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Integrity

Why Homeowners Love High-Contrast Flooring

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers®

A good flooring choice goes a long way toward a beautiful interior, but what if your tastes aren’t common and you want something that’ll really stand out? Maybe you need an introduction to the highly diverse hardwood species that promise one-of-a-kind looks in every application! High-contrast flooring options offer amazing looks, of course, but they also have practical benefits that make them attractive to homeowners. Here’s why you’ll love to banish banality with hardwood that offers a range of hues between and on each board!

Builder's Pride Engineered Hickory

Builder’s Pride Engineered Hickory has a range of pale and medium tan colors that complement a bright aesthetic with added depth. As an engineered flooring, it also offers great dimensional stability.

The Unique Factor

The first reason homeowners look at high-contrast flooring is simply because it draws their attention. Whether primarily light, dark, or red, stripes and swirls of different colors are appealing to the eye, and the variation is especially striking when compared to monotonous samples. Some people inevitably opt for more solid-hued choices—fearing that high-contrast flooring would be too loud or difficult to match to the rest of their designs—but those intrigued enough to consider going bold do so knowing that their floors will be absolutely unique.

It’s not just the relative rarity of high-contrast floors, but that no two have the same pattern on each plank. Your installer will take special care to ensure that the highs and lows are dispersed around the space for a natural, unplanned look. Or, with just a little bit of planning, you can use the variation to your advantage; by placing some lighter planks against the walls, dark corners can be brightened and balanced. Light interacting differently across the floor is also reminiscent of nature—imagine a sun-dappled forest floor—so high-contrast flooring could give your interior an organic yet elegant effect you can’t produce otherwise.

Bellawood Tribeca Oak

A far cry from standard red oak, this Bellawood Tribeca Oak comes in wide planks with rich hues that suggest a much older floor with plenty of character. It has a 100-year transferable warranty, too!

Easy Maintenance

A floor that looks great after installation is one thing, but one that maintains its beauty over years is another. Polished and highly uniform surfaces highlight any dents, scuffs, and dirt, so they require regular maintenance that many homeowners can’t keep up with. That’s why matte and handscraped floorings are a popular choice for families. Due to their inherent irregularity, high-contrast floors also conceal wear and tear better than most, making them another viable option for those who want upkeep to stay at a minimum.

Don’t forget to consider the characteristics of different high-contrast possibilities. Species like hickory, cypress, pecan, and koa have higher Janka scores than red oak, the most prevalent hardwood flooring, meaning that they are harder and more resistant to damage. Red oak, often treated to mimic any number of looks, tends to be less expensive than exotic hardwoods that naturally flaunt different hues. But you can look beyond wood. Strand bamboo is a particularly hardy choice, and it’s available in all sorts of multi-dimensional styles. If you need a waterproof floor, wood-look tile and laminate have you covered. Match the material to the amount of care you can provide so your investment lasts!

Bellawood Artisan Distressed Governor's Estate Oak

With vastly different wood tones, grain visibility, and plank lengths and widths, Bellawood Artisan Distressed Governor’s Estate Oak has inimitable charm. You won’t find another floor quite like this!

Choosing the Best Look

There are so many different high-contrast choices it might be difficult to choose one for your home, but at the end of the day, the basics boil down to the same for any flooring. Primarily light tones create a bright and spacious feel, while darker ones look rich and elegant. Tans and browns complement almost anything, but reds require careful attention to detail to ensure furnishings don’t clash. A good general rule of thumb is to match paint and furniture to the lighter tones in the floor, because you’d rather have your rooms visually open up from the floor than vice versa. No matter which look is the lucky winner, don’t get hung up trying to match everything perfectly—appreciate its uniqueness and the character it gives the whole interior!

For a large selection of high-contrast hardwood, bamboo, laminate, and tile floorings, take a look at Lumber Liquidators. You’ll find plenty of options with super bold and nuanced variations, and experts to help you pick the perfect one for your home. Find a local store to see the possibilities in person!

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