2015 Hardwood flooring and Stain Trends – Westchester New York

Hardwood flooring trends for 2015This article summarizes the 10 major hardwood flooring trends for 2015. Hardwood floors are the preferred flooring surface for Westchester County NY as well as Northeast and Mid Atlantic states. Hardwood will never go out of style as it’s authentic, renewable, stylish and hard wearing. Since it’s the aspirational choice by more home buyers, I thought it would be helpful to look at the long-term and emerging trends for this popular flooring surface.


Please note that different customers have different tastes when it comes to style and color choices, and different woods work in different styles of homes. I generally advise my customers to do what they prefer and works for their home (and budget) unless they are selling their house, in which case it makes sense to go with what the majority of buyers in a neighborhood prefer. But, assuming you are planning to stay and live in your home, choose what works best for you.

This hardwood trend report is divided into 3 sections: 1) Hardwood Color preferences, 2) Hardwood style trends, 3) Where hardwood is emerging as a preferred flooring surface and surpassing tile.


Update: Hot off the presses…Check out the 2017 Hardwood flooring trend report.

Hardwood Color and Sheen trends for 2015:


1. Dark hardwood floors

ebony hardwood floors darkYes, dark is in! It’s all about da bass brown. Dark floors continue to grow in popularity, especially among higher end homes. They give a contemporary and classic look. The 2 most popular stains are ebony (darkest and coolest) and jacobean (a very dark brown, but a tad warmer than ebony). I have many customer who opt for a 50/50 blend of jacobean and ebony for a deep and rich tone. This color is often called espresso.



Dark floors make a statement, and they are perfect for highlighting white kitchen cabinets (which are currently the most popular selection).



dark hardwood for bedroomDark floors can be a bit more challenging to clean and maintain as they tend to show dirt and scratches a bit more. On the other hand, dark can camouflage older floors’ imperfections (e.g. wood with pet or water stain, gaps in floors, etc.
You can read more about dark hardwoods here:




2. Gray Hardwood floors

gray hardwood floor refinishing westchester countyYes, gray is hot…after all, it’s the “new neutral.” Gray has been hip and trending other areas for a while – paint, tile, appliances, carpet, etc, so it was only a matter of time before it hit hardwood. For hardwood, it started with pre-finished hardwood, but now I have many higher end customers asking me to sand & refinish their floors gray.


It’s a sleek and stylish look and creates drama as it’s a little bit different and unexpected. Gray is a great base as it’s not overpowering, so it doesn’t fight with the other colors in your home and allows you accent key elements. Some prefer lighter gray, some darker gray, and if it’s refinished on site, you can test and experiment with the colors by altering the mixture of white and ebony.


Shaw castlewood oak - grayGray hardwood flooring is more expensive to achieve as getting the color balance right is a bit tricky (make sure you select someone experienced in this area), and you need to use a water based poly so that that floors don’t yellow. It’s also better to use a higher grade of polyurethane such as Bona Traffic for the optimal look, highest durability and least yellowing. You can read more about gray hardwood flooring in this article. Gray floors are especially popular among couples moving from NYC.



3. White Wash

white washed hardwood - mapleYes, I know this will be hard for some of you to believe, but white washed floors are making a comeback. I know what you’re thinking…7 or 8 years ago, this was so 80’s. But, now it’s hot again. The trend seems to be driven in part by the gray trend and in part by high end beach resorts in the Hamptons and now the Jersey Shore. NYC often starts the trends and this is becoming bigger there, so it’s naturally migrating to Westchester County NY as we have so many who move here from the City and work in the City. It’s especially popular with wider plank flooring and when home owners are trying to add light as well as well as modernity to the home.


White washed floors are more expensive. Similar to gray floors, you need to use a water based poly, and this costs a bit more. It’s better to add an extra coat for more durability. In addition, using a higher grade water based poly such as Bona Traffic HD will help make your floors last longer (and they will be less susceptible to yellowing).


4. Satin finishes

What sheen is most popular for hardwood floorsSatin finishes are by far the most popular, especially among home owners in Westchester County and the New York area. Satin finishes are more stylish and they are very practical as they tend to look better longer, and they show dents, scratches and dirt less than semi-gloss finishes. The lower luster also shows footprints less. You can read more about finishes in this article and video clip. What type of sheen level is most popular – satin or shiny?


