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The Ultimate Wood Floors Guide: Character and Feel

One of the first decisions to consider when deciding which wood floors will work best for your interior design is species of wood. The most common woods used for floors are maple, white oak, and red oak, which all have a classic and universal appeal. Other types of common hardwood include hickory, walnut, cherry, birch, pine, ash, and even bamboo (which is technically a grass!).

If you’re looking for a real statement piece, you could even go for a more exotic wood type like teak or mesquite, but you may be looking at a premium price for those types of wood. Exotic woods are more likely to come from the rainforest, so keep an eye out to make sure that your floors are made with Rainforest Alliance Certified wood. No matter what species of wood you choose for your dream floors, you’ll want to make sure that they are ethically and sustainably harvested.

If you’re looking for a more traditional or transitional interior style, red or white oak is almost always a good choice. The wood has been used frequently throughout homes across America and can often be found in many historical homes. To keep your home more contemporary or modern, a bamboo floor is very popular; it tends to be more sustainable than traditional hardwood and is a very popular eco-friendly alternative. In a beach home, the most important thing to look for is a species of wood that deals well with prolonged exposure to water and salt and isn’t prone to warping.

One of our favorite interior design projects, Modern Farmhouse Neutral, is an amazing example of how we incorporated wood floors into a design to create an overall rustic look.

After you’ve chosen the species of the wood, you’ll also get to choose the floor’s finish. The finish of the floor can change the entire feel of a room and even refresh existing wood floors if you already have them installed. Different design styles each lean towards different finishes, so choosing the right one can make or break your home. Traditional styles tend towards darker wood tones, while transitional styles are more of a medium brown. If your home has a rustic style, you might look more towards a wood with heavy graining in a medium brown or gray tone. For beach houses, light ivory and gray tones are perfect or you could even look at having a white-washed look flooring material for the perfect sandy feel.

When having your wood floors finished, there are two factors that are often overlooked and that is the stair treads and banisters. These important transition pieces in between rooms and floors can make a home either feel cohesive or allow the interior design to fall apart. We recommend either matching the wood species and finish or getting a custom stain that will blend both pieces into your home’s style as best as possible. Remember, when restoring and revitalizing existing pieces, you have to be sure to blend the new with the old, patch any imperfections, match the finish, and then sand it all down.

Like this article? Check out our main Wood Floors Guide to get more tips on how to design your dream wood floors or request an interior design consultation to talk to Christina about how Henck Design can help you and your home!