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Home / Education / Buying Guide / What's Your Hardwood Style?

What's Your Hardwood Style?

While nature beautifully designs hardwood through graining and knots, craftsmen enhance the natural design through stains, surface treatments, and finishes.  It is amazing the difference a technique can make to the overall look and feel of a hardwood floor. 

Color

From classic to contemporary stain colors, there are many options to choose from that can make your floors the centerpiece of your room or a complement to the overall design. 

Classic stain colors such as warm brown, nutmeg, and honey, will create a traditional warmth and ensure a timeless design.  Another classic look is a natural finish (no stain) which will expose the most character of any wood specie and bring brightness into a dark space.  Our Inspiration article, "The Benefits of Classic Hardwood" offers advice from our stylists regarding classic design with hardwood.

For a contemporary look, consider modern gray tones which have become one of the hottest trends in flooring.  Gray can quickly transform an outdated space giving it a fresh, contemporary look.  For a bold statement, choose a rich, dark stain color to add sophistication and style to your home. 

Artisans can create masterpieces through stains, such as the dual process used in Palmetto Road's Chalmers Collection. This two-tone staining process has one color applied to (and enlivening) the wood grain and the second tone lying underneath. The subtle color shifts create a truly one-of-a-kind look.   Using multiple stains in a single collection can give a contrasting look between light and dark tones.  Palmetto Road's Riviera Collection and Hearthwood's Dynamic Earth Collection are great examples of this modern design.

Surface Treatment

Subtle scraping, wire brushing or distressing bring an authentic, aged design to many collections.  These surface treatments, combined with a complementing stain color can create a warm and inviting space that is perfect for high traffic areas or busy, active homes with children and pets.  Worry less about obvious scratching or dings with a surface that has been intentionally aged. 
 
Scraping and distressing create a vintage look, optimizing the character in each plank.  Wire brushing actually removes the softer grain in the wood, so that you are walking on the hardest, most durable grain.  For a truly rustic design, choose a collection that offers multiple surface treatments.  A smooth surface is a classic, timeless choice that is elegant and versatile for any design.

Plank Width and Edges

The width of hardwood flooring planks can contribute to the overall space design of a room. A 2 ¼” width (often referred to as “strip”) is considered traditional and can expand the overall look and feel of a room.  A wider plank can make a large space feel more intimate and also create a modern element. 

Mixing plank widths adds a creative, unique design and is actually a choice that is truly authentic, dating back hundreds of years when the entire log of the tree was used to produce varied widths.  

Look for the “mixed width” feature to find a collection that is actually packaged with multiple widths in each carton.  Otherwise, have your installer calculate the quantity needed of multiple widths and purchase the widths you prefer to mix.  Somerset Flooring has a calculator tool on their site to make this a simple task.

Beveled (or eased) edge treatments help hide minor irregularities, such as slightly irregular subfloors.  Usually preferred over “square edges,” this treatment is present either as a 2-sided or 4-sided bevel on various collections.  Dirt can easily be swept or vacuumed out of the grooves.  Just be sure to sweep parallel with the planks, for the most effective result.
 
With so many options to choose from across multiple brands of hardwood flooring, a Twenty & Oak dealer can help you find the perfect floor for your design and budget.

Photo Credit: (top right) iStock
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Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.

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