First of all, THANK YOU for those who have filled out our 2014 Reader Survey. It has been an absolute joy reading all of the feedback. I will post the results in a few days, but I wanted to tell you thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey. If this is the first you are hearing about the survey, don’t worry, you still have time to fill it out!
I have already expressed my pure hatred for our current carpet situation, but in a nutshell, when we moved in almost 5 years ago, the carpeting in our home {which had never been lived in} started to fall to pieces almost immediately after we moved in. The house was a foreclosure that had been vacant since completion two years earlier. But, whoever laid the carpet did a shotty job and the tack strips have been poking into my family’s feet ever since we moved in. Although it may sound like I’m bitter, I’m actually not, I’m more excited for the day that we will rip out the carpet. I think we are only a few months away. {Hot damn, best news ever, right?!?}

Although it is very exciting, the decisions of what flooring to buy is a daunting one.  I have this small voice in the back of my head that is terrified I will pick the wrong choice. I know, that doesn’t sound like me AT ALL, huh! I’m usually pretty reckless with my choices around here. Heck, if I hate it, I just paint it again! But, with floors, I think the difference is the cost. I am such a thrifty person in general, and I know this purchase comes with a significant punch in the gut. At our best guess we need about 1700 square feet of flooring. Yes, it could be worse.

I’ve never chosen wood floors, and when it comes down to it, I’m afraid of the unknown.

Here are my concerns:

1. I’m afraid the flooring will show EVERY LAST DUST PARTICLE. I have heard it at least 100 times from friends, family and complete strangers. “ Do NOT go too dark or you will be a slave to your floors, and it will show every doggy paw and kid footprint from now until the end of time.”  So, I need my house to be comfortable to live in not just look good. I know dark wood floors are beautiful, but I know I could never have ebony wood floors. My kids spill cereal on a daily basis as it is, and I don’t need the Captain Crunch to be displayed for all to see like it’s in flashing lights at the theatre.

So far I have heard lots of advice about how to combat this concern: pick a medium tone, pick something with variation and distress in the grain, and do not get a glossy sheen {supposedly satin sheen floors help hide dust}. If you have any other bits of advice, please comment below. I would LOVE to hear it!

2. I’m afraid a “medium” tone of wood flooring will look dated. I know that any wood would be a huge step up from our yucky carpet, don’t get me wrong. But, I don’t want my house to look “dated” after spending a significant amount of money on new floors.  Is this concern ridiculous? Is wood pretty timeless, or am I right in thinking that certain colors will date my home forever?

3. I’m afraid the floors will make my home {particularly the bedrooms} feel cold and un-homey {is that a word?}. I am aware that this concern is mostly silly but, let me validate my feelings. I am not interested in something that makes my life harder. My most recent concern is that we use a humidifier when we are sick, and I am afraid the moisture will damage the wood flooring.  My Mom said that she hated having wood floors in her bedroom when she was young because when she woke up the floors would feel rigid and cold on her feet in the morning. In fact, after only a few months her parents carpeted right over the wood flooring because they disliked it so much.  So, should I exclude my bedrooms?

4. I’m afraid the wood floors will clash with my kitchen cabinet color.  Although I’m not a stranger to painting kitchen cabinets, I actually like the unique color of my cabinets. Plus, I think it’s important to have wood elements in our home, and most of my furniture is painted. So, I do not want to paint the cabinets. But, every time I think I have made a decision, I take the sample of flooring and place it by my kitchen cabinets and it is either the exact same color {which I think would look bad because I think homes need contrast}, OR the tones clash with the cabinet color. Do you think I’m being too picky? Designers out there, tell me how to combat this concern!

Now that I’ve proven {in writing} that I can be a silly over-analytic girl, let me show you the floors that I absolutely LOVE and that I am inspired by.

I think these floors are by far my favorite choice for my home. They are rustic, medium toned, and afforable, and that combination is NOT easy to find. It’s actually laminate, and I’m not 100% sold. I think I would rather have real wood. But, I cannot afford the real wood alternative. Real reclaimed wooden barn wood floors can be $15 a square foot. Ouch.

woodland original armstrong flooring

Woodland Old Original Dark/ Old Character Flooring from Armstrong

The next floors on my list are these fantastic floors from Amy Butler’s home. I have no idea what type of floors they are, but I have a feeling they are in the category I mentioned above in the “out of my price range” realm.

amy-butler-house

Amy Butler’s House

This flooring is unique and different and I think it’s got a bit of a beachy feel to it. I like it, but I don’t know if my style aligns with this one perfectly.

Light-and-gray-floors

Source

I love the farmhouse feel of this home, and the wide planked wood floors are so cool. They almost look like self installed wood planks which opens up another can of worms.