So those are the most popular color and sheen levels for hardwood. To read more on stain trends check out this article – Hardwood stain color trends

For more info, check out my Ebook – Top 6 Hardwood Refinishing FAQ’s.

ebook - Top 6 Hardwood flooring FAQ's blue

Hardwood styles and types of wood for 2015 – styles and species

5. Wider planks

Hardwood flooring move furnitureWider planks make your space look larger. They also look more contemporary (and very wide planks can look authentic and rustic). Most customers who are installing new hardwood prefer to go wider in the planks, even if it’s just a bit wider then standard (or basic) 2 1/4″ strip. It is amazing how big an impact just switching from a 2 1/4″ to 3 1/4″ or 5″ plank can make. In some settings wider planks such as 5″, 6″ or 7″ can really make a big statement. The trend is clear – wider and wider and wider.


6. Site finished hardwood rather than pre-finished hardwood

2015 hardwood flooring trends - site finished woodIn the Westchester and New York area, site finished wood is strongly preferred over prefinished hardwood in terms of style and maintenance. Most prefer the cleaner, smoother edges and more contemporary look. It also gives your home a more authentic look (vs. pre-finished hardwood will often show the edges of the base wood color underneath.


Site finished wood is easier to clean (dirt tends to get stuck in micro-bevel edges) and is more resilient to water (often the edges of pre-finished wood are not fully covered with polyurethane while site finished floors are sanded smooth and flat and then coated evenly with the poly). This is especially important in heavier traffic areas and areas with more water/moisture such as kitchens and entryways.


prefinished hardwood brushed suedeAnother benefit of site finished wood is the ability to customize the color to one’s taste. Stains can be tested (and even mixed) on-site before finalizing color decisions. In addition, it’s much easier to match colors from room to room, if you have hardwood in some areas already and are now adding to a new area.


In the picture on the right, you can see the micro-beveled edges a bit (it is much more apparent in person vs the photo) vs. the photo above which is smooth as it is site finished.. In many pre-finished woods, you can see the lighter color oak in the grooves (but of course you won’t see that in the professional photos that have been touched up).


You can read more about this here – Pre-finished vs Unfinished hardwood.


7. Vintage hardwood and distressed hardwood (reclaimed look)

distressed cherry bronzeThere’s been a clear trend towards authenticity and an “old world” look. These woods celebrate the natural character of hardwood and its imperfections. One way to achieve this antique look is through reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is very in vogue now and it’s eco-friendly. Some is salvaged from old beams and antique flooring, or logs salvaged from rivers and lakes.


Reclaimed wood is in high demand and very short supply, and hence it is very expensive. To achieve a similar effect but lower price, hand-scraped woods and machined distressed provide other options. These floors look old and worn but for a fraction of the price. The trend tends to be towards a “less stressed” look. You can get some great authentic handscraped hardwoods from FastFloors here in the Anderson Virginia Vintage Line. They have both solid and engineered woods.


Distressed woods tends to be more popular in the south and west. Here, in the New York area, where we have some homes with authentic old world wood (as we have many houses from the 1700’s and 1800’s), most go for the real thing or opt for the newer Modern Vintage Hardwood (see below).


8. Modern Vintage Hardwood – Old world meets new

castlewood - drawbridge Castlewood - Hearth Castlewood oak - tapestry Castlewood oak - tower


















The newest twist on vintage is what I’m terming “modern vintage hardwood.” It’s a blend of old and new. The planks are very wide (typically 7″ or wider). The colors are muted and often highlight the mineral streaks and natural character and flaws of the wood. Often, the finishes are oil rubbed or wire-brushed. The low gloss finish gives these planks a unique and weathered look.
The pictures above are from Shaw’s Castlerock line and leverage the hot gray and white washed colors. As they say, “What’s old is new again.”

The pictures below are from US Floors Navarre Line: and feature more traditional colors. Both lines have planks that are at least 7″ wide. You can buy these online via FastFloors.com here, if you are outside NY/CT area. (If you’re here, call us).


Bergerac navarre rustic hardwood engineered hardwood flooring westchester nice navarre engineered wood













I have also been seeing this style in furniture as well – dining room tables and coffee tables. West Elm has a nice selection of these types of woods.


