Home Decor

6 Living Room Decor Tips to Inspire You

Looking for some living room decor tips to inspire you? Good news – you don’t have to duplicate a magazine or online image to create a living room befitting of a magazine spread. Throw caution and “can’t” to the wind, and create a living room that is meaningful and personal to your family. Carefully consider the following questions, and you will be ready to decorate your living room:

1) Examine the room, does it have any outstanding characteristics

2) How will your family be using the living room?

3) Is there a natural focal point in the room?

4) What is your decor style?

5) How are you going to frame the room with the walls and the flooring?

6) How can you make use of the natural light in the room?

7) What prints and patterns will you be using?

8) How can you mix color?

9) How should you place furniture to facilitate the traffic flow?

10) How can you do all of this within your budget?

As you answer these questions using the following expanded suggestions, visualize a living room worthy of a magazine spread, but one that is uniquely yours. Then use these living room decor tips to make your vision a reality.

Does the Living Room Have Any Characteristics That Need to be Deemphasized?

Are you lucky enough to have a perfectly sized and proportioned living room, or does it have features that you need to accommodate? Some common issues are small, large, and long and narrow rooms.

You can create the illusion of a larger room by using carefully placed mirrors, lighter colors, furniture that is less massive, lighter-toned wood, and drawing the eye up with items such as floor-to-ceiling drapes. Painting the ceiling a few shades lighter than the walls also adds height. Do not crowd too much furniture, accessories, or visual highlights into a small room.

Larger living rooms can be made to feel less massive by creating multiple furniture groupings and using area rugs. Make sure only one area is dominant while the other areas serve to draw your eye around the room without being stopped by a heavily competing area. High ceilings can seem lower if you paint the lower part of the walls a darker color and the upper part a lighter color. Larger, heavier furniture in darker woods also fills space.

For a long narrow room, start by creating a path, preferably a straight path, to one side of the room, allowing furniture to be arranged on the other side into two groups occupying two-thirds and one-third of the room. Arrange the main conversation setting around a round coffee table or hassock. Create a table and chair area, reading area, or a desk area in the other third of the room. Just as you do for small rooms, draw the eye up with items such as floor-to-ceiling drapes, and use light colors and lightweight furniture. Don’t clutter the room with too many items or accessories.


What Is the Intended Use for Your Living Room?


Will your living room be a place where your family will gather, or will it just be used for entertaining while your family favors another room? If the family is going to use it as a gathering and activity center, then you need to make a list of the items that need to be included in the room, such as a television and a games area, and find room for them. If it is just going to be used for guests, then you can concentrate on aesthetics and not on the utilitarian aspects.


What will the Focal Point be in Your Living Room?

Some rooms have natural focal points. Do you want to emphasize any natural focal points or create your own? If you want to emphasize a natural focal point, carefully build items around it that support it without overpowering it. For a window, create a window treatment that helps draw your eye there.

Fireplaces require adding items on the mantel and on both sides of it that support but don’t overpower it. Built-in bookcases – add displays to the bookcase that create interest without being cluttered. Place furniture so that it faces your focal point or set a larger piece of furniture, such as a sofa, in front of the focal point to help draw your eye to it.

To deemphasize a focal point, use neutral colors and create a monotone area, such as deemphasizing a window using drapes that are the same color as the wall. Monotone doesn’t mean boring. It means that the area blends in and complements the room without drawing attention.

To create your own focal point, use an item such as wall art or a piece of furniture that is special to your family as your center of interest. Support the attention that you are trying to draw to it by doing things such as creating an accent wall behind it, arranging the furniture to face it, or sitting furniture in front of it. This will make your room magazine-layout-ready and yet personalize it.


What is Your Style?


Do you favor traditional, modern, minimalist, or rustic decor? Defining your style helps you set boundaries that create a unified look. However, you can blend in items that are outside the style you are featuring to create interest and personalize your living room, such as a few steampunk items in a traditional room.


Living Room Decor Tip #1: Use Your Walls and Flooring to Frame Your Room

If you think of your room as a piece of artwork, then your walls and flooring are the frames. Frames aren’t always plain. They can have accents without competing with the artwork that they are framing. You can do the same with your walls and flooring.

As already mentioned, you can paint three of your walls one color and use the fourth wall to create a different color accent wall. You can also wallpaper one wall, paint it with a design using multiple colors, or give it any other treatment to make it the focal point of your room.