Floors

Picture Source Original Source Unknown

Remember the reclaimed wood look I mentioned above, these floors are packed with that feel, I do not think there is a distributor of these floors in my state.

reclaimed-wood-flooring

Mountain Lumber Antique Distressed Wood Flooring

I think these floors are homey and seem timeless.

And these floors from Build Direct are super inexpensive. Plus, I think they are pretty.

birch flooring build direct

Birch Engineered flooring by Build Direct

So, there you have it. A glimpse inside my brain when it comes to choosing wood flooring. What do you think? Am I crazy? Don’t answer that.

xoxo,

Brooke

P.S. Although wood tiles are popular, I think I have ruled them out. They are extremely expensive and installation is even more costly. I just wanted to address this before I got this suggestion in the comments.

Comments

  1. Twyla says

    Brooke, I really love your number one choice. And it’s nice that it’s affordable. I think that some of the more distressed more casual options (not all of them, just one or two) might limit you down the road if you ever wanted to update with a newer, modern, eclectic or contemp theme. The floor you’ve chosen is more versatile, regardless, and I love the color.

    As for the bedrooms, I understand your concern. With young children, I’d opt for carpeting. If not, I’d opt for wood flooring. We have carpeting in our bedrooms now, having replaced it in 2010. It still looks great and it’s a great warm neutral blend that shows ZERO dirt or stains. I love it.

    Your call.

  2. Chelle says

    We just made the decision to rip out the horrid faded, bubbling, tearing tile in the kitchen, thank goodness! I had my heart set on wood, so we went to Lumber Liquidators, I asked way more questions than my contractor hubby too. I ended up with a medium toned hand scrapped hickory with lovely dark and lighter tones that streak throughout. Since hubby has hardwood experience, he’s laying it himself, so I know that my lengths will be staggered to my liking for an old timey feel & look…like the flooring I grew up with.

    We’re on a horse farm, have an active 2 yr. old, 3 dogs that live in, and I actually have no worries about the floor! I chose to get a texture with that hand scrapping so it will help hid any scratches, and I did not allow any gloss/high sheen. If it happens to get scratched I can go over it with hemp oil (or another oil) and it will blend right in! Perfect for a high traffic area in a house as busy as ours.

    Best of luck in the choosing!

  3. txvoodoo says

    I agree with you on all your concerns. And I’ve been thinking about it a lot since we’ll do it at some point and REMOVE the laminate (ick) and white carpet (seriously, we have THREE dogs and just..no.). But it will be on the entire first floor – kitchen, dining, living room, master, and my office/studio.

    I want midtones. But I think the trick to have midtones that don’t get date is to not choose extremely warm tones – not only do those seem to get dated, but they make it difficult to design around them. You can always pair warmer furniture/soft furnishings with cool floors, but doing it the other way around is tricky.

    If I had my DREAM, I’d choose Amy Butler’s flooring. And roll around on it in happiness! But I don’t know if I could convince the hub. :D

  4. victoria says

    We had carpeting in our house and I hated it, really hated it. I have allergies, dogs, pollen you name it, I probably have an allergy to it. I lived with carpeting for 15 years in our house and I was SOOOO glad when I finally convinced my husband to get rid of it and get wood.
    We went with Engineered wood because we have dogs and kids and I’ve got a husband all of who come into the house with shoes, mud and all kinds of yuck. Engineered doesn’t scratch as easy as ‘real’ wood and it comes in many different types of finishes. I LOVE IT… can I say I LOVE it! I wanted hand scraped but couldn’t find it in a darker stain that I wanted so we went without the hand scraped look. but I do have a dark stain. I also chose a wide plank look.
    Pro’s of wood floors – easy to clean, matches whatever you have as decor and doesn’t keep in the allergans. My allergies are practically non existant at home now.
    Con’s of wood floors – they can show the dirt and dog hair. We have a husky and let’s just say he sheds – A LOT! While it’s good that I can see all his hair on the floor it’s bad that I can see all his hair on the floor. And to think all of that was in my carpet! YUCK.
    I clean my wood with Rejuvinate, satin finish and I love it. You can get it at Home Depot.
    Mine look like the Birch Engineered picture you have. The hardest decision we had to make was which way to lay the wood – horizontal or vertical… tough decision.
    Go with the wood… you’ll love it.

  5. Erica says

    I live in Florida and we have engineered bamboo floors (mid-tone) throughout the house with slate tile in the kitchen, baths, front entry, etc. We specifically put the wood in the bedrooms because both my son and I have asthma. Carpeting just holds all of the dirt and allergens in. I understand your concern about the bare floors in bedrooms. That’s why we have wood rather than tile. But that’s always an opportunity for a throw rug!

