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 Home Decor

The History of Hardwood Flooring

When you think of a timeless home, chances are the image in your head will have hardwood floors. Hardwoods have long been favored for their appearance and ability to stand the test of time. Like most of us, sometimes we take for granted aspects of home design that seem to have been around forever. But it wasn’t until the 17th century that hardwood flooring started to gain popularity. If you’ve ever wondered how and why hardwood flooring came to be, let us walk you through the history of hardwood flooring.

The Early Years

The history of hardwood flooring dates back to the early 1600’s French Baroque area. At the time, only wealthy people and French nobility would have adapted this style due to cost and timeliness of the installation. Hardwood flooring was made by hand, where each plank would be scraped, sanded and polished. Examples of this type of early flooring can be seen at Versailles in the traditional Parquet style that is still popular today.

Image courtesy of

Hardwood Flooring in America

Most of the hardwood flooring we imagine today – polished and uniform – weren’t common until the 19th century. In fact, most flooring in early colonial America was made from wide, thick planks that were likely cut from nearby forests with whatever material they could find. Unlike today where you can choose from flooring like bamboo, hickory, oak and more, these people were working with what was right outside their door.

The process for cutting timber into lumber was also extremely lengthy and difficult. A pit saw was most commonly used to do the cutting and required at least two men to get the job done. Because the process was so manual and strenuous, the planks of wood were often different widths and sizes, resulting in uneven flooring or flooring with gaps in it. It was common to lose smaller items like marbles under the gaps in the floors.

As time went on, a new method for laying flooring was created that allowed for a much more uniform look. The long edge of a plank of wood was planed with an “L” profile, allowing it to lock in with adjacent boards. So, when wood inevitability changed shape and size due to weather, gaps could be covered up by the end of the other, adjacent board.

Early Hardwood Flooring Design Trends

Like so many aspects of design, popular hardwood flooring styles have changed drastically over the years. In the 18th century, many people began to paint their flooring as they would their walls and ceilings (staining and varnish wouldn’t become popular until the late 19th century). These decoratively painted wood floors ranged from monochrome to fanciful designs such as diamond or checkerboard patterns, making for a memorable timestamp in the history of hardwood flooring. Because of the low quality of the wood in most of the homes during this time, painting was a relatively easy and inexpensive way to upgrade the look of your home. If you were part of the wealthy elite, however, you might have been able to invest in parquet flooring, similar to the Versailles style mentioned earlier.

This historic faux marble treatment is quite formal.
Photo: Geoffrey Gross, courtesy of Rizzoli

Colors in a hand-painted floor were cued by the original jadeite-green glass wall tiles.
Photo: Leslie Tomlin

For a compass rose, paint reproduces the look of inlaid wood species.
Photo: Sandy Agrafiotis

The Industrial Revolution

Along with many other inventions, the Industrial Revolution also brought a more efficient and expedited process to the hardwood flooring world. With new, steam-driven machinery, the production time of flooring decreased significantly. Additionally, flooring became much more uniform and began to look like the polished flooring we think of thinking of today.

Around this time, the most popular way to install flooring was known as the “Tongue and Groove” flooring method. Tongue and groove flooring fits together like a puzzle piece, where one part of the flooring is fitted with a protruding “tongue” that fits into a concave “groove.” The most common type of hardwood around this time was narrow, oak floors – much different from the types of flooring we saw in earlier years.

Photo: Superior Flooring

Hardwood Flooring Today
Besides a decline in popularity around World War II when wall to wall carpeting was more common, hardwood flooring has remained a classic and favorite type of flooring for most homeowners. After many different phases of hardwood flooring, the polished hardwood flooring we know today finally appeared in the late 19th century.

Today, hardwood flooring goes through a much more detailed manufacturing process than in the past, creating an appealing and durable product. Whereas hardwood flooring might have only been in certain rooms of the house in the past, today, it’s much more common to see hardwood floors through the entirety of homes. Whether you’re renovating a home and trying to find your style or simply thinking about hardwoods in general, there’s a myriad of options to choose from. If you’re on the fence, remember that hardwood flooring has stood the test of time for centuries and we don’t anticipate it going away any time soon.

Home Decor

Home Decor Tips For This Summer

Summer is just around the corner. People are shedding their winter coats and reaching for cut-offs. With summer comes socializing. We have friends and family over for cookouts and patio parties. Just as we spruce ourselves up for the sunny skies, we take a good look at our homes to see if they are summer ready.

