Living Smart: 5 design trends for wood floors

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Wood flooring is a classic look for any home, but there are trends to consider when installing a new floor or refinishing an existing one:

1. Wide floor boards

If you have smaller rooms, consider the trend toward wider planks, which create the illusion of more space. While wide boards can work in any room, the look is especially nice for cozier rooms.

2. Earth-friendly wood

Sustainable products continue to be popular, including bamboo and cork. Bear in mind that these flooring materials aren’t as tough as hardwood, and will need different maintenance and care. They may however, give your rooms a fresh, natural appeal.

For more information about bamboo and other flooring options, see the Angie’s List Guide to Wood Floor Alternatives.

The popularity of exotic woods has contributed to global deforestation. An alternative is to have floors made of wood reclaimed from old buildings or other sources. In the case of oak and some other hardwoods, reclaimed wood may make a better floor, since wood in older buildings often came from heartwood.

3. Color choice

Darker tones, such as deep cherry and mahogany, remain popular, and help create a sense of opulence and grandeur associated with classic comfort. Lighter colors contribute to a more casual, natural look. Ask your flooring professional to show you the latest options in wood floor color.

4. Handscraped hardwood

At one time, wood floorboards routinely bore the marks of having been scraped by tools to create as smooth a finish as possible. Today, handscraped and distressed floors are becoming popular, and there are a variety of ways to achieve the look, which can add cost.

5. Prefinished flooring

Some wood flooring now comes precoated with a clear finish of tiny metal crystals that create a solid, protective layer. Such prefinishing allows floors to be quickly ready for foot traffic after installation.

For more information about wood floors, see the Angie’s List Guide to Hardwood Flooring. And when considering a new floor or having an existing one refinished, check Angie’s List for local consumer reviews on wood flooring professionals, who are among more than 550 service providers on the List.