    As for the floors competing with your wood cabinets… Look at your inspiration photos. You’ll notice that all the wood furniture pieces in the rooms are in the same color family as the floors. Stick to that and you’ll be fine!

    • Kiran says

      I have mid tone bamboo floors too. They are distressed as well. My daughter clomps around in heels playing dress up and there are no scratches. These floors are tough! They are actually warmer on the feet than the tiles I have. Words thrown out when people see my floors: posh, beautiful, sophisticated.

  6. Katie says

    Brooke,
    Number One thing I can tell you: go with engineered hardwood. It is much easier to keep clean and to maintain. Also, it’s far less expensive and it will do better in your home considering you live in a hot, dry climate. (I live in Henderson. NV.)
    I recently put in the Birch Engineered Hardwood in my home and I love it! The color is amazing. Dark enough to not be dated, light enough to hopefully not go out of date, and it hides a lot! I don’t feel like I have to mop the floor every day but I do have to sweep, or should I say vacuum, the floor in the kitchen after meals since my 1 year old puts everything on the floor.
    Don’t worry about it not being homey either. As long as you have rugs your space will be warm and very inviting.
    I had a big debate over what color change my kitchen cabinets to (they were the yellowy maple builder grade crap) and in the end I Painted them white rather than having them stained. That being said, my best friends home has similar cabinets to yours and similar flooring to mine and they look wonderful together. The trick is to keep the paint colors and decoration accents light and bright.
    There is a place here in Vegas called United Wholesale Flooring off of I-15/Dean Martin that sells flooring for cheep. I got mine for just under $3.50 a sq. foot. Only thing is, don’t buy his glue or quarter round (to expensive, you can find cheaper elsewhere including purchasing the quarter round from me if you want… I’ll give it to you cheap!) Do yourself a favor and pull up your baseboards, then lay your floor and re-lay or replace your baseboards. You will thank yourself later. You may still have to put quarter round around your cabinets but that’s fine. Also, we found some local handy men to lay our floors for us and got it done quickly. Laying it yourself is much harder than you think and is soooooo worth the money to pay someone. (We learned the hard way.) I think we were able to talk our flooring guys into laying the floor for $1.50-$2 a square foot.
    Hope this helps. I can’t wait to see what you do!
    Katie

  7. Katie W. says

    I grew up in a home with all wood floors and now live in a house with wood/tile. I love it, so easy to clean with just a Swiffer or vacuum. As for the bedrooms, if you are worried about it being “cold” get a fun area rug or carpet tiles. I think if you stick with the same undertone of your kitchen cabinets and go either lighter or darker it will not clash but will still give a little contrast! Keep looking and you will find the perfect wood… it just takes some searching but since it is a big investment it is worth the time.

  8. Sarah Crocker says

    I think you have some valid concerns. I have engineered wood flooring in my entire house (built on a slab) and I hate them. I have allergies and pets so I don’t like carpet at all. I have a medium color floor and I do like the color, but I would strongly suggest that you not get a shiny finish. They look great for about a day and then every smudge shows up and they are impossible to keep shiny. Keep in mind if you go for that “hand scraped” look that any “texture” or grooves in the wood flooring will trap dirt and dust. (My wood floors show a lot of dust and pet hair.) The engineered wood is easily damaged and any water spills stain between the boards. Also I have had a problem with the color fading from sunlight. I never had that problem in my last house with real wood floors. If I had it to do again right now I would choose laminate or real wood. The engineered wood floors on a slab foundation are also very cold and very hard! I could not get real wood when the house was built because it was new construction and the slab would not be cured enough, so the floors would buckle. And finally, keep in mind the wood floors are twice as much work since you have to sweep or vacuum and then mop. (I often use a steam cleaner, but it still takes two steps.) Good luck making your choice! From your photos I loved the first choice even though it is laminate.

  9. says

    We went through a similar process a couple years ago. I have five kids, four months to twelve years. Here’s what I think:
    1) go medium vs dark
    2) absolutely go satin finish… Which was hard to find when we were looking
    3) skip the bedrooms…. Or you’ll end up getting lots of area rugs… It is cold on your feet and unless you are a clean freak the dust bunnies!!!
    4)don’t get hand scraped… The raised ridges finish wears off first (our mistake!)
    5) I wouldn’t worry about humidity… Wood floors are very resilient…. We have them in our kitchen…no problems. I even use a steam mop set on low to clean them.
    6) get them installed properly! Let them acclimate in your house for a week or so before installing them or you may get good size gaps between the boards during heating season.
    7) the wider the planks, the more movement and gaps you get with changes in humidity.
    8) classic over trendy will do better over the long haul
    Hope this helps!