The same idea can be applied to your flooring. Many flooring companies have designs that range from parquet to medallions and other true focal point designs. If you want the room to look bigger, maybe you want to extend your flooring between rooms to create a more cohesive look. So browse and see what is available and consider these options.


Living Room Decor Tip #2: Make Use of Natural Lighting


Light colors make a room brighter and shades of white help reflect the natural light while giving a warm feel. Use satin paints instead of matte paints to also reflect natural light. Mirrors, glass, metals, and the shiny wood surfaces from furniture and wood floors also help reflect the natural light.

Try to arrange the furniture in the room so that the natural light is located in the areas that need it the most, such as reading areas. In addition, custom window treatments can help you enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of your room while leveraging natural sunlight to brighten your room.


Living Room Decor Tip #3: Mix Wood Tones

Don’t be afraid to use and mix. These days, it’s not uncommon to mix various shades of wood in one room. This more modern approach allows you to blend rustic style wood with various stains and grains, creating a look that is diverse. 

You can achieve this by purchasing wood flooring that compliments your flooring without being exactly the same. One way to still make the look cohesive sit to keep similar undertones of the wood similar.

Living Room Decor Tip #4: Balance Color and Texture 


Gone are the days where you need to match everything to your hardwood floors. Now, it’s easier to see hardwood flooring as a base or neutral, allowing you to build the room from there. Don’t feel like you need to pick wall colors or art that perfectly match your floors. Bring in bright colors and allow yourself to get creative. 

Also consider adding texture in your accent pieces to balance out the hardwood floors. This can be done with plush rugs, airy window treatments and even softer sofas. 


Living Room Decor Tip #5: Place Your Furniture to Create a Smooth Traffic Flow

Now you are ready to decide where to place your furniture. As we have already discussed, furniture placement is affected by the size and shape of the room, your focal point, and the natural lighting. You should also consider the traffic pattern. Consider how people will move between doorways in the room, and don’t block that flow. Then, try to create 3-foot, easy-to-maneuver paths between the furniture. Finally, consider the overall look of the room and make adjustments.


Living Room Decor Tip #6: Learn to Decorate on a Budget


Decorating or redecorating a room can be expensive, but there are ways to cut the cost. First, do a little at a time. Of course, you want to have the new look immediately, but sometimes it is necessary to do the project in small steps. Look for found items or items that you can repurpose and use them. If you see someone throwing out something that you can use, ask them for it. Look for items in other rooms or items that have been stored away in your home and use them.

Shop for items on Craigslist, at second-hand stores, and check out garage sales. Let your family and friends know what is on your wish list so that they might be able to get it for a gift-giving occasion. Finally, see how many of your friends might be interested in participating in a home decor exchange. All of you can bring items or pictures of items that you no longer want and select items that others have contributed that fit your new look.




It might help you to use a spiral notebook to record your ideas and organize your plan as you work through the various aspects of decorating your living room. As you read through your notes, you will probably find additional ideas and inspiration. This will also help you edit ideas and control your budget. In the end, you will have a room that will look as editorial as any living room seen in a magazine, but it will be your own unique and personalized living room.

Hardwood Flooring

Avoiding Common Mistakes When Purchasing Hardwood Floors

The experience of choosing a new type of flooring can be simultaneously exciting and stressful. Here are a few tips that will make your decision process easier:

Type of Flooring

The type of flooring you desire is one of your first considerations. Each type of wood is different. Some of the varieties include solid hardwood or engineered hardwood. The decision isn’t as easy as it may seem. Picking the flooring from style preference alone isn’t always the best way to go. Many other factors should be taken into consideration to avoid future problems with your floor.


Certain wood species are more durable than others. Make sure that the floor you choose fits your lifestyle. Take into consideration the amount of traffic in your home as you wouldn’t want a softer type of wood in a home with heavy traffic. There are a countless number of styles and species to choose from so understanding the quality is vital.


The type of flooring you choose will ultimately determine the preparation you must do prior to installation. Some floors can be easily installed whereas others need extra preparation which adds to your costs. However hardwood flooring offers an array of possibilities. You can install it almost anywhere, on any level of your home. There may be a few extra steps needed in certain circumstances depending on type of material you choose.


When installing hardwood flooring it is essential to avoid rooms that have frequent changes in humidity. Most people would assume that the kitchen should be avoided because of constant exposure to water but actually installing solid hardwood flooring in the kitchen is fine. The reason is because water is not left on the floor, which would damage it. The situations that are problematic are bathrooms with shower or tub because the steam from the shower and the possibility of an overflowing tub could be disastrous. Laundry rooms also generate a lot of moist heat which would be very problematic for hardwood floors.


