Wood flooring ideas – 9 ways to create a beautiful foundation for your home

From reclaimed boards and heritage styles to rustic finishes and clever alternatives to timber – how to nail your wood flooring ideas

Wood flooring ideas
(Image credit: Future)

Over the centuries wood flooring ideas have formed a beautiful foundation for homes across the world. Timber's timeless elegance and natural characteristics continue to make it a popular choice for interior designers and home decorators.

Now more than ever, wood flooring has come to the fore, with modern technologies enabling a plethora of patterns and textures that weren't readily available in the interior design world before.

In addition to its beauty, longevity and versatility, wood flooring is loved for its practicality. Muddy paws or footprints are easily dealt with via a quick sweep or mop, and wood kitchen flooring is a popular option for designers looking for a combination of durability and beauty for this hardworking space.

Heritage styles such as herringbone, basketweave and parquet have seen a huge revival in popularity. Not just that, rustic textures and timeworn characteristics once the preserve of solid wood are now possible with engineered boards. The beauty of this is that engineered boards can be used with underfloor heating, so our homes can benefit from the best of the past and present.  

Wood flooring ideas – colors and style for every room in your home

Hand Grade wood flooring

(Image credit: Havwoods)

The colors and tones of wood flooring offer an array of different looks. From the palest pine or Douglas Fir to darker tones of oak or walnut, and honey hues in between, there are plenty of ways to work wood flooring designs into your decorating scheme. 

‘Pale wood finishes are ideal for a pared-back Scandinavian feel, while rich, dark finishes have a more rustic appeal,’ says Colin Roby-Welford, Creative Director, Fired Earth.

Wood flooring is versatile enough for every room and creates a seamless flow when laid throughout a home. Smart enough for a grand entrance yet with the durability to withstand splashes and spills in the kitchen or dining area. It's also a neutral base for layering rugs when you want a cozier feel in the sitting room or bedrooms.

‘Parquet blocks have been in fashion for a while and are a great choice for entryway ideas,’ says Peter Keane, Director, The Natural Wood Floor Company. ‘The combination of color, detailing and pattern make this a statement floor that makes a brilliant first impression, as well as being durable and easy to wipe clean when muddy footprints occur.’

1. Go for a rustic finish

Havwoods Hand Grade flooring

(Image credit: Havwoods)

Designed with prestigious projects in mind, the Hand Grade collection from Havwoods consists of rich tones and beautiful rustic finishes. In addition, the triple layered engineered planks are up to four metres long and almost half a metre wide with top and base layers of European oak and a birch ply core. 

Choose from a smooth sanded surface or textured finish to bring a natural touch to your kitchen. ‘Flooring with character is becoming extremely popular,’ says Yolande Meyer, Havwoods. ‘It allows one to feel more in line with nature by being able to see the knots and the grains of the wood.’

2. Add warmth with honey tones

Woodpecker Cathedral oak flooring

(Image credit: Woodpecker)

The latest engineered flooring to join Woodpecker’s Berkeley collection is Cathedral oak. Meticulously hand-scraped, the timber boards have subtle undulating ridges and grooves that capture a charming aged appearance and come with a 100-year guarantee. 

At the same time the wood’s natural honey, caramel and cocoa hues have been honed to offer a warm foundation to a room scheme ‘This is a rustic board with a subtle oiled finish, allowing the knots and natural features to shine through,’ says Darwyn Ker, Managing Director, Woodpecker Flooring.

If your boards are looking a little tired, you can always refinish hardwood floors to return them to their original beauty.

3. Fake it with a lookalike

Karndean Antique Pine flooring

(Image credit: Karndean)

If a real wood floor is out of your budget or not possible in your home, there are some great alternatives around. One of those is luxury vinyl flooring (LVT), which is designed to replicate timber and can be laid in planks or tiles, with click lock or glue down techniques. 

The Antique heart pine from Karndean comes as a loose lay longboard which has acoustic qualities, so it’s great for upper floors, loft conversions or those who live in flats. It’s also possible to replace individual planks if the need arises.

4. Introduce handsome herringbone

Fired Earth Woodland herringbone

(Image credit: Fired Earth)

Admired in country homes for centuries, herringbone flooring is still a desirable choice thanks to its enduring appeal. ‘A herringbone layout adds a subtle sense of texture and decorative detail to a floor,’ says Colin Roby-Welford, Creative Director, Fired Earth. ’Our Woodland Herringbone engineered tongue and groove planks simply slot together, making installation straightforward. 