  10. says

    I have 5 kids and we’re on our 4th house. We’ve put a huge variety of different woods/laminates in the houses. Our current home has a mix of wood and carpet (bedrooms/living room). The carpet is “low show” as far as dirt/spotting, but I long for the day we can rip it out and put in all solid flooring. After a little time, the high traffic areas just seem like they never look all the way good. Maybe for like 2 weeks after a good carpet shampoo. You should know, if you’ve got any sort of potty training on the horizon, carpet is your arch nemesis! It’s much easier to take your giant rug outside and thoroughly clean a spot than to get on your hands and knees and attempt to clean it. Nothing ever really comes out of carpet. Ever.

    A few things I’ve learned:
    We put in a hand scraped floor with those rustic gaps between the boards. Rustic gaps: food catchers. No gaps! I spent the first two weeks with that charming reclaimed floor on my hands and knees with a toothpick getting the food out of the crevices. It was a lot less charming after that. NO GAPS!
    If you go dark, get a big “church gym” style dust mop. A few quick swipes makes it easy.
    Right now we have really light wood and I love it. It made our space feel instantly larger and more airy.
    Rugs rugs rugs can break up the feeling of “matchy matchy” floors and cabinets.
    My uncle has been laying floors for over 30 years and he says in these dry Utah climates, floors love the extra moisture of a humidifier. I don’t think you’ll ever need to worry about that. We run one all the time.

  11. Mandi says

    Our entire basement is tile floor. When we moved in we thought it was an odd choice but I actually really like it now. Tile is harder and colder than wood, but one thing we did to warm up the bedrooms was find cheap carpet remnants and have them bound. Not as cute as a fabulous rug or two, but we got a lot of square footage for less. The carpet rugs actually fill most of the kids rooms and tv room.

  12. says

    I understand your concerns but I wouldn’t over think it, wood floors are amazing and warm. My first suggestion would be to NOT install laminate flooring. We installed it in a previous home and within the first week our refrigerator leaked all over the floor underneath and left a huge discolored, lifted heave in the brand new floor. Any moisture on laminate has got to be wiped up immediately or it will heave in that spot. I was sick, but the refrigerator covered it:/ When we made the decision to build a new home my only wish was hardwood throughout the living space, (we have carpet in the bedrooms). We went to the local LUMBER store, not a big box store or flooring manufacturer, we cut out the middle man and went straight to the wood store:) We picked out a medium tone, CHARACTER GRADE Hickory in three widths. Character Grade is typically the pieces they discard because their are knots etc. in the wood, something most people don’t want. I LOVE it and wouldn’t want anything else after having it. It was finished before it was installed (another thing people will tell you NOT to do. The cost was incredibly less expensive because we chose the character grade wood. $2.50 a running foot. We installed aprox. 1600 sq. ft. of wood flooring in our new home. It is warm on your feet, looks warm and welcoming and natural wood flooring NEVER goes out of style. I know the cost can be daunting but there are ways to get around that. If your mother’s house was like mine growing up the wood floors probably were cold, but homes are built with more insulation these days and if she had an upstairs bedroom, there was no heat, typically they didn’t heat second stories! Please rethink laminate, it is cheap looking, cheap sounding when you walk on it and it can not get wet. Good luck on your decision, and keep us posted!

  13. says

    Another idea, have you seen the wood floors they are installing using sheets of plywood? Very affordable and can be cut to any width and are easy to install! Just another affordable suggestion. Check it out on pinterest:)

  14. DeeAnna says

    We have tile instead of wood (previous owners choice) and in the winter the floors are a little chilly, but I usually wear socks in the winter anyway. And in the summer, the cool floor feels wonderful on bare feet! I imagine wood would be similar, and you can always put comfy rugs in strategic places.

  15. says

    Brooke,
    I ordered 5 free samples from build direct and loved a few of them. We picked one and when I went online to order it I got sucked in to the clearance section and ended up ordering ebony laminate at .69 per sq foot!! They will be delivered tomorrow afternoon and I am super excited. We have two dogs (one white) so I have concerns about paw prints and fur, but I think it will be worth it to have floors I love. I will come back and let you know how the delivery process goes and how the floors are!!

  16. says

    We put in a higher end wood laminate on our main floor 5 years ago and I do love it much better then our carpet and linoleum (kitchen). I am not really happy though with how it has worn. We have scratches from various things and honestly you can not see them unless you get down on the floor and look at angle- which I have and it makes me sad. But a lot of people make comments about the floor when they visit, they think it is real wood and they really like it. We have an area rug in our living room. It is a fluffier rug then I originally wanted but it was my husband’s request so he had some padding when he lays on the floor. We only did the main floor and not the bedrooms. I do have a bit more dust to pick up however it likely exists even with the carpet, you just can not see it. So I appreciate seeing it and getting it all up! We have a cordless vacuum to help with clean up in the kitchen as I have a 6 and 3 year old and a messy husband.

