Rich walnut hardwood, exotic acacia, smoked and fumed oak...all these beautiful wood species, textures, colors, and designs that just pop in a room. It is so easy to fall in love with gorgeous floors. But, as much as you want them, it's not the right time, not the right house or not the right fit in your budget to have those floors right now. Whatever the reason may be, trust us when we say, do not fret over flooring. There are fantastic, fabulous, knock-your-socks-off flooring options that can give you all the high end looks without the high end price tag.
What Do You Really Want?
Hands down, the go-to flooring of choice is hardwood. Everyone falls in love with hardwood. It is, indeed quite lovely, but ask yourself - do you really love hardwood or do you love the look of hardwood? This is a very important question. We have heard people ooh and ahh over 'hardwood floors' in a room when those floors were actually luxury vinyl planks. It happens all the time especially with modern designs such as weathered and rustic wood styles. Modern luxury vinyl is so on-point with visuals and textures that it is hard to tell they aren't real hardwood. In fact, many new home builders are offering their clients the option to have a base grade hardwood or a higher end luxury vinyl with modern visuals. Same price, two different looks. One is average looking, the other looks high end and custom. So, again we ask - what do you really want?
If you absolutely love modern farmhouse style and want the complete look with wide, rustic planks, but hardwood is out of budget, we suggest you look at both luxury vinyl and laminate options. They offer all the same low gloss, matte finish, textured finish looks as hardwood, but at a more affordable price. An added benefit is both luxury vinyl and laminate have outstanding scratch and dent resistance.
Laminate floors also closely mimic hardwood designs. Some manufacturers, such as Palmetto Road, offer visuals in both hardwood and laminate options. The photos below show Palmetto Road's Chalmers dual-stain, wire brushed French oak hardwood flooring and Palmetto Road's LaFayette dual-stain, wire brushed French oak-look laminate flooring. Can you tell the difference? (We're not telling!)
The Upside of a Low Budget
All fashion, including floor fashion, runs the risk of being trendy. It is hard to look into the future to see if the floor you love today is the floor you will love in 10 or 15 years. If you have any hesitations about making a long term commitment to a flooring style, then a modern design floor on a budget is most likely the best choice for you.
Another benefit to luxury vinyl and laminate is that most are floating floors. This means that they are installed on top of the subfloor and have a locking system that binds the planks together versus a glue that binds them to the floor. Should your budget change in five years and the time is right to upgrade your floors, a floating floor is very easy to remove.
If You Absolutely, Positively Have to Have Hardwood...
If you have your heart set on hardwood and nothing else will do, you have options that give you gorgeous style without breaking the bank. In general, these floors will still be more expensive than luxury vinyl or laminate, but within the category of hardwood they offer custom looks at an affordable price.
One of our favorite picks is Azalea Lane's Windsor Park. A wire brushed, low gloss hickory hardwood, Windsor Park has on-trend wide planks and custom stain colors. Another favorite is the Cottage Creek collection. A birch engineered floor, Cottage Creek has a hand scraped surface treatment that adds to its character and charm. The entire Azalea Lane line offers incredible value for quality solid and engineered hardwood flooring.
A big misconception when purchasing flooring is that only the big box stores offer the budget-friendly prices. This is not true. A certified and trained flooring dealer will give you both sound, expert advice and work within your budget to get the best flooring for your home.