Although it is possible to install your solid hardwood flooring yourself, you should not attempt it without some guidance. The expert staff at MacDonald Hardwoods is available to come out to your home and measure the room for you. They will inform you of any special circumstances that may cause you problems with a self-install. If you do decide to install your solid hardwood flooring yourself, MacDonald Hardwoods provides training free of charge to its customers. They will explain all of the steps involved and they will be available to answer questions throughout process.

From beginning to end, the knowledge and expertise of the MacDonald Hardwoods staff is at your disposal. They can help you select a color, finish, texture and species of wood that matches your interior décor, your local climate, and your budget. In addition, they provide top-of-the-line cleaning products and supplies to keep your floors looking fabulous. MacDonald Hardwoods is a name you can trust. Come visit their showroom in downtown Denver.

2015 Macwoods Survey headerOur 2015 survey of designers might also help you in your hardwood journey.  Take a look and see what they recommend for new houses, remodels, houses with pets, and more.

Hardwood Flooring Under-Floor Heating

Can You Install Radiant Heat Under Wood Floors?

Imagine walking over heated wood floors on a cold winter night? Radiant heat is becoming more and more popular in residential heating. Most people are not aware of how radiant heat works. In fact, many people do not know that radiant heat can be installed under wood floors. If you would like to consider radiant heat for your home, there are a few issues to consider before making your final decision.

What is Radiant Heat?

Radiant heat is a system using electric coils or tubes of hot water underneath the flooring. Traditionally it has been used for tile floors but now it is also used with wood flooring. Heating floors is becoming increasingly popular due to the ease of warming up your entire home. One of the first objections raised by skeptics is that it will increase your electric bill. In reality, radiant heaters are very cost effective and those that have them installed noticed a slight decrease in their electric bills.

Do Radiant Heaters Really Warm Up A Floor?

Yes! This isn’t a fad or a limited-time promotion. Radiant heaters really do work and can warm your floor up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit! Some manufactures would recommend that you maintain a consistent temperature, ideally between 78 and 80 degrees. The type of wood flooring that you install over the radiant heat mechanism will ultimately determine your temperature guidelines.


There are some limitations on the type of wood flooring that can be used with radiant heat. If you are considering radiant heat in your home, consult with experts to advise you which species are best suited for this application. Be sure to discuss how the thickness of the flooring will affect heating; how the natural shrinkage and swelling will affect your floors, and which types of wood are most stable when heated. This factor varies with wood species as well as the flooring manufacture.

Installing Wood Floors

If you choose to have radiant heat installed beneath your wood floors, the next step is planning the installation. Floating floors work best. It is recommended that you do not glue or nail down your wood floors. This would be affected by the heat in the near future and cause conflict in case of any repairs. Instead, aim for interlocking, floating floors. This will allow you to easily replace any floors in case of a damage.

Remember to always check with the manufacturer to ensure that the wood floor you are considering is compatible with radiant heat. Not all radiant heating systems will work with wood flooring. There are several radiant heating manufacturers so make sure you equip yourself with as much information as possible. While most radiant heating systems can be installed by the homeowner there are various technicalities to consider or you may opt to have it professionally installed.

Hardwood Maintenance

What Types of Hardwood Floors Are Easiest To Keep?

When looking for the perfect hardwood floors, each person has their own priorities set. For some, it’s design. For others, it might be price. Many people do have one common priority: practicality. No one wants to break their back trying to keep their hardwood floors looking new and clean. 

With the range of options out there, it might be hard to know where to begin when looking for hardwood floors that are easy to keep. But there are a few aspects that you can take into consideration when picking the right hardwood floors for your home.


Even if you have a design in mind, the color wood you’ll pick can play a big role when it comes to practicality. Darker colors can scratch more easily, and any stains or dirt will be more visible without the right finish. They would be better picks for rooms where there is not a lot of walking around, or where furniture is not moved around too much.

Lighter colors, on the other hand, can hide dust or dirt very well because of the grains, and the color tone of the wood. They would not be so visible in Ash White hardwood floors, for instance. Another great option would be multi-tone hardwood floors, since it already has a naturally “stained” look to it. 

Humidity resistance

One big issue with anything made of wood is dealing with humidity. It can make wood wear out really quickly by contracting and expanding, losing its shape, form, and/or color. While there are many types out there that are resistant, some of the best options are engineered woods. The interior of these woods are produced to prevent warping. But it is important to pick an option with thicker wear layers, as they are more resistant to scratches.