9. American hardwoods – Domestic grown and made in the US are the clear preference

Hickory - Shaw Jubilee good for pets and dogsHardwoods that are grown and made in America seem to be most popular. Part of this may be a preference for supporting local companies to help support our economy and a reaction to some of the lower quality imported materials.

But, I think a larger part of it is goes back to the desire for authentic styles and colors as well as a desire for uniformity within the house. These woods (oak, hickory, maple) tend to hold up well to foot traffic as they hide the scratches better. This may also be partially driven by more affordable costs as well as a desire to be more eco-friendly by being responsible to the environment and preferring lower shipping cost. This article on domestic american grown hardwoods goes into the species with a bit more detail.




10. Strong preference for solid hardwood over engineered wood

white oak flooring 2015 hardwood flooring trendsHere in the New York area, there is a strong preference for solid hardwood. Solid hardwood ultimately lasts longer as it can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Often, solid hardwood will last for well over 100+ years. For a period, engineered hardwood was starting to make strong in roads, especially when the economy was worse (as there are some less expensive engineered hardwood floors).


While engineered flooring may provide a practical option in areas with concrete sub-floors (e.g. some apartments, basements), many have realized that if they have a plywood sub-floor, solid hardwood flooring is much better long term solution. Solid hardwood generally looks better and will last much longer (vs. engineered hardwood floors that often need to be fully replaced after it gets worn down.) Since solid hardwood can be refinished (and you can change the color), it gives home owners more flexibility, especially if they have kids or pets. You can refinish when the floors get worn down or if you want to change the color. This is even more important for heavy traffic areas such as the 1st floor, kitchens, hallways and entry areas.


You can read more about solid vs engineered hardwood flooring here.


Where hardwood is surpassing tile for rooms in the house in 2015 and beyond

a. Hardwood flooring for kitchens

should you install cabinets for floors firstI would be remiss in not mentioning that hardwood is now the most popular type of flooring for kitchens, especially here on the East Coast. Evidence of this can be found in all the home decor magazines as popular sites such as houzz.com and Pinterest. Solid hardwood floors have a lot of benefits over tile.
First, they are easier on your feet, as well as warmer.

Secondly, they make your space look larger (assuming you have hardwood in adjoining rooms).

Third, they last longer (often 100+ years) and improve the value of your home (as they are more universally liked vs tile which is very taste specific…hardwood can always be refinished to change the color vs. tile needs to be replaced). Fourth, hardwood generally costs less than tile (while improving your home’s value more). Fifth, they are easier to clean and maintain.
You can read more about both the pros and cons with hardwood and tile in kitchens.


what to expect when you are refinishing hardwood floorsb. Hardwood flooring for entryways

For entryways, more and more people prefer hardwood flooring. By converting tile (or even vinyl) in entryways to hardwood, it helps make the space look larger, provided that it is the same color as the rest of the hardwood flooring. It can also be cost effective to do this work if you are refinishing the floors in other areas.


c. Hardwood flooring for powder rooms

As many are converting kitchens and entryways to hardwood, they are also converting powder rooms on the first floor to be hardwood so that they are consistent with the rest of the hardwood. This also helps make the space look larger, and it becomes more practical to combine as one project. While I would never recommend hardwood flooring for a regular bathroom (i.e one that has a shower or bathtub or both), hardwood can be a very practical and stylish option for powder rooms. (Stylish tile can also look nice here, too…it’s just nice to know that both option options can work, pending on your preference).

Hardwood flooring polls:

Hardwood flooring trends for 2015Let us know what you think. Take a minute and vote in the below polls. You can also view the results of the collective audience.
1. What types of stain colors do you prefer for hardwood?

For hardwood floors, do you prefer dark, light or mid-toned?

2. What type of flooring do you prefer for the kitchen?

For Kitchen Floors, which type of flooring do you prefer?


For more info, check out my Ebook – Top 6 Hardwood Refinishing FAQ’s.

ebook - Top 6 Hardwood flooring FAQ's blue







Buy me a coffeeDid you find my tips helpful? If so, feel free to buy me a coffee and support my blog


Complementary products that will prolong the life of your hardwood floors


More Reading:


Hardwood flooring and Stain Trends for 2015 – Westchester New York







47 Response Comments

  • Jennifer Fivelsdal  December 30, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Debbie your expertise in flooring is so appreciated. I will share this link in my newsletter, since this is information many might be considering in the new year.
    Thank you.

