a matte finish on their hardwood floors. Compared to the traditional gloss, matte floors tend to hide more imperfections and can add a bit more elegance, opening up the room and blending the floors seamlessly into the overall design.
Pattern and Design Trends
Beyond species and wood color, board width and installation techniques can also influence overall interior design. Some increasingly popular choices include wide plank flooring and various patterns of installation (herringbone and chevron, specifically).
Wide Plank Floors
The easiest way to add a slightly different design to your floor is by choosing wide planks or varying widths. The most common plank width is four to five inches wide, but a wider plank will offer a completely different look than the average floor. Wide planks are especially popular with real hardwood floors, compared to other floor coverings, because they can show off the natural coloring of the wood.
It’s important to talk to an expert when considering wider plank flooring, because expansion and contraction can be a concern (when compared to traditional widths). Some species may not be available in wide plank options, and the flooring can be more expensive than its traditional, narrow counterparts.
Herringbone-patterned floors offer a unique look and can be done with any species or color.
However, it’s important to remember that herringbone is an advanced design when it comes to a wood floor, and is definitely harder to install (likely not a DIY project). It involves laying the wood planks at a 90-degree angle to resemble the bones of a fish, and is typically done with more narrow boards. In large spaces, herringbone may be overwhelming, so many homeowners like to utilize the pattern in a smaller space as an accent (like in an entryway).
Chevron floors are similar to herringbone but are cut at a 45-degree angle, and offer a slightly more elegant feel. Homeowners can use a chevron design to elevate an average floor pattern, and this Scandinavian-style option is perfect for both light and dark colored flooring. Since the floor boards need to be cut in order to create the zig-zag effect, a chevron pattern will likely cost more to install, as compared to traditional installation or a herringbone pattern.
Find Your New Flooring — Trendy or Classic
No matter what type of hardwood flooring you’re looking for, Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods has you covered. Follow along with the latest hardwood floor trends or opt for a timeless classic – either way, our experienced staff will be able to guide you through the selection process so that you get exactly what you dreamed of!