18 Modern Flooring Options to Refresh Your Antique Home
Historic homes aren’t just the apples of their owners’ eyes--they’re also neighborhood gems that communities want to see preserved for decades to come. But there’s no reason we can’t pay homage to their history, and ensure they’re well-suited to modern living.
Luckily, today’s homeowners don’t have to choose between fixtures fit for a period house and home decor that’s built for rough-and-tumble everyday life. From dinner parties to dogs, kids to company, there are modern flooring options that are designed to handle it all. And, from solid hardwood to engineered wood flooring, luxury vinyl plank to waterproof laminate floors, there are scores of options that can handle it all while still creating a look that brings your home’s antique architecture back to life.
Why We Love These Flooring Picks for Period Homes
The charm of an old house lies in its history. When you restore or renovate one of these gems, it’s like you’re bringing that history back to life. But...you’re not living in a museum. You’re updating the bathrooms, the wiring, and the appliances so that you can better blend historical charm with the realities of 21st century life. Why not add flooring to the list?
We love original hardwood floors as much as the next This Old House groupie. That’s why we’re so excited about the real wood and wood-look flooring on the market today. Sometimes, original hardwood is damaged beyond repair. Sometimes, it’s not available throughout an entire home. And sometimes, it’s just not the best option.
The engineered floors we’ve curated for you in this best-of list are designed to emulate the look and feel of these original, antique floors. You’ll find artisanal stains, hand-finished treatments and the variety you get in natural plank floors.
18 Flooring Options That Are Perfect for an Antique House
Not sure where to start shopping for new floors? Whether you’re tearing out carpets in a turn-of-the-century craftsman cottage or renovating a Victorian mansion, these flooring options are sure to wow everyone who gets the grand tour.
WONDROUS WOOD FLOORS
The dual-stain technique used by Palmetto Road in their Chalmers collection lends their engineered wood an old-school air. For historic homes that have a grandfatherly feel, we adore the Dusk coloration that brings out the wire-brushed texture in these 7.5-inch-wide planks. The matte finish offers an authentic early-American look.
(Chalmers in Dusk by Palmetto Road)
This laminate wood flooring is the choice for homeowners who want to bring glamour to their historic home without needing to worry about their floors. The Williamsburg collection brings hand-scraped designs, rustic patterns and the real and varied texture of original hardwood to life.
(Williamsburg in Sunrise Walnut by Palmetto Road)
This collection of solid hardwood from Somerset proves that statement floors don’t have to be show-stoppers. This Appalachian oak flooring offers a light texture and a low gloss finish, creating a humble, high-quality look and feel that nods towards its forests of origin. We love the richness of this deep shade--aptly called “Mystic”--that’s sure to score a second, admiring glance from anyone who crosses your welcome mat.
(Classic Solid in Mystic 3 ¼” by Somerset)
For a “yes, we did restore the original floors” feel, the designers at Azalea Lane created Cottage Creek. This collection of engineered birch hardwood floors has the look of wood that’s seen decades of footsteps. Carefully placed details, like scraping and chatter marks, lend credence to the claim.
(Cottage Creek in Amaretto by Azalea Lane)
Salvaged wood from warehouses, barns and other time-worn structures isn’t always as sturdy as it appears. If you want a reclaimed look and feel for your antique home but want something that’s guaranteed to hold up for decades to come, Palmetto Road’s Lexington collection should be on your must-see list. It’s designed with the texture of old, weathered wood and engineered to last since it’s a laminate wood construction.
(Lexington in Old Chapin by Palmetto Road)
SMOOTH AS HONEY
Brighten up an older home with the honey tones of this made-in-the-USA solid hardwood from Azalea Lane. This white oak is the perfect choice if you’re not a fan of heavier wood grains, but still want to see a bit of natural character coming through.
(Bradford in Honey 3 ¼” by Azalea Lane)
These floors have us singing “Country Roads” while envisioning the flora, fauna and frontier living of Tennessee’s oldest homes. Hearthwood drew inspiration from the forests of the Volunteer State for this collection, which transports matte-finished Hickory hardwood from the hiking trails into your house.
(Tennessee Trails in Cades Cove by Hearthwood)
CONTINENTAL FLAIR FOR COLONIAL HOMES
Just as many settlers in the colonies hailed from the continent, so, too, did the inspiration for Palmetto Road’s Monet collection of engineered wood flooring. A low-gloss finish on these sliced-face French Oak floors brings out the beauty of the wood grain. For period homes, try the rich Toulouse finish, which will bring dark-wood drama to any space alongside a touch-this texture.
