by Rachel Lyon, The House Designers' Assistant Editorial Director
The type of flooring you choose will be visually central in your home for many years. Darker hardwoods have been very popular for a while, but that’s no reason to ignore the lighter natural options as you search for your perfect floor. Check out some of the beautiful bonuses that natural flooring has to offer.
All About the Grain
A hardwood floor gives you the chance to decide what kind of natural grain you want to see. The wide selection of species available from Lumber Liquidators gives you plenty of options. Whether you like the even, subtle grain of a wood like Natural Red Oak or the dramatic highs and lows of something like Brazilian Pecan, there is something out there that will inspire you.
As you shop, keep the different grades of wood in mind. Something marked as “Select Grade” will have some color variations, while “Natural Grade” will have more natural variations that bring character to the space. Beyond that is “Rustic Grade,” with knots and wormholes and plenty of personality. Which you prefer is a personal choice. And consider a wider plank of wood, which will really show off the grain that you choose and create a roomier look where it is installed. You can definitely tell the difference a 5” plank makes to your space compared to a 2-¼” one.
Uniformity has its place, but it would make for a very unnatural-looking floor. That’s why you should accept and appreciate all the marks and tones that nature instills in wood. Grains are one thing, but consider particularly knotty species of wood to create a rustic and interesting look in your home. Knots provide remarkable contrast for your floor and give you a totally unique product in the end. Look at Natural Australian Cypress for an exceptionally knotty floor. If you prefer just a few knots, “Natural Grade” woods such as Natural Ash and Natural White Oak have the added visual interest of swirls and burls and will provide you with some unique variations without overpowering the rest of your floor.
Simulated Wear and Tear
A pristine hardwood floor appeals to some, but one that already looks aged is a great way to add charm and rustic style to your home. By selecting a handscraped wood, you not only get the look of old-time workmanship, but you also reveal more of the wood’s natural texture and really show off its grain. Lighter colored woods that undergo this process are perfect for beach houses and laid-back bungalows, while darker ones look great in just about every setting. For a visually interesting floor with good grain and color variance, take a look at the Virginia Mill Works Tobacco Road Acacia Handscraped.
Love Low Luster
A shiny, waxed floor is something to be proud of, but it’s impractical for most of us. Choosing a matte floor instead will reduce the appearance of small scratches and other damage while also allowing the wood to feature prominently on its own. The authentic look of the wood is preserved best with a matte finish. Lumber Liquidators has some fantastic matte floors with oil finishes that won’t need to be constantly re-oiled.
Each of the many prefinished woods available in the Bellawood Matte Hardwood Flooring line is scratch resistant and requires minimal maintenance. And with a wide range of woods from Carriage House White Ash to American Walnut, there is something that will suit you and your house perfectly.
Lighter, clearer finishes are a great way to show off the wood’s natural beauty. Whether you choose a prefinished flooring like any of the selections available from Bellawood or one of the many unfinished ones that Lumber Liquidators also offers, try to keep grain and character in mind. Use a light stain if you want to stain at all, and make sure to choose a finish that shows off why you chose that wood in the first place.
Choosing your flooring is one of the first and biggest decisions that you’ll make during your interior design process. Decide on a wood with an attractive grain and the sort of look you want—rustic, worn, matte, etc.—and it will surely reward you for many years. After all, natural will never go out of style. To see a wide array of natural flooring, check out Lumber Liquidators' Store Locator to find the closest showroom to you.