It’s time to ring in the new year, and that means it’s time to set some new resolutions. For many people, that means tackling major projects — like renovating a home! With a whole year ahead, there are new hardwood flooring trends coming down the line.
While carpet is still a common choice as flooring in the U.S., most types of hard flooring like hardwood, tile, laminate and vinyl are gaining popularity. However, there are many variations on color, texture and wood type that designers can offer to keep your home looking unique, so it can be hard to choose.
Here are some of the trending styles in the upcoming year for hardwood flooring.
Greige and light stains are in
The popularity of “greige” (grey + beige) and beige browns are seeing good demand, and very dark stains, yellows and cherry hardwood floors are definitely on the way out. Though there’s classic beauty in many types of traditional hardwood, a rising trend in hardwood floors, laminate and vinyl is a clean-looking light or gray stain. It’s not brand new, but more homeowners are opting for the clean, minimalist look. Nowadays browns, beige and a touch of gray are in and there are a lot of options with gray stain, as it can be colored and texturized to look weathered or clean, and can be applied to solid hardwood and engineered wood floors as well as vinyl or laminate.
Lighter stain is a new trend of whitewashing floors, following a beach-house or farmhouse trend. The result looks fabulous, lightens up a room and relaxes the home. Like most cases of white clothing or flooring, it shows scuffing and wear, so it can also often lend a weathered or vintage look, which many homeowners like as well. Better Homes and Gardens recommends lighter-color woods, such as maple and ash, for this look.
Tone down the shine
Goodbye high-gloss finish sealer, hello satin and matte finishes. About a decade or two ago, the big demand in flooring was for shiny floors with a high-gloss finish. These days, the desire for shine has scaled back, with many homeowners opting for more demure finishes. There are four basic levels of gloss: matte, satin, semi-gloss and glossy, ranging from least to most shine. When you think of high-gloss, think of a basketball court; a matte finish, the lowest shine level, would be about 35 percent sheen level or less.
It’s all about personal preference, but lower-luster floors tend to show scuffs less, according to guide website eHow. They also require less cleaning. One step above the lowest level sheen is satin, which ranges between 40–50 percent sheen factor, which refers to how much light is reflected. The satin finishes look polished but still allows the natural grain of the wood to come through — plus, it doesn’t have to be refinished as often. Satin has taken over as the trend in the past year or so, claiming the lead from the more lustrous semi-gloss.
Satin finish is also common among prefinished floors, according to eHow, which we’ll talk more about.
Many homeowners are skipping the time away from the house during renovation by installing a prefinished floor. While it’s typically more expensive, it does cut down on the installation time. Unfinished hardwood requires that installers nail it down, stain, and sand it, while prefinished is completed in the factory and just installed in the home. The major benefit is that installers can finish it within a day or two, and you can walk on your new floor immediately rather than waiting for finishes to cure.
Mix it up
Wide planks and mixed-width planks are a rising trend in flooring as well. Wide planks are a benefit of engineered wood flooring — it’s easier to fabricate them than cut solid wood. Because the planks cover more space, you’ll have fewer seams in your floor, lending to a more smooth and solid appearance. It does tend to be more expensive, especially if they’re made of solid wood, because they’re cut from the heart of the timber, and can be more expensive to install.
Mixed width floorings lend a very particular look, with narrow planks installed next to wider ones, hearkening back to the days before manufacturing consistency. Historically, older homes, build before the 20th century, may have flooring like this, because installers used the boards available in order to utilize the cut of the tree in the most efficient way.
It also has character — using random-width planks your floor will have a unique custom look with a vintage bent to it.
Maple and hickory join oak
Oak is the steadfast staple in wood flooring, but maple and hickory are rising choices as material for hardwood floors. Hickory has an active, worn look popular among many homeowners choosing an overall rustic look for their renovations. It’s also a very hard wood, practical for homes with a lot of traffic.
Maple has a straight grain and traditional, light tone to the wood that makes it adaptable for many stains. It is softer than hickory but still a hard wood, making it an excellent choice for durable floors. There are multiple species of maple as well, each with its own wood properties, so it’s good to ask a professional about which type of wood will be best for your home.