Whether you live in a Denver home or in a more affordable city like Milwaukee, Wisconsin, let’s look at some easy ways to update your home decor in time for the summer months.

Let There Be Light!

We naturally want to let sunlight in through the windows. Maybe you spent the winter months with flowing drapes, colorful wool throws, and a fire in the fireplace. Of course, you are going to pack away the blankets and clean out the fireplace. But, while you are doing that, take down those drapes.

The windows in our homes are very important. We use a great deal of time and a great deal of money to have efficient and beautiful windows. Then we drive to the closest department stores and buy curtains. Here is a tip. If you just must buy drapes, have them custom made to fit your windows. They will look better and last a lot longer. But, you may consider buying custom blinds instead.

Why would custom blinds work so well? Because the trend today (and for many years to come) is to place hardwood floors instead of carpet. Buy custom blinds to match your hardwood floors and your home looks like a model home. Everything fits perfectly.

As for the fireplace, you can buy a pretty decorative screen to block off the fireplace. But, if you want to be a bit more creative, place some iron candle holders in the fireplace. Stagger them in different heights and sizes. Large candles draw attention to the eye when they are unlit. Lighting them gives your room a romantic glow with the flames flickering in the dark area.

sitting on chair painting portraits
photo credit: Aleksandr Slobodianyk

Wall Galleries

In the 1970s people decorated their walls with framed photos of their family. Then the world went “arts and crafts” nuts and our memories were being replaced with cross-stitched pictures, sun hats with flowers and lace hot glued to them and roosters. We don’t know how roosters became a home decor fashion statement, but they did.

Now, family photos have made their way to the halls once again. They may be hung with “word art” but they are being hung. Here is a really cool twist to this idea. The days of average people going to an artist to sit for a painting are no more. But, now you can select your favorite photograph of your family, a loving grandparent who has passed away or even a little baby. You send it to the artists. They upload the photo and paint you a beautiful oil painting on canvas. You can make this portrait the focal point of the room. Other options include watercolors, pencil, and chalk. Click here for more information, just give it a try.

kitchen with wood floors


It is perfectly fine to put down an area rug to protect your hardwood floors, but if you want to keep up with the trend, hardwood flooring is a must.


The days of all white kitchens have finally slipped away. If you just changed your kitchen to that look, you can rescue yourself with black accessories. Black and white are holding for a while. Shaker cabinets have been the top of the line cabinetry for decades. They were designed to be high quality with no maintenance and understated beauty. They were created in the 1800s by a group of religious members of the same name.

You can order your RTA cabinets with open fronts or some with glass doors. There is no wrong way to use Shaker cabinets.

Get away from the white walls. Pastels are trending this year in colors like yellow, baby blue, and green. You will not see shiny paint this year. Matte is where it’s at. Matte finishes on cabinets and countertops. As for countertops, the going thing is concrete. The colors are up to you. Gray, black, steel blue or green looks good as long as they are (you guessed it) painted with a matte finish.

Trends for kitchens and bathrooms include the vessel sink with chrome faucets. When you have a pretty vessel sink, it quickly becomes the focal point of the room.


There is always a need for plants in the house. But, 2019 will push away from the rainforest in the kitchen and bath. A few plants (hanging) is great. A small herb garden in the kitchen? Awesome. Other than that, place your vegetation on the patio.


Buy a summer duvet cover. Place a matching rug on the floor. Use what you have learned about window treatments and add wall mirrors.

patio furniture outside
photo credit: Marianne



Place an indoor/outdoor rug on your patio. Use the extra space to plant a few of your favorite veggies or berries.

As you can see, there are many ways to update your home for warmer months. Get started now, and you will be ready in plenty of time. Your home will have the wow factor that you dream of.

Home Decor

5 Meditation Room Decor Ideas to Help You Get Your Zen On

Designing a meditation room in your home is a great way to gain peace of mind. You can create a designated space to relax in and get your zen on! Meditating is no longer only reserved for traditional monks and those who have a passion for the new age lifestyle. Meditation has proven mental and physical benefits and now is popular in cultures around the world. With the right meditation room decor ideas, bring the ambiance you truly desire while relaxing and unwinding to life.