Janka Hardness scale

This scale was made to identify and classify the density of the wood. The reason why this is important is because, the denser it is, the more durable it can be. This means it won’t dent or scratch so easily, making it perfect for most businesses or social spaces. The softest wood ever measured, Balsa, ranked 22 lbf (pounds-force), while the hardest one registered was Australian Buloke, at 5,060 lbf.


The finish on your hardwood floors can help keep them for longer depending on your choice. Look-wise, there are matte, satin, and gloss finishes. Glossy finishes, while not as popular anymore, are great for maintenance. 

There is another way to classify hardwood floor finishes, which is by its base. Oil-based polyurethane adds a glow to the wood while also being able to withstand the natural movement of the wood. On the other hand, acrylic urethane (also called water-based) makes the resin more resistant to wear such as scratches, but it is not as resistant to heat or solvents. Therefore, an oil-based finish can make keeping the wood easier in the long term.

It is possible to find a common ground between the design and color you have in mind and a hardwood floor option that won’t be too hard to keep! Just try to check as many items off this list, and you’ll be able to pick the option that best suits your priorities.

Hardwood Maintenance

How To Remove Persistent Water Stains From Hardwood Floors

If you’ve ever had hardwood floors or wooden furniture, you know about the dangers of staining. And there is nothing more dreadful to the material than water! Some of them are clear, some of them are dark, and most of them can be permanent. 

Unlike what some may believe, however, it is possible to remove them, even the older ones. Here are some of the best ways to get rid of these stains:

ATTENTION: Before starting, always make sure to clean the floors and wipe away the dust. This will help avoid any scratches or additional wear. 

Dark Stains

If water gets through the finish of the hardwood floors, it will then darken the actual wood. This means you’ll need to get through the finish layer. 

Steel wool. This is only recommended for people that have a good eye and can use their hands well. Slightly rub the stained area in order to remove the stain. Do it very lightly. Also apply pressure to unstained areas close to the stain, blending it in so there’s not a major bump.

Sandpaper. While the steel wool might not work for some, it’s unlikely that filing with sandpaper won’t help. Do it the same way as suggested for steel wool, filing through the stain and blending slightly to the unstained areas.

Vinegar. An ingredient common to every household, vinegar can help remove the layers of the stain. Just soak a damp rag and put it on the stained area, leaving it there for 5-10 minutes. You might need to apply it more than once to remove it completely, or for bigger stains.

Chlorine bleach. A more chemical and effective option would be using chlorine bleach. Since it might be a bit strong, start with a solution that’s four parts water and one part chlorine bleach. Apply it with a white cloth and let it work for around 10 minutes. Let the floor dry and see if the stain was completely removed. If not, do it again until it does, but strengthen the solution slightly every time.

Hydrogen peroxide. Some people might not like to work with chlorine bleach, and might want another chemical option. Hydrogen peroxide might be the way to go, since it is not as strong as bleach. Do the same as you would for chlorine bleach, but instead of starting with a 4:1 ratio, do two parts water to two parts hydrogen peroxide.

Apply finish, and finish! Now, the last step would be to apply finish that matches your floor to make it match again. Should there be any visible bumps, use 0000 steel wool to rub it away until it is evened out.

Light Stains

These are your run of the mill, superficial stains, most often ones left by moist glasses.

Pastes. There are many products you can use to remove it in a few minutes that work as a paste. Baking soda paste (1 part water, 1 part baking soda), salt paste (salt with only a few drops of water), even toothpaste. You can rub them gently and apply nail polish once you are done.

Petroleum jelly. Sometimes, these faster tricks might not work. Another alternative that can be easily bought is petroleum jelly. It can be applied and left to work overnight. You’ll just need to wipe it away the next morning!

With the right trick, the right amount of effort, and patience, you can get that water stain out in no time, and forget about cloths, mats, and rugs to cover them up!


5 Pet-Friendly Flooring Options


When choosing the right floors for your home, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important points to think about is, ‘who will be using your floors?’. For instance, if you’re a pet owner it’s essential to find a flooring option that will withstand the general wear and tear by your furry friend.

 Over time the impact of your dog or cat will begin to show on your floors. As such, you will need to find a flooring option that will not only minimize any damage caused by your pet but offer longevity as well. With your furry friend in mind, these are the major points of consideration when selecting your flooring: protection from scratches and stains, resistance to damage, the comfort of your pet and the traction of your pet. It’s also important to note here that floor durability not only encompasses scratch resistance but should consider impact and moisture. All in all, when selecting flooring material, you want to choose something that is not only friendly to your pet but also appealing to your interior design.