    • TheFlooringGirl  January 2, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Thx so much, Jennifer. Yes, definitely feel free to share in your newsletter. Happy New Year, too and hopefully I will see you soon.

  • Ben  February 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Debbie, great article, all very true, i have been doing a lot of gray finishes lately. The toughest thing about these gray finishes is actually finding a product that works well and consistently, which I have finally found.

    Everyone is still in love with the matt finish this side of the pond though! At least that’s my experience.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 10, 2015 at 8:01 pm

      Ben – So glad you agree. And, I would agree w/ you about finding quality products. For some odd reason, I keep getting calls from around the country w/ people having challenges w/ this. I think part of the key is getting an installer who is familiar with doing gray stains.
      Oh, and yes, on gray, matte works well.

  • Angela Caronia  February 11, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I am looking for the floor in your article “2015 floor trends” particularly #2 Gray Hardwood.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Angela – the 2nd gray hardwood (in the gray section) is from Shaw. The line is Castlewood. The shade is “hearth” and they have a few other grayish stains.

      • Angela Caronia  February 14, 2015 at 1:26 pm

        Thank you for answering so timely. I should have been more specific. I was interested in the floor in the first picture ( the picture has green walls and a fire place).

        • TheFlooringGirl  February 15, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          Angela – Oh, sorry I misunderstood. That is a job that was sanded and refinished on site with a gray stain. It is a mixture of white and ebony. The floor underneath is oak – I believe it was white oak, but you can get a similar effect on red oak. you need to play around and test the colors. Hope that helps.

  • Ann  February 12, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Hi Debbie, I just want to start by saying I just love you’re website it has such great information. I’m in the process of doing my first remodel it’s the worse and best thing I have ever done. I’m going with classy chic marble counter tops white walls and white cabinets and want a floor that is neutral but that won’t be out of style in a few years. I’m leaning toward porcelain that looks like wood in either expresso or a light color with some darks and a bit of grey’s. I wish you were located in my area. 🙁 Any advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you!!

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 12, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Ann – Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

      If you want a timeless floor, your best bet is hardwood…and choose whichever color you love for now (dark colors could look nice such as jacobean or ebony or even gray for a modern look). If you do hardwood, when the styles change, you can refinish and change the color. Hardwood will never go out of style, but some colors may go more in and out of style, and you have different taste preferences over time. Hardwood gives you a lot of flexibility.

      If you do tile, I think that the tile that looks like wood in a dark color would look nice, and also. most grays will look nice. I think these colors would look nicer vs. a light tile which won’t give you enough contrast vs. cabinets and countertops. But, the styles on tile are more likely to change over time, and replacing tile is much more complicated and expensive vs. refinishing hardwood.

      I hope that helps.

      Oh, and be careful with the maintenance of marble which can be pretty porous. You may need to reseal often so that it doesn’t stain. (Granite olds up better).

  • jamie  February 21, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Could you make a recommendation for hardwood vs engineered for a beach home and what finish? What size plank? Full time home with kids, pets and sand from beach.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      This is a bit tricky Jamie as you have some competing priorities here. On the one hand, engineered is better as there will be less expansion and contraction (as it may get humid and great changes in humidity). On the other hand, solid is better as you can sand & refinish it many times, and you may need to do that more if you are at a beach locale. Thinner planks won’t expand/contract as much. I would recommend that you speak to a hardwood flooring installer locally as they will have more experience with beach homes.

  • dana  May 25, 2015 at 4:46 am

    How close to the beach do you need to be before worrying about humidity and how that will affect wood flooring?

    I know that’s a problem if the home is right on the beach, but my home is more like 2 very long blocks away, ie almost half a mile from the beach.

    • Bert  October 6, 2015 at 7:44 am

      If you consider the house at the beach….you’re at the beach. A block or a mile, you’ll be subject to high humidity. Sun can also have a strong effect on the flooring. When you’re not in the home, if it’s possible to have blinds shade the floor that will help. Some floors will bloom/ mature/ or just flat out change in color (some darken, some lighten). A few engineered floors have square edges- so you don’t see a bevel, and have the appearance of a site-finished floor. Many of them can be refinished. Best of luck.

      • TheFlooringGirl  October 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm

        Great input, Bert. Somehow, I missed this question. Just a build to this, sometimes there are some treatments for windows to reduce the UV rays for less impact on floors (and your home in general).