#1: Choose Your Meditation Room Colors Wisely

Selecting the colors for your meditation room is one of the first steps to take when you are designing a space that is genuinely welcoming, calming, and inviting. When you are looking to create an area in your home that you consider to be your retreat, avoid flashy and bright colors or distracting patterns that make it difficult to concentrate and zone out.

Some of the most popular earth-tone colors to go with when designing a meditation space include:

  • Neutrals: Beige, Eggshell, Light Brown, Dark Browns
  • Grey: A variety of grey shades work with a wide range of accent colors
  • Colors: Rust orange, Hunter green, Navy blue, Cerulean blue, Eggplant, Berry, Blush

Meditation Pillows Bright Colors

If you are interested in using a bright color scheme, consider these before making your selection:

  • Berry/Hot Pink with Grey/Dark Brown/Burgandy
  • Grey with: Rust Orange, Teal, Purple, Pink, Deep Red
  • Teal with: White, Eggshell, Grey
  • Yellow: Dark brown, Dark grey
  • Purple: Deep orange, Earthy browns
  • Orange: Eggshell, Dark Grey, Dark Brown, Medium Brown

Browse online communities such as Pinterest to brainstorm color schemes for your meditation room based on your personality and the type of decor you enjoy implementing throughout your home. Search for keywords such as “bohemian,” “boho,” “meditation ideas,” “Indian decor,” and other relevant phrases that are most appealing to you for the best results.

#2: Eliminate Distractions

Eliminate all distractions from your meditation room including televisions, tablets, and other electronic devices. Distractions keep us from focusing, especially when trying to relax. Minimize the amount of clutter you have in your meditation room to prevent yourself from feeling bogged down and overwhelmed each time you enter the space. Clear the floor and walls of excess clutter or belongings that are just not fitting for the atmosphere you want to create.

Create as much open space as possible with your meditation room. Clean or remove cluttered bookshelves and instead, opt for window plants or decor that is peaceful and meshes well with the color scheme you have chosen. Avoid clutter that is loud or distracting while you concentrate.

#3: Consider Hardwood Floors

Hardwood Floors Meditation Room

If you have the option to select the flooring throughout your meditation room, consider opting for hardwood floors. Hardwood floors provide an earthy, yet natural aesthetic appeal to spaces designated to meditation and unwinding. Choose a dark, grounding, calming wooden floor if you are looking for an aesthetic that is peaceful and optimal for nurturing transcendental experiences. Hardwood floors are also ideal if you are interested in utilizing seat cushions and meditation mats that require a flat and level surface for desired results.

#4: The Importance of Versatile Lighting

Lighting is essential for a meditation space, regardless of the size of your room or the number of windows you have available. Use blackout curtains or drapes that can be easily opened or closed depending on the type of lighting you prefer during your meditation each morning or evening. Choose lights on a dimmer that allow more versatility when creating an atmosphere based on your mood each time you meditate. Avoid using stark white lights or fluorescent lighting in your meditation room if you want to maintain a calm and inviting ambiance at all times.

#5: Incense, Candles, and Popular Decor for Meditation Spaces

Choose Candles, Incense, and Items That Appeal to You

Spend time comparing incense and candle scents that are most appealing and calming to you. Choose scents that are not overly distracting but provide a sense of peace, especially during a meditation session. Search for aromatherapy scents for additional relaxation, optimal during a deep or guided meditation. Tapestries, rugs, and throw pillows all create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere when designing your personal meditation room. Consider the type of cushions or the seating arrangement that works best for the space you intend to use.

Taking the time to plan for your meditation room decor with the right color scheme, decor, and overall aesthetic is a way to remain encouraged and motivated to incorporate meditation each day in your daily routine. With the right look and feel in your meditation room, unwind and gain peace of mind whenever you need to let go of your troubles.

Hardwood Flooring Home Decor

What are the Benefits of High-Quality Oak Flooring?

This is a guest post contributed by Zac Ferry, an experienced writer, blogger, and social media promoter. He provides valuable information which helps readers to get more ideas. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter to see what he shares next.

Solid oak flooring is insanely popular because of its durability. It is suitable for all types of properties, such as residential as well as commercial premises, offices, hotels, etc. One of the main advantages of using this type of flooring is that it lasts a long time without losing its appealing. Solid oak floors, derived from natural wood planks, bring timeless beauty and a distinctive appearance to any room.

So, when it comes to choosing the hardwood floor for your home or office, oak is the best choice. Overall, oak is the most preferred hardwood flooring materials compared to others available out there. Since this material comes in different colors, such as white, black, red, etc., it compliments with any interior design thereby providing a uniform look throughout the building.

