2014 Trends for Hardwood floors – Westchester County, NY – What’s hot and stylish in flooring
As we approach 2014, I thought it would be helpful to outline the trends I’m seeing in hardwood floors for Westchester NY. Let me caveat this by saying that different people have different tastes. When choosing a hardwood floor (or color), it’s most important that you choose what you like and what goes with your house/decor. Don’t just choose something because it’s popular – choose what works for you. If, on the other hand, you are about to sell your house, choose what appeals to the majority and works with the style of your home.
For a more current version of hardwood flooring trends see my article 2017 Hardwood flooring trends.
1. Dark hardwood floors
Yes, dark is in baby! The top picks are ebony and jacobean stain colors. These dark colors give a rich and contemporary look. Ebony is a bit darker and cooler; Jacobean is a bit lighter, browner and warmer. Ebony is a tad more modern and jacobean a tad more traditional, but they are both chic, upscale and stylish. Darker floors are definitely a bit more challenging to maintain as they show dirt and scratches a bit more. For site finished floors, I generally recommend oil based poly (as it looks better/lasts longer/gives a darker look) and an extra coat of poly on the 1st/main floors as this area is has higher traffic. Also, it’s ideal to take your shoes off and wear socks (rather than go barefoot). The oils from your feet tend to show up more on dark floors. You can read more about this trend here: dark hardwood flooring.
For those looking to go as dark as possible, if you are adding in new oak floors, choose white oak flooring over red oak as white oak is slightly darker (and browner and less red) and will therefore give you a darker look.
2. Shift towards browns and golds (and away from reds and oranges).
Regardless of whether light floors, dark floors or mid tones are right for you and your home, there definitely is a preference and a shift towards browns/golds and away from reds and oranges. The browns and golds are more neutral and easier to decorate with – easier to match paint colors, area rugs, pillows, other pieces of wood furniture, bedding and window treatments.
Brown colors will give you flexibility both for now, as well as from a few years from now if you want to make some decorating changes. Red tones will often clash with other reds, burgundy’s, magentas, oranges as well as some beiges.
3. Gray hardwood floors/gray stains
As they say, “gray is the new black” and this color has been so hot these last few years – for floors and walls. They’ve been showing it in tile and carpet for years, and then prefinished hardwood – you will often see the grays in maples and birches as these woods absorb the darker brown and ebony stain differently. And, now, over the last year or two, we’ve been getting lots of requests to sand and refinish existing oak floors gray.
Gray stained hardwood floors can be achieved by mixing a combo of white wash and ebony stain (and testing mixtures and ratios) so that you can go from light to dark gray pending your preference and pending your wall colors. This is definitely more expensive than your typical cost of refinishing hardwood floors both due to the process and passes of color, as well as the fact that you need to use a water based polyurethane – otherwise, the floors will start to turn yellow over time as the poly amberizes. And, because water based poly doesn’t last as long as oil based poly, you will usually want to do an extra coat of poly and perhaps upgrade to a higher grade of polyurethane such as Bona Traffic HD. All of these cause the prices to rise, and we typically do gray floors in very upscale homes in Westchester County.
While gray is very stylish now, it probably won’t last forever, and another super stylish look is to do gray walls and ebony floors (as mentioned above) along with gray area rugs/pillows/accents.
4. Site finished floors rather than prefinished floors
The bevel is out! Most homeowners in Westchester County prefer hardwood floors that are sanded and refinished on site for smooth edges and a better flow. These floors just look more “real” vs. pre-finished hardwoods that have microbevel edges. The smoothness looks better and it’s easier to clean (vs. the bevels can collect dirt and crumbs). These floors are better sealed too, and this is even more important for kitchens (vs. on prefinished floors, often the edges have areas where there is no stain or poly so both less protection and you can see the lighter color of the wood underneath. Also, many homes in our area already have some hardwood floors, so if you’re looking to add hardwood to rooms and have a consistent color and look, finishing the wood on site is the way to go. It also gives customers the option to test and customize the stain to their liking before committing to it.
Below are 2 images to show bevel edges. These are much easier to see in person vs. viewing them online. But compare the bevel edges vs. the smooth floors in the above picture.
5. Satin finishes
Glossy and semi gloss are out! Yes, a satin finish is by far the most stylish and popular choice here in Westchester County. I’d say that about 90% of my customers prefer this finish and most do not like a glossy finish which tends to look a bit dated. Also, glossier finishes are less practical as they show the dents and scratches more as more light reflects off of them. Ask any designer…and they will agree, it’s a satin finish all the way, no questions asked.