    I have a lot of dark furniture and I wish we had thought that through. At least purchased our loveseat in a fabric rather then dark leather. Just remember that area rugs help out to break up dark floors. When we first put in our flooring the difference was so striking and our tiny living room looked so much bigger.

  17. Jennifer says

    I love that hand scraped, dark, wide planked wood but I’m also not rich and I have kids. We opted for a distressed, medium toned lamintate that looks and feels more like wood than the laminate we had in our old house. It almost has a grayish hue in places like old barn wood or driftwood. And I LOVE it. You could see dusty footprints on our floor in our house even after a thorough sweep/swifter. I pretty much never can see how filthy my floor is until I sweep it after dinner every night and see all the gross crud that’s made it’s way to the floor during the day. Our cabinets are white so matching wasn’t a problem luckily.

  18. Brittany says

    You are not crazy or picky, I have had all the same questions. We currently have tile and carpet but are looking for a new home with wood floors and wonder about cleanliness, warmth etc. I have always thought dark was the way to go, but you bring up good points, and anyway that reclaimed barn wood style is just beautiful, and so your style. I would still do carpet in bedrooms, much cozier and stops noise. Wood in living areas. Good luck with everything!!! It is a hard choice, you have to live with it;).

  19. Lynn W says

    We went with engineered hand scraped acacia. It’s a mix of tones from light to dark, but it is medium overall and goes with everything from my my oak kitchen cabinets to my cherry TV stand. It has a shimmer to it in some light, it’s really beautiful. It’s not the style you are looking for but the color is very versatile. We have three dogs and a cat and I just bought a dust broom and I go over it really quickly once or twice a day. Takes just a minute or two. We used http://www.hardwoodbargains.com and highly recommend them. They give free samples and run specials a few times a year. I probably got 30 samples from different places. I did a bunch of tests on this sample, sharpie, smacking it with a hammer, scraping with a nail, etc. and it didn’t show any of them. We’re really happy with our choice. We are still deciding on carpet or wood flooring for our bedroom and guest room, but my daughter went with the hardwood and an area rug. And if you order while it’s on sale, they give you the sale price in the future if you order more.

  20. Sharon B. says

    I like the 4th (farmhouse style) and last pictures. A year ago on our main floor we went from wall to wall carpet to laminate. Our kitchen cabinets are oak and the laminate we chose is called African Bubinga. It is absolutely beautiful, with a great mix of dark and medium wood colours. The medium colour matches our kitchen cabinets and it looks great, but we have white countertops and white appliances to counterbalance all the dark wood colours. The finish is very high gloss and the overall feeling is fairly dark high gloss floors in the hallway, living room, dining room and kitchen. The dark glossy floor shows everything, from dust to marks from walking with bare feet on it. I have a hardwood floor spray that I can wipe the floors with to get rid of the marks, but as soon as someone walks on the floor with bare feet, there are marks again. If you can’t stand seeing marks on your floors, do not get a dark glossy floor. A medium wood with a satin finish would show way less marks and dust. I always wear socks or slippers, except on hot days in the summer. In the winter I find the floors too cool otherwise and that’s when I miss the carpet, but my laminate floors sure look a lot better than the carpet did. So far no scratches on the laminate surface, and we have a Boston Terrier. But if you get laminate, you must wipe up any spilled liquids immediately, or your floor will swell at the seams. We haven’t had any problems, but we don’t have any children in the house to spill liquids. If you are considering engineered floors, check to see if you have to be careful of spills with them. If you can afford wood floors, I imagine you would be happier with them than laminate, but you might want to put an area rug in the living room for warmth and cushiness, especially if you have children. Bottom line, wood/laminate floors are more beautiful than carpet, but carpet is warmer and cozier. I don’t know if you have a dog, but if you do, especially if it is big, then you might want to rethink wood floors. Their claws will scratch any wood floor, no matter how hard the wood is.

  21. Dawn Ashby says

    I say try and mix light and dark wood together. It will show less dust. I did wood floors in my house. We have 16 foot ceilings and the noise level is high. The kids voices echo and it makes it hard to talk on the phone. I suggest if you do wood floors you will have to buy lots of rugs to balance out the room feeling empty and balance out the kiddos voices. I love your blog and your the ideas you have.

  22. Sylvie says

    We have light floors on our first floor, and dark wood in the upstairs hall and master bedroom. I can honestly say that they are equal in their dirt-hiding! I really thing it just depends on how often you want to grab your broom. For our bedroom, we each have a small area rug on our sides, and I keep my slippers there, so I never feel the cold floors. I love both floors, and I’m happy we went light downstairs, as it keeps the entire area light and open. Good luck (and thanks for all the pretty inspiration pics!).