Benefits of Choosing High-Quality Oak for Your Floors:

The only concern of every homeowner, while undergoing flooring installation, is whether it will get ruined in a matter of months or not.  No one would want to go through the entire installation process to have to do it again. Having the best oak flooring installed is the best solution. Also, it has many advantages over other types of floors. Here are some of those benefits.

Benefit #1: High-Quality Oak Flooring is Hard-Wearing

Oak is a hardwood flooring material with exceptional resistance to wearing. The fact that most homeowners prefer buying old oak furniture is due to the trust factor it offers. Also, floors made of such material improve with time and shines with a flair for years to come.

The ease of use makes this flooring the best in the business without any alternative. It is so strong that it does not break down when any heavy machine is used, or screws are pinned on it. Hence, one does not need to take extra care while installing oak hardwood flooring in a house or any other building.

Benefit #2: Oak Planks Have Amazing Natural Designs

Another great feature of oak flooring is its designs, crafted with the utmost care. The look it creates in a space is unmatched. Since oak flooring is made of natural wood, the patterns and styles it possesses have unfounded elegance. In addition to this, wood is customizable catering to the needs of every individual and is also available in different sizes making oak wood advantageous.

Benefit #3: Oak, as a Rule, is Highly Durable

Most of the house or other property owners prefer oak hardwood floors because they are highly durable and give a kind of distinction from others. Moreover, the hardness of the oak wood makes it the best option, when it comes to flooring.

Benefit #4: The Color-Absorption Capacity of Oak is Outstanding

Oak hardwood has high color absorption capacity and thereby it makes sure the color of wood stays for long. Due to this feature, many people opt for this flooring option to improve the aesthetic appearance of any room.

Benefit #5: If Finished Properly, these Floors will be Low-Maintenance

Due to high resistance, the best oak flooring can easily withstand fungal and insect attacks compared to other types. Due to this, there would be no need to spend extra bucks on maintenance, repairs, and damages. It is also not affected by moisture thereby making it durable.

These are some of the advantages of using oak hardwood flooring in a house or any other building. Also, getting the best oak flooring installed in a premise makes it complete without having to think about renovating for many years to come. The texture and timeless beauty provided by this type of wood are what that can make one feel like walking in the most comfortable and aesthetic place on Earth.

Whether or not oak is right for you, we’re not sure. But, you can find out for yourself by reading, “How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for any Home.”

Hardwood Flooring Home Decor

This is How to Complement Rustic Decor with Hardwood Flooring

Rustic decor is a no-brainer for Denver residents, and hardwood flooring is a perfect complement. Mountains are synonymous with Denver because of their splendid proximity. Exploration of the Front Range is an ordinary weekend and vacation destination for many residents. The air is fresh and crisp. The local fauna observes from safe distances while going about their business.

Sitting at the river bank, watching the rapids flowing over the rocks gives you a feeling of serenity–a feeling sorely missed once the normal rumpus of life is resumed. This is how your home can seamlessly integrate with the local way of life and provide you with the retreat you need.

Integrate Natural Elements into Your Room

Not surprisingly, the interiors of homes in the neighboring areas frequently feature a rustic outdoors theme. They feature stone walls and fireplaces, they contain furnishings made from natural wood, and they include copper and bronze artwork in the shape of elk and moose. Elk antler chandeliers and other decorative items are a great addition to a rustic room. Preserved logs, tree trunks, and branches morph into beautiful wooden lamps, furniture, and artwork.

Integrate Natural Elements into Your Rustic Decor via @macwoods

This is the Importance of Color and Texture

The combination of earth tones makes these homes feel warm and inviting. Most rustic room floors are solid hardwood covered with textured rugs. The color schemes revolve around brick reds, burnt oranges, rich dark browns, cool greys and black. Dark solids in heavier weights dominate the fabrics, to emphasize a feeling of warmth. If you use patterned fabrics, they are muted without any significant contrasts.

To provide contrast to a natural wood or stone wall treatment, a solid hardwood floor with a soft, consistent color can be used. With the right selection of sleek-lined contemporary furniture, the contrasting textures can create an elegant environment that calms and soothes.

