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The Best (and Worst) Rooms for Hardwood Flooring

What are the best rooms for hardwood? Is there anywhere it shouldn’t be installed?


Hardwood flooring is beautiful, but it should not be ubiquitous! As you plan to upgrade your floors, here’s where hardwood flooring belongs, where it should be banned and why each is true.


Best Rooms for Hardwood Flooring


You’ll love the rich beauty of wood floors in these rooms, and you can install them without performance worries if you take a few precautions.


Living room: Hardwood communicates the lifestyle homeowners enjoy sharing when hosting gatherings of family and friends. It stands up well to traffic, even if you forego a no-shoes policy when entertaining. The occasional oopsie spill won’t pose a threat when cleaned up promptly. To keep hardwood looking its best, place a doormat outside for guests to wipe moisture and dirt from their shoes.


Dining room: Whether your dining room is quite formal or has a casual vibe, there’s a hardwood flooring style that will enhance the design while performing durably. Adding soft pads to chair and table feet reduces noise while protecting the hardwood finish.


Den: Hardwood floors accented with a large, comfy rug create a calm and cozy setting for unwinding with a book, casual conversation or a favorite show.


Home office: New Yorker Magazine recently discussed the “increase in productivity attributed to hardwood floors,” and quoted TV producer Paula Rizzo saying, “Hardwood flooring generates positive emotions that help boost productivity.” Hardwood floors will inspire your very best performance in a way most materials cannot.


Master suite: Resisting the temptation to refer to our comments on the home office, we’ll say the obvious, that hardwood is rich, appealing and romantic. Throw in a toe-snuggling rug, love seat and Barry White music, and a bodacious boudoir takes shape.


Worst Rooms for Hardwood Flooring


Because of hardwood’s superior qualities, some have been enticed to install it everywhere…and have sorely regretted their incautious choice! That is to say that can in these rooms, but it may not be for everyone.


Bathroom: Water is the chief nemesis of hardwood floors. Children rank a smidgen behind. Nemeses 1 and 1A. That’s a combination no hardwood floor should endure! The results will not be pretty; neither will the bill to repair or replace. If you throw caution to the wind and choose hardwood for the bathroom, plan to potty-train Reginald outside. Or at the neighbors. Knock, knock. “Hello, Irene. Reginald’s had too much juice. May we come in?”


Laundry room: If you never throw wet towels on the floor, never hang clothes to dry there, never spill liquid detergent or cleaning fluids, can promise your clothes washer will never leak, oh, and the important one, you love to entertain in the laundry room, then incurring the risk and paying the substantial cost of hardwood for the laundry room are worth it.


Foyer: Memories are made in the foyer. “Mom and Dad, I want you to meet Tyler. He’s a cook at Taco Clown” happens there. Hello hugs and goodbye kisses are exchanged, and for these reasons, the foyer or entryway is highly regarded space. However, from the perspective of the flooring, NOTHING good happens in the foyer. Not a single thing. Instead, gritty sand is tracked in where, under foot or under the doormat, it will grind away at the floor’s finish. Moisture from wet shoes will seep into cracks between planks to swell and split the wood. This is starting to sound like a bad movie – “Hardwood Horror on Higginson Street.”


What About the Hardwood Flooring in the Kitchen?


Homeowners who love hardwood flooring, especially those with open floorplans, want to know if hardwood is OK for the kitchen.


Go for it, with a couple of caveats –


Consider engineered hardwood because its plywood base layers handle moisture better than solid hardwood


Clean up spills promptly, like an NFL lineman diving on a fumble


Seal your floors with the regularity recommended by the manufacturer or installer


Never use a steam mop on hardwood (wherever it is installed)


Hardwood has a place in every fine home, but just not everywhere for everyone. Practicing these tips for the best and worst rooms for hardwood flooring should produce a fulfilling long-term relationship with nature’s most beautiful floors.