Flooring was a hard decision to make because we are using it throughout the entire first floor. Which includes the great room, the den area and on the run of the stairs. So we better like the floor because we will be seeing a lot of it every day!
In the beginning we were leaning towards a light maple from the flooring samples that Home Depot and Lowe’s carried. I really liked the warm tones of the maple and thought it would make the room look more inviting. Considering everything else seemed quite sterile (whites and brushed nickel). The only problem was, the maple flooring was actually a more traditional look than what we were going for.
We wanted to keep the contemporary theme going and decided to go for a more non-traditional look. Something bold and contemporary in terms of style. The flooring style that we were thinking of, was a distressed, light ash or grey European Oak with warm tones based on some of these designs we liked:
This was quite different from the traditional walnut and maple flooring, which has more of a reddish and yellow tone, pictured below:
Hardwood Flooring vs. Laminate Flooring
Now, we know there are many different kinds of flooring out there today besides hardwood and laminate. You can find a comprehensive list with their pros and cons on [lifehacker]. But in our case, we were mainly interested in looking at laminate and hardwood flooring for the house.
We originally planned on using laminate flooring because we have a cat and a dog. It seemed like laminate would be the best solution since it is scratch resistant and seemed somewhat easy to maintain. But we decided to take a look at the pros and cons between hardwood and laminate flooring in detail before making the decision.
Hardwood: longer lasting, easier to buff out scratches and re-stain the hardwood. More color and material choices, better resell value.
Laminate: cheaper than hardwood, looks great – recently manufactured laminate flooring are made to look just like hardwood, easy to install, scratch resistant (good for pets).
Hardwood: generally more expensive, more difficult to install. Not as scratch resistant compared to laminate.
Laminate: 10 years of use, cannot be refinished or sanded (if the surface gets damaged – must be replaced). Limited styles and colors.
In the end, we decided to go with hardwood over laminate flooring. We were worried about the floors getting scratched. Both laminate and hardwood will eventually get scratched, but it is easier to buff out scratches and re-finish hardwood than laminate flooring. And the look we were going for was really hard to find in laminate flooring. We think of hardwood as an investment, since it does have a better resell value.
In the end, we decided on this European Oak with oil finish, which had everything we were looking for. Distressed style, light ash/grey color, with warm tones. Just like the flooring in the designs above. We loved how the distressed texture gave it some character and how the unique ash tone gave it a contemporary and unique look.
If you do like this kind of style, another hardwood flooring I would recommend is this one (pictured on the right):
This has a slightly warmer tone than the one we picked (in person – not sure if you can tell from the picture). But it still has that very contemporary style without looking too sterile. This was definitely one of my top picks! I would have been equally as happy to go with this flooring as well!
If you have any question regarding the flooring we picked, please don’t hesitate to contact us.