Flooring Options for Rustic Decor 

The current selection of solid hardwood flooring varieties far exceeds its predecessors. In addition to wider planks, which give the room a more spacious look, there are many colors as well. For example, a grey tone that resembles wood aged from natural weathering is a popular choice. Also, many kinds of woods feature a high-contrast striped effect that complements the rustic theme excellently.

For a truly rugged look, hardwoods that contain naturally-occurring knots and markings are available. “Distressing” techniques such as wire-brushing and scraping add a further dimension to the finished look.

Make Smart Decor Decisions

Whether you choose to have a rustic interior that has a strong connection to nature, or more modern, shabby chic look, planning your decor is imperative to achieving an uninterrupted flow of matching personality throughout your home. Because there are so many choices available, you might appreciate some assistance from a professional.

Experience can help you narrow down your choices based on how you plan to use the room and what colors, textiles and furnishings are selected. MacDonald Hardwoods consultants will collaborate with you to create a natural, outdoor atmosphere within your home.

Final Thoughts

No matter which theme you or your designers choose for your home, the experienced staff at MacDonald Hardwoods is available to walk you through the process of choosing your flooring. They will come out to your home and measure the room; help you select flooring that fits your needs and budget; show you how to care for your floor; and, if you like, teach you how to install the prefinished solid hardwood flooring yourself.

General Home Improvement Hardwood Flooring Hardwood Maintenance Home Decor Pets Species

This is How to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring for any Home

So, you’re thinking about retiring your old floors, or you’re moving into a new space, and you’re interested in a natural, easy-to-maintain flooring choice. Of course, hardwood is an excellent pick for many people — it’s easier to clean than carpets and is known to stand the test of time. But, there are so many available options that finding the best hardwood flooring can be overwhelming.

How to determine the best hardwood flooring for your home:

  1. First, understand the pros and cons of hardwood floors.
  2. Next, examine your lifestyle.
  3. Then, set a realistic budget.
  4. After that, explore various hardwood types and species.
  5. Once you know the rest, research your finish options.
  6. Finally, consult with an expert.

Each of the above items has its own set of intricacies. In this article, we take some of the guesswork out of it for you. Here’s everything you need to know to choose the right hardwood flooring options. 

First, the Pros and Cons of Harwood Flooring:

Hardwood is a natural, long-lasting choice for home flooring. Still, it comes with maintenance responsibilities. Before you do anything else, it’s crucial to consider the pros and cons of installing wood floors in your home.


The Pros and Cons of Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Hardwood is durable… as long as you don’t overexpose it to water.

While hardwood floors are durable and can withstand spills and stains with proper treatment, they are especially prone to water damage (kind of like the wicked witch of the west); this makes them a risky candidate for areas like your bathroom, kitchen, and entryways. Installing hardwood in rooms where they are exposed to liquid will lead to damage.

It is easy to refinish, but not so easy to install.

Most people will tell you it is easy to refinish hardwood floors, as long as you can stay off of them for a few days. Even so, it is difficult to install them, even for experienced DIYers. So, in the beginning, be prepared to hire a professional for the installation. At the very least, consider hardwood flooring installation classes

It is considered a wise investment.

The homeowners’ paradigm is that hardwood flooring will increase the value of your property. Most homebuyer’s jump at the idea of purchasing a home with hardwood floors — in many cases, even when carpet covers the original wood flooring. So, in the long run, the initial investment is probably worthwhile.

Hardwood flooring isn’t likely to go out of style.

Hardwood floors are timeless in the decor world; it was considered a luxury interior decoration asset as early as the 1600s and is popular still today. If you choose hardwood, your floors are likely to stay in style as long as your home stands. According to GentlemanZone Magazine, hardwood stands for luxury and fine taste. It is the warm and shiny glaze of wood that noblemen love to this very day.

It isn’t the coziest flooring to walk on.

One of the downsides to hardwood flooring is that it can be hard and cold on your feet compared to carpeting. Because it is so hard, it doesn’t absorb sound; this can lead to more noise when walking around with shoes. Some people might not like this idea, for a number of reasons, and will opt for carpeting instead. But, if you’re still undecided, there are ways to reduce sound with hardwood floors.

It is an allergy-friendly, eco-friendly, low maintenance flooring option.

People with pets will tell you that carpets need to be vacuumed daily to keep a hair and dander-free home. If you have allergies to pets or pollens, you can be sure hardwood floors will be much easier to maintain, and you’ll experience fewer attacks. Also, most of the wood used for flooring materials are sustainably sourced and use non-toxic adhesives and finishes.