 To ease the selection process, we have compiled a list of 5 pet-friendly flooring options.



 Bamboo is a popular option for pet-friendly homes. This is because bamboo possesses natural durability that makes it both stain and scratch-resistant. Bamboo’s sturdiness is ensured by its high Janka flooring rating; essentially, the higher the rating means the harder the wood. In this case, the high score guarantees that bamboo is not only a sustainable flooring material but will also survive the constant onslaught of your pet’s claws.

 In addition, bamboo is an antimicrobial material which means that your home will be kept free from mold and other allergens. Aside from being incredibly easy to clean, bamboo is also allergen resistant, ensuring that it will not harbor pet fur or other debris.



 If your furry friend is overly active, laminate flooring is a great choice. Since laminate floors are known for their incredibly tough top layer, this option is fairly scratch-resistant against your dog or cat’s claws. Like bamboo, laminate is extremely stain-resistant and easy to keep clean. However, it’s essential to note that laminate is prone to making a louder and more hollow noise under-foot, as opposed to a more solid material. This option may, therefore, amplify the sound of your pet’s footsteps.



 A popular option among pet lovers is vinyl sheet flooring which is considered a resilient flooring material that sustains long-term endurance. If vinyl is installed correctly, this option will wear well allowing for minimal scratches. Also, vinyl has water-resistant qualities so stains and messes from your pet will be easy to clean. An additional benefit of this option is that it is great for softening the sound of your pet’s nails.


 Engineered Hardwood

 Again, when ensuring that your hardwood flooring option is pet-friendly it’s best to go with a material that ranks high on the Janka hardness scale. Specifically, you should choose wood species that have a rating of 1,250 or over. Some great engineered hardwood options include Brazilian cherry or white oak. But, even for the sturdiest wood, it’s still important to protect them in order to prolong their longevity. Getting your floor coated in urethane will help minimize any damage sustained through scratches or stains.


 Solid Hardwood

 Solid hardwood floors are an incredibly durable option. Although some will say that this option is suitable for pets, this is not necessarily true. However, if the correct protective measures are put in place, hardwood floors can withstand your pet’s habits and behaviors. When cared for properly, by applying a protective coating and conducting regular sanding, hardwood floors can last anywhere between 80-100 years.

 Ultimately, when it comes to selecting the flooring option that is not only right for you but also your animal friend, it’s essential to consider longevity. As such, selecting an option that is primarily scratch-resistant and stain-resistant will ensure that the quality of your floors remain in tip-top shape, allowing you to enjoy them for longer.





Hardwood Flooring

Top 6 Hardwood Flooring Trends To Consider For Your Next Renovation 


When it comes to interior design, hardwood flooring will always be a timeless classic. Since this option never goes out of style and is highly versatile, hardwood floors are a great way to add value to your home and completely transform the feeling of any room, while also supporting an environmentally friendly resource.

 So, to help you create the perfect look during your next home makeover, we have compiled a list of 6 of the hottest hardwood flooring trends right now.


1)     Simplicity is Key

In terms of design, there is no doubting that less is more. This sentiment is especially true in the case of hardwood floors. At the moment, many designers are going back to basics, focusing on laying same-size planks in a unified direction, as opposed to multi-sized cuts or patterned lays. While this traditional placement offers a simple aesthetic, it also creates a sleek and clean appearance that will tie any room together. 

Furthermore, simplicity in your flooring allows for versatility when it comes to styling. The cleaner or simpler appearance of the floors, the more creative you can become with your décor. A simple floor pattern also enables you to easily switch up your furniture or other furnishings.

Although fun or unique patterns are intriguing they can also be quite distracting. Intricate floor designs can overwhelm a space and even make a room feel cluttered. Therefore, opting for a simple flooring pattern will actually expand the possibilities of your design.


2)     Darker Toned Woods

Over the past few years, color trends have moved towards darker tones. It’s easy to see why this trend has emerged; darker colors look elegant and luxurious, creating an expensive feel. But that’s not all, dark woods provide a modern feel and are often easier to style than lighter tones, since darker tones will suit anything from dark furnishings to lighter kitchen cabinets. 