  • Mary  June 26, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Is the trend in bedrooms to install hardwood or carpeting. Is the answer dependent on whether the room is for an adult or the kids?

    • TheFlooringGirl  June 27, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      Mary – The trend is towards hardwood in the bedrooms, but different people prefer different things. I’d estimate that 60% prefer hardwood and 40% carpet.

  • Brenda  August 28, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Your website has been very helpful as we are having our hardwood floors refinished after a leaky ice maker hose on our refrigerator leaked water on our floors.

    • TheFlooringGirl  August 28, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      Brenda – Sorry about your leaky ice maker. But, I am glad to hear this site has been helpful for you.

  • Chris  September 10, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Hi Debbie, Stumbled upon your article while researching wood floors. We’re outside of Phila & building a new home. Our style is transitional. Love the dark floors as we’ll have off-white cabinets, but looking to future for a timeless, less dated look” and ease of maintenance. Going for wide-plank, satin finish – any suggestions for wood type and color for a transitional look? Thanks

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Chris – I think the darker stains would look nice with that…and I feel they are pretty timeless (or will be in style for a while). I would test jacobean, dark walnut and try special walnut if you want more mid toned.

  • Cheryl  September 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I have had hardwood and engineered wood floors;dark, light, and medium. I’ve found that dark shows dirt, light can yellow, and my honey colored French Canadian Maple (something like that) is the most loved and beautiful of all. However, that is the engineered wood and my dog’s toenails scratch as she plays. Considering laminate next. Are there any that don’t sound plastic?

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 26, 2015 at 7:19 am

      Cheryl – Yes, there are trade-offs on all floors (and colors). The laminate can sound less tinny if 1) you get a thicker one (i.e. 12mm) and more premium one and 2) make sure subfloor is flat/level underneath so less movement. Hope that helps.

  • khyati  September 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Hey!!! We are starting to build our first house. Your article on wood flooring has helped me to pick the wood I want. what do you think is trend: travertine or hardwood in bedroom?
    also can you tell me what is the wood in the second picture in modern vintage hardwood – old meets new, its living room with white sofa?

    • TheFlooringGirl  September 29, 2015 at 6:33 am

      Hi Khyati. So glad this was helpful. Here in Northeast/Mid Atlantic area, hardwood is the trend for most areas. I can’t imagine having tile here in a bedroom. I think I’ve seen it once or twice and it was huge downside to the house’s value. Tile is just too cold here. And, it’s hard on your feet. Hardwood is more comfortable and preferred. That being said, if you live in a warm environment, that preference may be different.

      The wood in that picture is from Shaw. It’s a line called Castle Rock.

  • Maureen  November 16, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Hi Debbie~ Thanks for all the great info! Do you water pop a floor if you are going to be doing a dark stain? I’ve read that it helps the wood absorb the stain.

  • Anne  December 13, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    I prefer wood or vinyl…not too much else…hate tile.
    So easy to maintain and not cold
    Traditional…and warm to the touch and eye

    • TheFlooringGirl  December 15, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Anne – Thanks for sharing. I prefer hardwood over tile for the very same reasons. My feet are much happier on wood.

  • Lori  February 4, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks so much for your help. You were very clear and forthcoming with your free advice. I really appreciate the time you gave me explaining the pros and cons of diff floor finishes.

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 6, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Lori – Oh good. I’m so glad to hear that.

  • Denise  February 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    We are building a new house in Stamford and were considering darker wood floors, but owning a beige dog who sheds has me concerned about the hair showing. Besides ebony and jacobean, is there a “lighter” dark wood color which would work for us? Secondly, we really need to use tile in the kitchen. Any suggestions on how to marry wood and tile?

    • TheFlooringGirl  February 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Hi Denise. Congrats on the new home you’re building. If you mean Stamford CT, you’re right nearby and feel free to give us a call. Some stain colors that are a bit lighter than ebony and jacobean include dark walnut, antique brown, coffee brown and special walnut (from darkest to lightest). For the kitchen I might suggest a gray tile as the cool tones will go well w/ the dark wood. I would try a 12 x 24″ tile. You could try a tile that looks like hardwood but often those are more slippery and often the colors don’t match exactly. Sometimes it just looks better to contrast vs trying to match and miss.

      I hope that helps.


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