  23. says

    We have real wood floors in our house — the original floors from the 1950’s. They are gorgeous. They make your home inviting, warm and are just so pretty. But, they are a lot of work. Yes, they show more dust, crumbs and lovelies all over the floor. I’m constantly vacuuming the edges where everything gathers. I use a dry mop on them and Murphy’s oil soap once a month (on my hands and knees!). Today, however, they have hardwood floors that are easier to maintain. Because ours are real wood we have to be careful about vacuuming or mopping on them — if you get a big gauge in them you have to replace the boards . If you do wood, it will get colder in the house. We have area rugs and a runner down the hallway to help with that. Also, things will echo just FYI. Someone drops something in the other room and it echoes throughout the house haha. Area rugs help, but it’s still louder than carpet. But, even with all of that, I wouldn’t trade these for carpet. Hardwood floors add value to your home. When we had ours on the market we had more visitors and more offers because of the wood. I wish we had a darker wood. I’m actually thinking of refinishing them next year and changing to a dark stain. The darker stains look great against white and neutrals.

  24. Cathleen says

    We have wood floors from end to end in our house. The are medium wood…came with the house. As far as looking “dated”…whatever you do is going to look dated at some point, so I’d just go with whatever looks good to you. As far as dirt goes, when we had carpet in our last home, it was MUCH harder to keep clean with pets and children. At least when there’s a spill/accident/tracking mud etc. it’s a hard surface and you can clean it thoroughly and quickly. (We have a dog and two children.) Noise does seriously travel in our house, and we got a big rug in the family room to cut down on that issue. But that has created another…that rug catches ALL the dirt and gets a bit nasty. Oh well…the kids will go to college eventually. :) One thing that I would HIGHLY recommend is that if you do go with wood floors, become a “shoes off” house. We are not…my husband refuses and my girls do whatever…and that brings in a lot of dirt. All that being said, I’d never go back to wall to wall carpet. Mostly I can clean up with the vacuum, and mop just a couple of times a month depending on the area. Good luck!

  25. Megan says

    Hey Brooke,
    Wow lots of ideas/ suggestions! I will tell you a story. My mom always put hard wood floors in her custom built homes and every time she put up that last perfect decoration my dad announced a move. She even had slippers made in every size and color that would sit in a basket by the door to keep shoes off the floors. So then came along a new product and she was convinced to try the laminate flooring. Just after the floors were in and perfect, a worker came in from the garage and dropped his tape measure tab down on the floor. My mom rushed over to see the damage and was shocked she couldn’t even find where it had hit. She was sold from then on and said she would never go back to real wood. So don’t feel bad about doing laminate over wood. On an extra note she has always installed carpet in the bedrooms.

  26. Janet says

    To help with the water/humidity concerns: My mother in law taught me to vacuum and dry dust rather than mop. Just spot clean when needed, and mop everywhere just a few times per year. She lives in Louisiana, which is humidity central, and her floors are still beautiful after many years of use.

    I grew up in a house with very dark wood floors, and they do show dust like crazy. More rustic/grainy coloring and satin rather than super shiny finish are great advice. We also had grooves between each plank similar to the last choice on your list, and they tended to collect dirt and chip occasionally with heavy duty use.

    The only choice you made up there that would clash with your kitchen is maybe the beachy color.

    I’m with you on hating cold floors in the morning, but we are currently addressing this with small area rugs that can be washed/hosed down/replaced. MUCH easier to clean under the bed and behind furniture if you have hardwood, and carpeting can’t be cleaned with a $5 mop.

    Don’t go cheap if you can avoid it, you want these to last forever!

  27. Liz Mann says

    Our home came with a medium oak wood flooring. Our house is old (70 years) and it was time to replace the flooring this past fall. We shopped around a ton and talked to a lot of different floor installers and one thing kept coming up over and over again: medium oak floors are timeless; darker, very textured floors are a trend that won’t last the test of time. This was coming from guys that deal with hardwood floor as a living. After hearing it so often, we decided with the medium oak floors, with a big color gradation. We love them so much! They really are such a timeless floor. They are so warm and add so much character. I’m so excited to see how they change your house! They will be gorgeous!