To the left is a glossy finish (these are a bit more challenging to capture properly on camera, but you can see it’s much more shiny than the above satin finish. Glossy shows every foot print, crumb and scratch. It’s just a lot more maintenance and often these floors need to be sanded and refinished sooner since you notice their imperfections sooner.
6. Hardwood in kitchens
Yes, hardwood now seems to be the most popular type of flooring, even above tile. Check out all the fashionable home and decor magazines, as well as websites. You’ll see they are all featuring hardwood floors. In a nutshell, the preference for hardwood is due to 1) makes your space look larger and more continuous (even more important with the shift towards open floor plans), 2) it’s softer and warmer of your feet vs. tile, 3) it’s easier to clean and 4) it’s usually less expensive. You can read more about it here – Which is better for kitchens – hardwood or tile?.
By the way, we are also seeing more white cabinets in kitchens as they tend to go better with hardwood floors.
Likewise, we are seeing more hardwood in entryways and powder rooms – all one continuous flow of hardwood for a larger and more cohesive space.
7. Wider planks floors for a more contemporary style
Wider planks make the space look larger and they make the space look more contemporary. The traditional 2 1/4″ oak strip is less popular, and most opt for wider planks of 3 1/4″, 4″ and even 5″. Often, when we are adding new wood, customers in Westchester prefer to go wider. If there is existing hardwood, some prefer to match it while many will opt for a wider plank, especially if it will be in the kitchen, the master bedroom, a new floor or a new section of the house. The important thing is to maintain the same color. Sometimes, in the new areas, we will change the direction of the hardwood (e.g. go on a diagonal) for extra impact.
Please note that for solid hardwood that is 5 inch or wider, you should both nail and glue it as these boards tends to expand and contract more.
8. Vintage style hardwood
This trend is very taste specific, and it tends to be preferred by a small niche of the population, often those with more sophisticated tastes and larger budgets. It is not a style for everyone, and it works well in certain types of homes – homes that are older and more rustic or vintage in style (e.g. those built in the 1700’s and 1800’s and even early 1900’s. And, it can also work in some more contemporary homes that mix old and new world styles. It’s vintage hardwood, and there are many facets or nuances for this look.
- Distressed and hand-scraped hardwood – the hand-scraped woods are literally scraped by hand with scraping instruments to give an old world and authentic look. The stain then pools in these areas for a vintage style. Distressed hardwood is often done by machines meant to mimic the handscrape process. Needless to say, no two hand-scraped pieces are the same, and they cost more as they are both more unique and take longer to make.
- Reclaimed wood – often pine, but sometimes oak or maple – as the name implies, these woods are reclaimed and reused. They typically come in wider and longer planks which also makes them more expensive.
- Knotty woods and woods with lots of character (e.g. knotty pine, rustic maple, hickory). These woods just have lots of character – many knots and lots of color variation for an old world look.
- Random or multiple width boards – often 3″/5″/7″ – This is how some of the wood in older homes were made, especially in barns and farmhouses. Some of the woods come presorted in multiple widths; others can be ordered in the right ratios to achieve this look.
- Oiled hardwood floors – this can be achieved via prefinished oiled floors or via refinishing with rubio monocoat. These types of floors are more expensive to achieve and often require more maintenance, but some people love love love them not only for their look but also because they can easily patch small areas that get scratched without having to sand and refinish the whole floor.
As you can see from above pictures, there are many variations on the vintage theme. Most vintage hardwoods are rustic or distressed in some way, and generally come in wider planks, and often more matte or satin finishes. It’s basically an antique look for your floor.
2014 hardwood flooring trend summary
So that’s what I’m seeing for hardwood flooring trends in 2014. Not every style or color works for every taste or home, but hopefully this will provide some great style tips for your hardwood flooring projects.
For a more current version of hardwood flooring trends see my article 2015 Hardwood flooring trends.
I wrote this e-book to help new home buyers make smart decisions when looking for homes with hardwood floors…or looking to buy a home and then add hardwood. I’ve packaged all of my best tips into this book and hope it will help you make smarter choices in your flooring choices and in buying a home that can support high quality floors.
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Hardwood Flooring Trends for 2014 | Westchester County NY