3)     Whitewashed Floors

The whitewashed look is reminiscent of a Californian vibe and is now trending throughout the country. Creating a relaxed beachy look, this kind of flooring undergoes a bleaching or blanching process to strip-back the natural tone of the wood. But before you worry that you’ll end up ruining your boards, this process only places stain over the wood’s surface. The wood grain is still visible underneath the whitewash, so this color will not lose the charm of the natural material.

Whitewashed wood works to add brightness and create a feeling of openness, which means this type of wood is perfect for areas in which you want to create a more homely feel such as the kitchen or the living area.  As a more contemporary option, whitewash can help add some interest and personality to your home.


4)     Distressed or Aged Look

The aged flooring style has been around for a while but has recently experienced a surge in popularity. To create the ‘slightly worn’ look this finish undergoes an artificial aging process. This style is perfect if you are wanting to create a rustic aesthetic as this finish accentuates a feeling of homeliness and warmth. 


5)     Greige Wood Floors

A mix between gray and beige, it appears ‘greige’ is a popular flooring trend. This blended color captures the best of both worlds as it combines the minimalist feel of grey with the warmth of beige. It is fairly adaptable, pairing well with different décor styles and easily blending from indoor to outdoor kitchen and entertaining designs. Whether you’re after a more modern look or a rustic country style, greige is a highly complementary choice.

With its unique color, greige flooring can completely change the dynamic of a room. The light neutral tone of this wood can brighten an area and provide a comforting relaxing feeling.


6)     High Variation Hardwood

If you’re looking for something a bit different, then check out high variation floors. With the range of flooring technology available, it’s now easier than ever to make your floor look truest to its original state. Essentially, high variation floors echo the sentiment that in nature, no two pieces of wood are the same. As such, manufacturers are now able to replicate this natural effect in their flooring.  Within your home, this varied look can work to combine aspects of modern and rustic designs.  

Whatever trend you decide to select, remember that hardwood floors are a lifetime investment. As they are highly versatile and adaptable, hardwood floors not only suit any lifestyle but also enhance the appearance of your home.  



5 Main Differences between Solid Hardwood and Engineered Hardwood Flooring

When thinking about interior design, there are so many decisions to make. From deciding which kitchen cabinets you’d like to choosing windows, balancing style and practicality is a difficult feat.

That said, there’s no more difficult a decision than selecting the right flooring for your home. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution. That said if you’re looking for longevity, durability and style, you can’t often beat hardwood flooring. Whatever your style or individual requirements, the wide options of hardwood floors available mean you’re sure to find something to suit your space.

That said, while hardwood floors are elegant and timeless, they’re not all created equally. When it comes to hardwood floors there are two main types: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood planks are created from a single thick piece of wood. Engineered hardwood, on the other hand, has a core of plywood with a layer of hardwood veneer applied to the surface.  

Traditional solid hardwood floors have been in demand for many years but recently, engineered wooden floors have received a surge in popularity. As both options provide a beautiful finish, it can be hard to compare the two. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 5 key differences between solid and engineered hardwood.

  1.     Cost

In most scenarios, your budget will help determine which option is best for you. Generally, engineered hardwood is less expensive than solid hardwood, but at the end of the day, the quality and species of the wood will be the largest price determinant. Ultimately, exotic varieties of solid wood are more expensive than engineered hardwood.

There is no definitive cost for either type, the price range varies greatly. The cost of engineered hardwood is generally $3 to $14 per square foot, but this price will depend on plank thickness and wood species. Depending on the hardness and durability of the wood, most solid hardwood floors cost between $8 and $15 per square foot.

  1.     Installation

As engineered hardwood is less likely to buckle or react to heat, there are a variety of installation options available. The fact that engineered wood does not react to changing temperatures, means that this alternative can be installed above or below ground level. Since solid hardwood will expand and contract over time, this wood can only be installed on or above ground level.

Engineered hardwood can be installed fast and in a variety of different spaces. This option is your best choice if you’re looking for a do-it-yourself project. Most styles of engineered wood can be glued or nailed down. In fact, in some cases, similar to laminate flooring, you can opt for a type that locks the planks together without fasteners.

Solid hardwoods generally have a longer installation process; the flooring is attached with a specific flooring nailer then sanded and finished. This sanding process can be difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience, and although you can do it yourself, hiring a professional will get the job done much quicker and neater!

  1.     Stability & Durability

The good news is that both forms of hardwood offer durability and toughness. That said, solid woods still come out on top and are inherently sturdier as they must be permanently nailed or glued to your subfloor.