  28. Sarah says

    So my home is 100 years old, and therefore when we bought it and refinished the floors, it was a slightly different concern than yours. We had to replace some of the flooring and our current floor boards are narrower than their modern replacement counterparts, and I do think new wood stains and wears differently than older wood. We did go with a dark ebony stain over pine boards on our third floor, and its actually really beautiful, doesn’t look dusty if you vacuum on a normal schedule, and it makes the lower ceilings feel higher (to me). The remainder of the house has maple wood flooring, and for that we didn’t even stain, we just did a poly finish. I’m a HUGE fan of this look as I think it is timeless and allows the variations in the wood under it to shine through. Of course, the newer floor boards don’t look as great as the older boards with this technique, so if you could get your hands on salvaged wood, I think you’d like the result better. The honey finish doesn’t show dirt or scratches and it seems to just get better with time!

  29. Kaylyn Loomis says

    I just thought I would share my take on this. We bought a house this year that came with laminate wood in a cherry wood hue, installed in the living room, hall and all the bedrooms. The bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and laundry/mud room all have the same beautiful grey tile.
    1st – I love the look of my laminate, but at the same time I hate it. I have a 2 and 4 yr old and laminate does not like water and no matter how hard I try, keeping my kids from spilling liquids on it just isn’t happening. So in the 8 months we have lived here we already have several places where the floor is puffed between boards and it really bugs me. But my sister has a higher end laminate floor and she hasn’t had the same problems. Apparently type matters for durability.
    2nd – I don’t mind the wood in my bedroom, but I do in my kids. They spend a lot of time in their rooms and I prefer the soft over the hard for them.
    So my suggestion – go for the wood, try to find the look you can love and don’t stress the dust or other stuff. Every flooring has its flaws, so no matter what you get, it will have issues. I would suggest maybe a tile for the kitchen and dining room, with a transition strip to the wood for the living room area. Than you don’t have to worry about clashing woods between the cabinets and floor. I would totally put the wood in your master bedroom, but for the kids room I would do a great quality carpet. And then, if I were you, I would have fun with area rugs.
    Whatever you do – remember, it will be better than what you have now, so it won’t be wrong. Good Luck.

  30. says

    I have never had noise issues, or echoing. And as far as cleaning, I just vacuum my wood floors just like I would carpet. Wood floors are easier to take care of, in my opinion, and that dust collects in carpet too, you just don’t see it!

  31. M. says

    The top/first one is beautiful but it seems like that much color variation will lock you into the rustic thing forever. As for the kitchen cabinet issue, I guess I’d go with either tiling the kitchen or just painting the lower cabinets and leaving the top ones wood–if you’re really attached to the wood cabinets.

  32. Linda says

    We have had engineered hardwood floors, real wood floors and laminate. I loved the wood and mostly disliked the laminate, although laminate has probably moved on a lot from 10 years ago when we installed it. We had pale Pergo in a kitchen and it showed every scratch because yes, it does scratch. We used darker Pergo in a couple of bathrooms and it was great, looked good and was easy to clean.

    Personally I don’t mind the wood floors getting a bit bashed up as I prefer the depth of the wood to the flat look of laminate. As for wood showing every speck of dust: I had our floors stained a rich mid brown with an ebony border and didn’t find it difficult to keep clean. Vacuum weekly, or more if needed, and use one of those swifter wet jet type cleaners to dislodge any sticky messes!

    My personal favorite is the Birch engineered hardwood as I think it looks more authentic and would blend with many different decor choices.

  33. says

    Had it not been for your last little bit I was going to scream and shout wood tile :) I hate my wood floors! We are saving to rip them out and lay the wood tile. We did lay a very cheap flooring tho so we probably got what we paid for! Here is something I have noticed though between the floor I have and others that seem to like theirs better. If they have variation and texture they won’t show every little thing as much. I would go with a darker tone too to avoid the dated look. Where I have had house plants and near the dishwasher mine has warped so you do have to be careful with moisture. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  34. says

    We have wood laminate (Pergo) in our entire house, except for the wet areas, which have ceramic tile. I like it, but there are pros and cons.

    Pros:
    Cheaper than real wood
    Easy cleanup
    Easy to rearrange furniture (furniture slides easily and floors do not scratch like real wood)
    Easy to decorate around (fabrics don’t clash with wood tones like they do with carpet)

    Cons:
    Noisy (even with the special padded under layers)
    Hard on the feet (I never go barefoot or just wear socks anymore. I always wear shoes inside now.)
    Susceptible to water damage*

    *With real wood, you can sand and repair sections. With laminate, you have to replace. AND, the kicker with that is that the flooring manufacturers change the designs every year or two, so you can’t go buy replacement boards to match. You have to replace the entire room (been there, done that).