Made with FSC oak, the boards are brushed before a protective, low-maintenance matt lacquer is applied. The multi-layered construction gives strength and stability to help prevent warping in damp conditions or when used over underfloor heating.

‘Variation in color and texture is part of the natural appeal of wood. Dry-lay your flooring first to ensure a balanced spread of color and graining before fixing it in place,' advises Colin.

5. Think about size and scale

Northbank reclaimed pine by Woodworks

(Image credit: Woodworks by Ted todd)

Crafted from reclaimed pine planks discovered in a disused warehouse at Garston Dock, in the UK city of Liverpool, these boards are popular due to their size, as much as their character. 

Wider and longer than most salvaged boards, they have been transformed into engineered flooring and finished with a naked skin lacquer to accentuate the natural beauty of the grain, and would work beautifully in large-scale projects such as barn conversions. ‘Reclaimed flooring provides a genuine connection to nature and adds a historical feeling to interiors,’ says Robert Walsh, founder, Ted Todd.

6. Raise the tone

Oak aged parquet

(Image credit: The Natural Wood Floor Co)

This oak aged parquet has tumbled edges and a soft worn look, giving it the appearance and characteristics of an antique floor. In addition, it’s finished with an ebony oil that enhances the timber’s natural features and provides the drama of a dark floor without being overpowering. 

'Extremely forgiving even in high-traffic areas of the home due to its high durability, the real wood parquet floor sets the tone for the whole space, perfectly blending old with new for a timeless finish,' says Peter Keane, Director, The Natural Wood Floor Company

7. Try an alternative

Amtico vinyl flooring living room

(Image credit: Amtico)

Real wood flooring isn’t always a viable option for some, yet the style can still be achieved with good quality luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). Extremely durable and waterproof, LVT can be a good option for either kitchen or bathroom flooring, where splashes and spills are more likely to happen. It's also great for living spaces as it's less prone to scuffing or scratching than timber. 

The same trends in timber flooring are also present and in demand, such as this beautiful basket weave. ‘Flooring patterns can completely change the look of a room,’ says Lorna Williams, head of product design, Amtico. ‘Timeless patterns such as parquet, basket weave and French weave are popular with people wanting to create a classic and sumptuous look in their homes.’

8. Lay extra long boards

Dinesen flooring

(Image credit: Dinesen/Photography: Suiyu Studio)

If contemporary country style is more your thing, consider extra long boards, like these oak planks from Dinesen. Sourced from large European oak trees, the boards are up to five metres long and 50cm wide, so there are less joins than is often seen with traditional sizes. This gives a cleaner, calmer, more modern appearance and a seamless look when connecting living spaces in open concept or broken plan living room schemes.    

9. Mix past and present with reclaimed boards

Manoir oak chevron flooring

(Image credit: The Reclaimed Flooring Company)

There's no need to shy away from wood flooring in the bedroom. This salvaged oak from The Reclaimed Flooring Company has been sourced from historic buildings across France, Central and Eastern Europe. Laying it in this classic chevron style gives subtle movement and a sense of grandeur to the simple room scheme. 

It's also easy to see the beautiful flecks and characterful knots running through this light-colored timber, which is suitable for underfloor heating. 

Oak is a popular choice as it has been used historically in homes and buildings for centuries. It's a durable hardwood that ages well and continues to look beautiful throughout its life. In addition much of it is sourced in FSC-certified forests. 

'Boards with plenty of character are becoming extremely popular,' says Yolande Meyer, Havwoods. 'While prime grading was the favorite for some time, we are seeing more customers opting for planks with character grading, which will have more knots and traditional wooden characteristics such as visual cracks and sapwood, so offer a more "natural" look.' 

What is the most affordable wood floor?

Wood floors are an expensive option and a long term investment. Some manufacturers offer warranties of up to 100 years, so you can expect a good-quality wood floor to last a lifetime.

If you're looking for an affordable alternative consider luxury vinyl flooring (LVT) as this can be less expensive than real wood.

At the budget end you can pick up softwood solid Spruce boards, however, these are unlikely to be compatible with underfloor heating and will need to be sealed. 

What are on-trend wood floors?

'Herringbone has become extremely popular over the last year and will continue, especially in kitchens, bedrooms, and other spaces in the home,' says Yolande Meyer, Havwoods. 'Whether the pattern is used as an accent floor or an entire area, it's a great way to get creative but still maintain a calm and relaxing atmosphere.'