Next, What You Need to Consider About Your Lifestyle:

Your lifestyle dictates the best hardwood flooring option for your home — foot traffic, kids, pets, and maintenance crucial considerations. Are your floors prepared for wear and tear, or will choose luxury options for their aesthetic appeal? Consider the following.

While you probably won’t be bowling on your floors, you may live in a home with a lot of guest foot traffic, kids playing, or pets running around. In this case, you are going to expose your floors to scratches; this requires a “harder” floor and finish (or a ridiculously laid-back attitude).

Is Hardwood Flooring Good for Homes with Kids and Pets? via @macwoods

On the contrary, if you have a lifestyle with more solitude, you might be able to afford to go with softer wood and a natural oil finish. If you require people to take their shoes off at the door, take precautions when moving furniture, your home isn’t prone to messes, and you expect things to stay this way, there’s no reason to worry yourself too much over potential scratching and stains.

Recommended reading for the best hardwood flooring care: 

Then, get Clear About Your Flooring Installation Budget:

While some homeowners consider hardwood flooring installation to be a DIY job, more often than not, they require professional installation. Whether you install the flooring yourself or hire someone to do that for you, be realistic about your budget. It’s always a possibility that you will end up spending more than you anticipate by the time everything is complete.

According to Home Advisor, the national average cost of installing hardwood in 2018 is $4,415. But this can vary tremendously based on the project.

What to consider when you set your hardwood flooring budget:

  • Cost per square foot of flooring
  • Size of the project area
  • Subfloor, joists, and other structural materials
  • Floor finish
  • Molding replacement
  • Professional labor costs
  • Future flooring repair & replacement costs

In addition to the installation (all materials and labor), you must consider the cost of repair and replacement for your hardwood floors. So, while you may have the initial budget for an exotic species like Padauk, think about whether you will have the funds to repair or replace a more expensive floor in the future, should you have to. If you have to refinance your home to pay for new floors, it may be best to choose an option that is on the conservative side of the price scale. 

Recommended reading to set your hardwood flooring budget:

After that, Consider Solid, Prefinished, Engineered, and Laminate Flooring Options:

There are three main hardwood flooring options: solid, engineered, laminate, and prefinished. Here are the similarities and differences.

Solid Hardwood Flooring

Solid hardwood is the term used for planks of wood, cut directly from the tree — it is precisely what you think it would be; this is the flooring that has been around for ages. It is the most natural and customizable type of hardwood flooring. If you choose this option, you can have any wood species, stain and flooring finish you like. The only downside is that, in general, it can be slightly more prone to damage than your other options and typically more expensive. It would be the obvious choice for any luxury home and is the only type of wood flooring that can be refinished.

Prefinished Hardwood Flooring

A convenient option for homeowners is to choose prefinished flooring. Again, this is precisely what you might think it is: hardwood flooring planks that are finished prior to installation. Both engineered and solid hardwood, exotic and common species come in pre-finished options. The upsides are that installation takes less time, you will be able to walk on your floors sooner, and you will not have to inhale sometimes toxic VOCs of polyurethane finishes. It can be more expensive than unfinished planks, but that is usually made up for by negating the final step of installation. It might be difficult to find high-end species, yet many people still consider this the best hardwood flooring option.

Engineered Hardwood Flooring 

Not to be confused with laminate flooring, engineered hardwood flooring is a semi man-made product. However, it is made from several layers of real wood. The top layer is a piece of solid wood lamella, and it is most often prefinished. So, if you choose this option, colors and grains are preserved. At a glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between solid and engineered hardwood, as you are basically left with the same color and appearance of natural wood flooring.

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is another choice that many modern homeowners go with, especially in rentals or homes with small children. Homeowners with laminate flooring claim that it is extremely easy to keep clean. With laminate flooring, you don’t have the high risk of water damage. It is also less prone to sun damage and staining. But, there is a downside: it is obviously not wood. This option doesn’t leave you with the same unique grain variants and color evolution as many hardwood options.

And, Explore Common and Exotic Hardwood Species:

If you like the idea of solid wood flooring, it’s best to look at several different species. There are common American species like Oak, Maple, and Hickory, that you’ve probably already thought about. You should also look at exotic species like Australian Cypress, Merbau, or Burmese Teak. Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the most popular species that we work with to inform your journey to the best hardwood flooring.

