4 Design Tips to Make Your Hardwood Floors Shine

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Like a crisp tailored suit, beautiful hardwood flooring is a symbol of good taste.

It is also the primary backdrop for your entire design and has the potential to last for the life of your home.  So when you have great-quality hardwood floors, you want to do all that you can to showcase them. With a few simple steps and design choices, you can make them the star of your home.

1. Match the Baseboard and Trim

Your wood floors are going to be the backdrop for your home.  One of the most common misconceptions that clients have is that you have to match your trim, baseboard, and other woodwork to the flooring color.  While you could attempt this, you will find that it is a challenging task.  Even if you use the same exact stain on all your woodwork, the wood itself is made from different quality material and has been milled and sanded differently. This affects the way the stain takes to the wood.

To save yourself a lot of aggravation – and create a better look – let the flooring exist as its own beautiful piece of art, and the trim now becomes a frame, in a complementary color. You can stain the wood trim, like this home in Colorado.  Notice how the Wide Plank Hickory hardwood floors have beautiful color variation, and the designer was able to find a complementary color for the beams, baseboard, and interior doors.

Contemporary Entry by Boulder Interior Designers & Decorators Pocci Design Group

But you can also Paint all the trim in a contrasting color to make the hardwood floors pop.  This Virginia home uses two different colors on the trim to blend into the walls. The tones are soft and subtle, they blend in with the Quartersawn Oak flooring perfectly.

2. Keep it Classic for your Furniture

Sectional sofas continue to be popular, but whatever happened to a traditional Knole sofa and midcentury modern armchairs.  Get back to your roots with your home decor, to give your room a classic, timeless look.   This traditional living room uses colors and furniture that have staying power – the Wide Plank Oak floors blend in perfectly with the neutral color palette, creating an almost spa-like decor.

3. Float Furniture on an Accent Rug

Even though we love our wide plank flooring, we know that an occasional area rug is going to pop up in your decor.  It is a nice way to tie together the color palette in a room, add some color to a room, or better protect the wood floor in a high traffic area.

Accent rugs can also create intentional spaces for added comfort, or to give a room a more cozy feel.  If possible, float furniture in the middle of the room. on a large accent, rug to create a more intimate conversation zone. Grouping furniture closer together in the middle of the room will make your room feel more spacious because it allows the foot traffic to flow around the outside of the room.   When you group furniture and leave space around the perimeter, it also makes a small room look a little bigger.  Aim for at least 2 feet of wood floor space between the edge of your area rug and the wall to allow for an ample walkway. Save yourself some time and frustration by following Pottery Barn’s space planning guide to carefully measure and plot out your space before arranging the furniture.

This Minneapolis Home features Hickory Distressed Wood floors but creates an international space around the living room furniture.  This distressed hickory floor works well in the open concept design of the room to make the gathering area a little more intimate.

Traditional Living Room by Burnsville Design-Build Firms Highmark Builders featuring Carlisle Watermill Hickory Flooring

4. Select Your Window Treatments Carefully

The right window treatment will illuminate and enhance a wood floor. They can also offer proper protection to prevent sun damage.

Here are a few options to consider for your home:

  • Classic drapery that hangs from the ceiling to just an inch above the floor will lend the room a tailored look.
  • Allowing the drapes to pool luxuriously on the floor (about 3 to 6 inches extra) will encourage the feeling of comfort and relaxation.
  • White drapes that pool will create an airy, romantic look that contrasts well with a dark wood floor.
  • Wood blinds in the same shade as the floor will create drama and impact (just make sure you get an exact color match!).
  • For a cleaner, more modern look, try simple solar shades that protect your furniture and floor from UV damage without impacting your chic decor.
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