The gleaming, polished hardwood floors of today have been a popular flooring option since the late 19th century, and these floors aren’t going anywhere soon:

A Move Away from Traditional Wood Coloring

A warm, rich, middle-of-the-line oak color has long been a popular option for hardwood floors, but contemporary trends are veering away from this classic in favor of bolder, more daring color options at either end of the spectrum. Ebonized wood, which is deeply stained to the point of being almost black while retaining the texture of woodgrain is an extremely popular option, especially for homeowners who want a more modern, contemporary vibe. A word of warning, however: very dark hardwood floors tend to show every speck of dirt and dust, so make sure you understand the challenges of keeping the floor looking spotless.

At the other end of the spectrum are blonde stains, which give a space a light and airy feeling. These light-colored floors can help to create a feeling of space in a home with smaller dimensions, especially when paired with lighter furniture and plenty of natural lighting, and are easier to keep looking clean.

Environmentally Sustainable Options

While trees are renewable, it can take decades for a tree to grow large enough to be harvested for hardwood flooring. For the conscientious consumer looking for an environmentally sustainable hardwood flooring option, reclaimed wood can be the perfect option. Just as the name implies, reclaimed wood floors are made from repurposed wood that has been salvaged from abandoned barns, homes, and other structures. In addition to the advantage of being recycled, reclaimed wood gives a truly unique look, with no two planks looking the same.

Another sustainable option involves using materials that regrow more quickly than oak or other hardwood trees traditionally used for flooring. Perhaps the most popular option is bamboo, which, although technically a grass, is used to make sustainable and affordable hardwood floors. Its light color makes it suitable for a wide range of stains and is a great way to get a beautiful hardwood floor without the high cost of true hardwood. Another option is cork flooring, which only uses the bark of the cork tree. Cork is also softer than most wood, making it a very pleasant walking surface.

Creative Designs and Non-Traditional Planks

You may have a vision of the type of planks used for hardwood flooring, which is traditionally long and narrow. Increasingly, variations in width have become a way of setting your hardwood floor apart and creating a custom look. Wider planks lend the space a rustic feel and make a room seem larger by making the floor less busy and divided. For an even bolder statement, consider a floor that incorporates planks of multiple widths. Another way to highlight beautiful hardwood floors is to position them in a diagonal pattern, which creates the illusion of space.

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