That said, in extreme temperatures, engineered woods have greater structural stability, which offers better resistance against buckling. While this is definitely a benefit, the durability of engineered wood is not comparable to solid forms, mainly because the surfaces on these engineered types are quite thin and therefore prone to chips over time.

  1.     Moisture Resistance

When it comes to moisture, engineered wooden floors are probably the better choice. Engineered wood is constructed with a plywood base, which means that moisture is less likely to flex or warp the boards. The fibers in the plywood run in cross-wise layers, helping to resist moisture build-up.

Solid hardwood floors are not recommendable in any areas where moisture is prevalent. This means it’s probably best to avoid solid woods for your bathroom or any areas which require regular mopping. Even still, solid hardwood can still resist moisture to some extent, but this will depend on whether the wood is pre-finished or site-finished. Site-finished wood has a sealed top layer which helps to absorb some moisture.

  1.     Environmental Considerations

Most people want to support products that sustain a positive environmental approach. In most cases, engineered hardwood floors are more eco-friendly than solid wood. The manufacturing process for engineered wood is less wasteful and requires less energy than most other flooring types. However, this isn’t to say that selecting solid hardwood isn’t a sustainable option. You can still buy environmentally friendly solid wood, provided it is purchased from a responsible supplier and is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

So, there you have it! Hopefully, these differences will help take the hassle out of your hardwood flooring selection.


General Home Improvement

7 Benefits of Installing Hardwood Floors in Your Kitchen

For most households, the kitchen is a high foot-traffic zone. From mom’s movements during meal-making to the continual pitter-patter of hungry children searching through kitchen cabinets, your kitchen floors rarely get a break. And with having to endure the spills, stains and scraps that accompany the breakfast, lunch and dinnertime rush, your kitchen floor will likely be the dirtiest in the house too!

 As such, when it comes to this area, selecting the right kitchen flooring takes thoughtful consideration. Think durability, sustainably and easiness to clean and you’ll find yourself a floor that suits your kitchen’s unique needs. It’s perhaps the reason that so many people turn to hardwood flooring as the perfect long-term solution.

 So, what makes hardwood flooring so desirable in your home’s food hub? Here are 7 benefits of installing hardwood floors in your kitchen.

  1.     Elegant Look

The overall look of your kitchen can influence the vibe of the rest of your home. When you’re thinking about interior design, it’s often difficult to balance style with functionality; sometimes the most practical solutions aren’t the prettiest! But that’s where hardwood flooring really shines. 

Hardwood floors have the ability to completely refine and transform a space, making sure this general meeting place feels both warm and inviting. No other material can quite emulate the homely feel that the natural tones of hardwood flooring exude. With tones ranging from dark to light, each style of hardwood has its own unique character and can fit with your own personal aesthetic. 

  1.     Durability

 As the kitchen is considered a major hub in any household, scuffs and marks are to be expected. That said, it is vital that you consider a flooring product that can stand the test of time while taking a daily beating! With hardwood’s strength and durability, you can be assured that your kitchen floors will keep their beautiful appearance for years to come.

When it comes to durability, it’s best to research wood species that have a high ranking on the Janka hardness chart. This rating provides an estimate of both the hardness and durability of your chosen wood style and will help you make an informed decision unique to your personal circumstances. To help you determine which style is best for your home you can use this guide. 

  1.     Easy To Clean

Undeniably, kitchens are prone to mess. Not to worry, though. Hardwood floors take the chore out of cleaning as stains and dirt won’t stick to this material’s surface the same way as it does with other flooring options.

When it comes to day to day maintenance, hardwood floors are mostly hassle-free. To maintain the fresh appearance of your hardwood floors, you may want to have them refinished periodically, but when it comes to regular care, your weekly clean routine is quite simple. All that’s needed is a quick vacuum and sweep with a mop and your floors will be back in tip-top shape. 

  1.     Softer & Warmer Than Tile

Inevitably, natural wood exudes a feeling of warmth, both in an aesthetic sense and also in a physical sense. In fact, hardwood floors actually feel warmer underfoot. Often, tiles retain coolness which can be refreshing in the summertime but can feel unbearable when the winter rolls around. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, sustain their comforting feel throughout all times and seasons.

  1.     Adds Greater Value To Your Home

It’s true, wooden floors add value to your home. If there comes a time where you’re looking to sell your home, potential buyers often prefer a timeless wood over chipped tiles. Investing in decent hardwood floors now will pay off in the long run so if cost is your deciding factor, maybe you should reconsider.