Black Cherry:

Black Cherry Hardwood Flooring

The heartwood of Black Cherry is a stunning red-brown color and the sapwood ranges from pale to light brown with an almost pink tint. Rather than using this type of wood for an entire floor, it is usually used for accents and borders, creating a luxury decor feel. This species is more stable and softer than oak with a moderate hardness.


Birch Hardwood Flooring

Birch grain is generally wavy or curly but maintains an even, medium texture. The heartwood of Yellow Birch is usually red-brown while the sapwood is white or yellow. The heartwood of Sweet birch is generally dark brown with reddish tones and the sapwood is typically lighter. It is more stable than red oak and is known for absorbing shock.


Red Oak Hardwood Flooring

Oak grain is coarse with a flame or curvy pattern. White oak varies from light brown to off-white with hints of pink or gray and is naturally protected from many insects and fungi. Red oak has a strong, reddish tint and is slightly less durable than white oak, but is more likely to absorb shock. These are two of the most common species used in flooring. 


Heart Pine Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine (aka “Blue Pine”) are the two most common Pine species used in flooring. Heart Pine is yellow but contains occasional bluish-black sap stains. Southern Yellow Pine ranges in color from orange and light yellow to yellow and brown. It is known for its knotty grains and is much softer than its rival Oak flooring options.


Sugar Maple Hardwood via @macwoods

Sugar Maple is available in a myriad of colors. The sapwood can range from a creamy or pale white while the heartwood can be creamy white to reddish-brown. It has a closed fine, light grain and subtle appearance overall. Occasionally, on the higher end of the price scale, Maple grain presents quilted, “fiddleback,” or bird’s eye patterns.


Black Walnut Hardwood via @macwoods

Black Walnut, another common American hardwood species, contains a myriad of heartwood tones ranging from beautiful medium browns to almost purple hues. The straight, open grains can occasionally burl or curl, but for the most part, maintain a long brushstroke look.  It is softer but more stable than typical American Red Oak hardwood.

African Padauk:

African padauk Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

African Padauk is a popular exotic hardwood flooring option, mostly because of the way it changes color over time. In the beginning, Padauk floors might be reddish-orange, but will darken to red and can eventually become purplish-brown to black with age. Padauk is significantly harder and more stable than oak, making this one of the most durable available flooring options.  


Merbau Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Merbau has medium to high color variants on each board. It is especially lustrous, with golden yellow streaks throughout. Like Padauk, it changes color with age, typically starting out reddish-orange and eventually turning dark reddish-brown. The sapwood is, however, much lighter than the heartwood. Merbau grain is coarse and either straight, interlocked, or wavy.

Australian Cypress:

Australian Cypress Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Australian Cypress is much more stable and slightly harder than Oak. The heartwood ranges from honey-gold to brown, and the sapwood is generally cream-colored. Cypress grain is generally closed, yet it can often resemble the knotty texture of Pine. While the stability is high, some movement can happen with Cypress after installation. 

Thai/ Burmese Teak:

Thai Burmese Teak Hardwood Flooring via @macwoods

Thai/ Burmese Teak sapwood is usually a light cream color. The heartwood ranges from dark, golden-brown to yellow-brown. Teak becomes richer in color when exposed to the sun, which is not typical of other hardwoods that often experience sun bleaching over time. It is more stable yet softer than Oak and has a straight, coarse grain with inconsistent texture.

Take a Closer Look at Wood Grains

Each floorboard will have a unique pattern in the wood grain, but there are some basic identifiers in the most common species used in hardwood flooring; one may be more appealing to you than others.

wood grain appearance via @macwoods

Maple, for example, has a fine, light pattern. Oak tends to have a classically beautiful grain pattern that resembles flames. Hickory grains generally have an interesting, jagged, peaked structure that resembles watercolor paintings. Cherry and mahogany, though unique in many other ways, usually have similar grain patterns in that they are non-directional and subtle. Walnut looks like someone painted long, straight brush strokes with various shades of brown on a flat surface. Each is gorgeous in their own way.

While this section is informative about hardwood species and their looks and qualities, this is not inclusive of everything you may want to know. Once you have an idea what you want, it is a good idea to further research species including Janka rating and how to protect hardwood floors from sun bleaching to learn more and make the best hardwood flooring decision. 

Finally, Understand Your Options for Hardwood Finishes:

While the grain examples above showcase various shades of brown, red, and yellow, the final color and luster of your floor will be dictated by the finish that you choose. If you aren’t set on prefinished or laminate floors, you should explore at least a few different finish options.