    I recently visited a friend’s new house with real plank wood floors (her husband is a builder and installed and stained all the floors), and they were so dreamy. I walked around in my socks the whole time we were there, and they felt so soft underfoot. And I wasn’t slipping around like I do on our laminate floors. I think they had a satin finish (and they were probably clean — dusty floors are more slippery). Anyway, it was gorgeous and comfortable. The color was a medium brown. Not too dark, but not light either. Very similar in color to the engineered wood floors you listed last. There is a huge difference in the feel of laminate wood and real wood. I think there’s a pretty big difference between engineered floating floors and real plank floors too. I would say get the highest quality option that you can afford.

    As far as carpet in the bedrooms… I don’t know. My oldest son has requested carpet in his room if we ever buy or build a new house. We do have area rugs. I prefer no carpet in the bedrooms because I hate to vacuum, and I just prefer the look of wood. I got a Roomba for Mother’s Day last year, and it works really well on the wood laminate. I especially love that it gets all the dust bunnies under the beds. :)

  35. Lisa says

    I would never recommend engineered wood even though some people seem to like it. I have a very large yellow lab who has managed to scratch every square inch of the flooring that he is allowed on. I also have chips and dents where something has dropped on the floor. Footprints and everything else shows though maybe different finishes would make a different. Mine are not really glossy or anything. It seems to me that the homes with dogs with solid wood floors still look great, with only some light surface scratches and wear. Mine will have to be replaced when we no longer have dog since they will not be able to be sanded down. Sadly they are only 9 years old.

    I have a Bissel and if you ever clean your own carpets, even when they look clean, you will be appalled at the amount of dirt that comes out of your carpets. I would go wood all the way with area rugs. Good luck!

  36. Brittney says

    All the choices you’re considering are gorgeous! You are spot on with your dark floor concerns. We just bought our first house and had the hardwood finished in an ebony. They are absolutely beautiful against all the white trim and moldings, but they’re making me go crazy! I dust and swifter constantly and fret over every little scratch because it’s all so visible. I don’t think dark shiny hardwood is practical for kids, large dogs, or high traffic. I think you will be happy with one of the richer, warmer colors you’re considering. Also, because I do see all the dust and dirt that collects so quickly, I don’t think I could ever go back to carpet. I never knew all that was embedded in my floors before! If you’re worried about the floors being cold or not very homey, just add rugs. It’s a fun way to make things cozier and add texture and color. Good luck with your decision!!

  37. Merri says

    I never comment on blogs, but I just have to on this post! About a year ago we replaced the flooring in our kitchen and dining room with Saratoga Hickory from Home Depot. It’s laminate and has held up wonderful! It looks very much like some of the ones you like. Best thing about it? It’s only $.99 a square foot! Read the reviews and look at the customer pics. They are more like what it actually looks like in real life as opposed to the stock pics.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Handscraped-Saratoga-Hickory-7-mm-Thick-x-7-2-3-in-Wide-x-50-5-8-in-Length-Laminate-Flooring-24-17-sq-ft-case-34089/204135461

    • Tiffany says

      Merri,

      We are thinking about putting the Saratoga Hickory in our house as well. However, we have a 60lb dog, two cats, and hope to have kids soon. Also, our house has shifted over time, so the floor is unlevel in a few places. How has your flooring held up so far? I read all of the reviews on Home Depot’s website, but I’m still leary. Have you had any problems?

      Thanks!

  38. mary says

    Our house is 13 years old (2001) and has dated orangey wood floors. Wood floors in the kitchen look nice but are not practical at all. We have scratches and worn in dirt that I think can only be removed by sanding. I am also worried about what kind of damage would happen if the fridge, dishwasher, or sink ever leaked and we got a lot of water on the floors, and the floors are under the cabinets so we could have a real problem.

    I don’t think people did dark wood or distressed floors at all back when our house was built, so I do think in 10-15 years dark wood floors will be dated and the trend will be something else. If you get real wood, pick a dark color, and are still in the house in 10 years and don’t like them anymore, you can have them refinished (or do it yourself). If you go with laminate you’re stuck with the color until you have them replaced. Also, I don’t think laminate increases the value of the house as much as hardwood does. Even having hardwood in a color that may not be on trend is a selling feature (like our dated wood floors).

    Also wood on the stairs is dangerous. We don’t have kids and have fell up and down the stairs numerous times. We’re usually wearing socks which doesn’t help.

    I lived in a house with wood floors in the bedrooms and it was fine. We did have area rugs under the beds. Some people might think the rugs defeat the purpose of the wood floors, but I thought the rugs were fun to pick out and use in the design. If your feet are cold you can get in the habit of wearing slippers. Also it’s very easy to dry Swiffer the floors.

  39. says

    I have birch floors, I didn’t think I could ever ‘hate’ wood flooring, but the birch is awful!!! If the dog or the kids even look at it, scratches appear. Chair legs cause dents in it, even with felt pads. Birch is too soft for flooring.

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