(Monet in Toulouse by Palmetto Road)
SUMPTUOUS (AND SMART)
Concerned about bringing hardwood into splash zones? Whether you’re outfitting mud rooms, bathrooms or kitchens with fresh floors, look-alike laminate is the perfect choice to protect your investment and the heritage of your home.
(Cambridge in Bluffton by Palmetto Road)
An antique home is all about the accents. That’s why we’re excited to see that this Red Oak solid hardwood flooring from Somerset is crafted in a number of different widths. Choose 2¼”- or 3¼”-wide planks for a humble home built after the Industrial Revolution, when new board milling practices would have made narrower planks more popular than the wider boards of old.
(Specialty Solid in Mountain Brown by Somerset)
The rich colorations of the River Ridge collection aren’t the only reasons we’re falling for this cold weather birch engineered hardwood. Sure, they feel exactly like the mid-century ranch of our dreams, but they’re also incredibly tough. Palmetto Road seals these planks with eight coats of ultra-transparent aluminum oxide finish so they’re more durable than your typical hardwood option.
(River Ridge in Etowah by Palmetto Road)
MAKE IT A MASTERPIECE
Those who love period homes know that their original owners had a thing for showy public rooms, like parlors, grand foyers and stately libraries. It was common for turn-of-the-century homes to bring in fancier woods like walnut for these statement-making areas. Since walnut is a softer wood, restoring these spaces with laminate wood flooring is a practical choice that’s aesthetically true to the house’s time period.
(Wild Walnut in Antique Almond by Palmetto Road)
Stains, glosses and satin finishes are largely a fixture of contemporary interior design. The Victorians and their ancestors would have recognized the wide planks, matte styling and color variations in Hearthwood’s Tall Timbers collection. This engineered hardwood has the look of an heirloom with the durability of more modern makes.
(Tall Timbers in Lodge by Hearthwood)
WATERPROOF-RATED WOOD LOOK
If your floors take a beating, why not ensure they can handle the scrub-down, too? The Inspire collection from Palmetto Road is 100 percent waterproof with a tough, ceramic bead finish that ensures nothing from pet claws to work boots to fresh-from-the-pool kids will damage your floors. This vinyl tile designed to resemble rustic wood planks is ideal for country and waterfront homes, where you’re constantly bringing the outdoors in.
(Inspire in Thicket by Palmetto Road)
The knotty details in this collection’s French Oak and Hickory floors ooze character. Each plank has a unique look thanks to the custom cuts on each board, which are achieved at the hands of Palmetto Road’s master artisans. From wood grain to saw marks, you’ll see all the hallmarks of wonderful workmanship—perfect for a home with its own quirky architectural details.
(Riviera in Menton by Palmetto Road)
Victorians aren’t the only antique homes dotting the country! This lighter coloration from Beauflor’s Eternity collection is ideal for post-war ranches, split-levels and bungalows from coast to coast. And, because the laminate material has an attached, water-rated pad, it’s water resistant, incredibly durable and excellent for soundproofing the pitter-patter of tiny feet (and big ones, too!) on the different levels in your house.
(Eternity in Texas Brown by Beauflor)
Charleston isn’t just known for its ironwork. The historic homes on display in the Battery and further afield are filled with exquisite wood details, which Veranda perfectly captured in this Lowcountry-inspired collection of wide-plank engineered wood flooring. The French Oak boards are exposed to a fuming technique and then wire brushed to achieve their centuries-old appeal. Plus, their extra-thick 4 mm face gives homeowners the ability to sand and refinish these floors like solid hardwood--truly, the best of both worlds.
(Charleston in Sweetgrass by Veranda)
Maximize your entertaining space and the flow of your antique home by using the same beautiful floors throughout. Tarkett lets you do exactly that with their ProGen line of waterproof flooring. It’s rated for three-season use, making it a fine finish for sunrooms and enclosed porches and decks as well as your other interior spaces.
(ProGen in Durham Pine Tavern by Tarkett)
All of us at Twenty & Oak want you to be head-over-heels for the floors in your antique home. We curated our entire selection of solid hardwood, engineered wood, vinyl plank tile, and laminate wood flooring with true L-O-V-E in mind.
Once you find a few options that you think might work for your home, go ahead and order a flooring sample. Spend some time with the samples in different areas of your home. See how it looks in different lighting and at different times of day.
When you’re ready to make a choice, our flooring dealers will be standing by. They’ll help you figure out how much you need, order your flooring-of-choice and install and maintain your floors.
Our flooring dealers are located across the southeastern United States. For the most complete array of options you see here–from the Twenty & Oak website–we recommend working with one of our premium dealers. You can find the full list of flooring dealers here.