Your floor is one of the single most impactful presences in your home; it takes up a lot of real estate, after all! It directly influences not only the functionality of your space, but your choice can also make a room feel larger and more intimate, smaller and cozier, cooler, warmer, more comfortable, and, of course, ultra-luxurious.
Two of the top contenders for our favorite flooring are undoubtedly hardwood and LVP, or luxury vinyl plank. If you are looking for the look – the one that endures, that delivers exceptional beauty, that lends versatility to your home – start here.
What’s on-trend when it comes to upscale flooring that flawlessly blends form and function?
We’ll start right at the beginning: with the materials homeowners want. It can be a tough choice! Susan Medina, Territory Manager for Shaw Flooring, says there is great demand for waterproof LVP… But… “People love the story of a waterproof floor but they also love the timeless tradition of a real hardwood floor.”
Let’s back up: What is a real hardwood floor? A question Susan fields regularly is whether or not engineered wood is real hardwood. “Absolutely,110%! I cannot stress it enough. It is real hardwood from top to bottom; it’s just constructed differently. At the end of the day, though, engineered is going to perform better, especially in the Indiana climate. It’s more stable, and you’re going to get less seasonal gapping and contracting.”
Most of the hardwood sold for flooring now is engineered, which is also more suitable if you want wider, longer, planks. Solid hardwood is not as common today. Yes, we can install it. Yes, it’s beautiful. But there are other options that can address issues to which solid hardwood is vulnerable (gapping, warping, cracking, contracting, weather damage, etc.). Engineered is one of them.
Luxury Vinyl Plank
LVP is another. As ACo Design & Sales team member Todd Moretto notes the humid summers and dry winters – not to mention kids and pets – can be rough on hardwood. Waterproof vinyl plank can stand up to the seasons. And he adds, “It looks so realistic, it’s hard to tell the difference.”
With high definition printing techniques employed by top manufacturers like Shaw, it can be difficult to tell if a floor is hardwood or LVP, even for the pros. ACo’s Travis Stewart says, “Even I have a hard time sometimes! In multimillion dollar homes, I walk in and have to ascertain whether it’s real wood or luxury vinyl plank.”
Susan says, “Years ago, everything was gray. The paint was gray. The floor was gray. The furniture was gray. We are seeing brown make a comeback.”
A true brown (that is, one that does not feature red, orange, or yellow undertones) is universal and timeless. It provides a nice, neutral base for your design. As David Robertson of ACo Design & Sales says, homeowners are “thinking about when [if] they sell. They want something that’s not only going to be good for them but also for future buyers.”
Versatile flooring is a key consideration when selling – or when creating a space that grows with you. Susan adds, “If you want to change your decor in a few years, you don’t have to pull up the floor. You can just change the curtains or the paint or the pictures on the wall.”
3. Plank Length and Width
Wide plank is a hot trend that is showing no signs of cooling. Wider hardwood or LVP planks complement open floor plans, making them feel airy and light. On the flip side, though, they can also make a small room appear larger. Thanks to fewer seams, there are not as many visual breaks or interruptions to stop the eye. Longer planks are also popular for many of the same reasons.
There is also some mixing and matching going on. Susan says, “We’re seeing a little bit of random width and a little bit of random length to add some jazz to the floor.”
Want to picture the pizzaz the right flooring can bring to your home? Try ACo’s Flooring Visualizer.
A bevel is simply an angled cut to the surface of a material. When it comes to LVP, there are a few different options to consider. Shaw Floors, for example, offers:
What about hardwood? Todd explains that beveling techniques were developed “to make the vinyl plank look more like hardwood. But we’re getting a lot of hardwood now with a very tight, kissed edge.” It can be a little less busy looking, and some people simply don’t like the groove. Fortunately today, you have a variety of possibilities to explore.
All those choices. All. Those. Choices. It can be intimidating but remember: it’s up to you. ACo Design & Sales’s Mia Farrell puts it best: “With bevels, with materials, with colors… It’s all personal preference. It’s all lifestyle and what’s going to make the most sense for you in your home. That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.” And we’ll help you love where you live.