  1.     Better Air Quality

Hardwood floors do not trap dust, pollen or other common allergens. This means that installing wooden floors in your kitchen will promote significantly better airflow. Often, people who suffer from allergies choose hardwood flooring as it allows them to breathe comfortably. So, ultimately with wooden floors, you won’t need to opt for an outdoor kitchen to get a breath of fresh air!

While you might think the same can be said for tiles and laminate, this is not completely true. Even though these alternative options do not have fibers like carpet, dust can still collect inside their grout lines and embossing. 

  1.     Hardwood Floors Can Make Your Home Seem Larger

 No one likes feeling cramped, especially not in the kitchen. Most of the time, your kitchen is your general meeting place so you not only want it to feel inviting but also accommodating too. Given that hardwood floors are laid vertically they help create the illusion of length in even the smallest of kitchens.

 Images: Unsplash


Hardwood Maintenance

5 Reasons Hardwood Flooring Can Actually Make Your Home MORE Child-Friendly

These days, hardwood flooring is a popular choice to create a timelessness elegance in any space. However, if you have children, there are an extra set of considerations you may need to think about before simply opting for a style you find aesthetically pleasing.

Hardwood flooring can sometimes be a little more temperamental than other floor surfaces such as tiles and carpet. While it’s an impossible task to keep any style of floor immaculate with children around – spills, muddy footprints and general play are all par for the course, right? –  certain hardwood flooring can be impacted by children much more than the other options.

That said, hardwood flooring can be the perfect addition to your family home (and can actually make it more child-friendly), especially if you make the right decision from the outset.

Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider hardwood flooring in your family home.

  1. Some Hardwood Flooring Can Be More Durable Than Other Flooring Options

Durability is key when you have kids around, so choosing a wood that will stand the test your children put them through is essential.

Bamboo offers many benefits in this department; the perfect balance between stamina and style. While Bamboo has a similar appearance to timber, it is actually a harder substance, meaning that when the kids forget that the house isn’t their personal playground, there is less chance the floors will be scratched. Furthermore, bamboo is resistant to stains. Perfect for the inevitable spills that your little darlings will send its way!

But bamboo isn’t your only option. There are a number of durable hardwood flooring options which may be a good choice for you. Here’s a hot tip: before you set your sights on a wood you just love, check its Janka rating which will tell you just how durable it is. If it’s low, say no!

  1. Lighter-Toned Woods can Disguise Dirt

You wouldn’t be alone if you thought that darker-colored woods would be perfect for hiding dirt, dust and debris. However, when it comes to hardwood flooring, the opposite applies. 

Light-colored hardwoods such as cherry or oak are a couple of options to consider for the family home because they minimize the appearance of dust and brighten up your living space. Certain light-colored options will help you maintain that effortless look without spending hours cleaning, which is a definite bonus when you’re too busy with the kids or you forgot it was your turn to host your family summer cookout!

  1. Hardwood Floors Are Less Likely to Stain Than Carpets

With the kids running amok and that cup of juice sitting precariously close to the table’s edge, it won’t be long before it comes crashing down and spills all over your floor. This is where hardwood flooring really comes into its own, basking in its child-friendly glory! Unlike carpet, wooden floors are much less likely to stain. Simply wipe up the mess to remove any remnants of the accident!

  1. Hardwood Floors Are a Healthier Alternative

Carpet and thick rugs collect dirt and food scraps like sponges. With hardwood floors, there are no worries that your little ones will be exposed to harmful substances trapped in the floor beneath them. After all, for most children, the floor is where they spend most of their playtime, so carpets provide the perfect breeding ground for them to get sick; hardwood flooring virtually eliminates that issue.

Not only this, hardwood floors are also a great alternative for children who suffer from allergies since they are less likely to collect pesky pollens or animal fur. If health and safety are a concern for you, hardwood floors are a great non-toxic choice for your family.

  1. Hardwood Floors Are Easy To Clean

Let’s face it, life with kids means endlessly cleaning up after them. With that said, making decorating decisions to make clean up easier is definitely something that all parents should be thinking about. Enter, hardwood flooring.

Although hardwood flooring does come with a set of maintenance requirements, when it comes to cleaning up spills quickly, this versatile flooring option comes out on top. Unlike with carpet, you won’t be reaching for that hot bucket of water and a myriad of cleaning products when your little ones drop their cereal on the way to the table. You can simply wipe up the mess with a paper towel and run a slightly damp sponge over the area to remove any sticky residue. Easy!