One of the first questions you might ask is, ‘Do I actually need to finish my floors?’ — wood is lovely on its own after all. The answer is ‘yes.’ If you install hardwood floors, you don’t necessarily have to stain them, but you do need to finish them. Otherwise, you risk exposure to damage and early aging.

Here are some of the most popular hardwood flooring finish options.

  • Wax Finish
  • Polyurethane Finish
  • Acid-Cured Finish
  • Moisture-Cured Urethane Sealer
  • Penetrating Oil Sealer

Each above item has pros and cons. Use this list to choose the best hardwood flooring finish based on your needs and wants.

Closing Self-Examination Questions to Choose the Best Hardwood Flooring:

As long as you remember that you should not install hardwood flooring in rooms where they will be exposed to water, you understand all of your options, and you are clear on your budget and preferences, you’re ready for the final self-exam. Here’s what you need to ask to make the best hardwood flooring decision:

  • In which rooms will you install hardwood flooring?
  • What will the foot traffic be like in these rooms?
  • Will you choose solid, engineered, laminate, or prefinished hardwood?
  • In which species are you most interested?
  • What type of hardwood finish do you want?
  • Does your budget match the hardwood flooring options you prefer?

And, when you know the answers to all of these questions, if you still don’t have your mind made up, consult an expert to help you make a final hardwood flooring decision. Or, check out bamboo flooring as an option. Our Denver flooring company, serving the community since 1986, provides the finest quality hardwood floors, service, and installation.

General Home Improvement Home Decor

Granite, Quartz, and Marble: Explore Your Kitchen Countertop Choices

Whether you choose granite, quartz, or marble — your kitchen countertop will have a significant impact on the style and functionality of your home. So, before deciding which material you want, go through these points; ask yourself, what is the final look I want?

Do you want a smooth, luxurious look or do you want something more casual? How much effort do you want to put in cleaning? Do you often host parties at home or do you rarely cook? These questions will help you decide if your countertop for your should be more luxurious or functional.

Home decor is about the mix of the latest trends with classic choices that can frequently be changed, but it is rare that people change or upgrade their kitchen that often. Your countertop is a long run investment, and therefore it has to be compatible with the many coming years.

Countertops are exposed to all kinds of substances, both organic and artificial, like water, salt, and detergents; this makes it crucial for them to be durable and enduring. Most common choices that people make are granite, quartz, and marble. Before making a decision, it is good to know the qualities of them all.

Choice #1: Granite Kitchen Countertops

The most preferred choice for countertops, granite is available in many colors like pink, brown, black, grey and even red. The material is most suited for people who want to opt only natural materials. This natural rock is found around the world and is known for its unique character and beauty. Granite has excellent resistance to heat and cold and is lightly porous to absorb some liquid.

However, this might result in getting stains easily on the light granites, but dark granite would be safe from that. Granite countertops are hard and do not break easily, which makes them an excellent long-term choice.

Choice #2: Quartz Kitchen Countertops

Although not a natural material, quartz is the closest humanmade material to them. Quartz gets its color from a resin binder combined with colorants. Quartz is quite similar to granite. One advantage that it has over granite is that it is a human-made material and offers a higher range of color choices; this gives you extensive choices even to combine and match with many other elements. The best property of this material is that it is non- porous and does not absorb any liquid, which makes quartz countertops look clean and new for a more extended period.

Choice #3: Marble Kitchen Countertops

If you want to go out of the way with style and opt for exceptional color choices like greens and grey, then marble is your ideal choice. A marble worktop gives a more furnished look, but at the same time, it requires great caution. It is soft and easily breakable. Marbles are also more porous, which can result in difficult-to-remove stains. Hence, marble countertops are often a decent choice for people who rarely indulge in cooking.

It can be concluded that the choice for your kitchen countertop depends primarily on your lifestyle. Yes, the look matters but it is mostly the functionality and the physical properties of the material that we should consider before making a potentially lifelong decision — Much like choosing the right hardwood floors.

Home Decor

5 Reasons to Use 3D Printing in the Furniture Industry

Recent technology has made manufacturing more accessible and affordable than ever before. While there are many advancements, 3D printing is the most noticeable and the most powerful. Furniture designers and manufacturers can both benefit from 3D printing technology. These changes are meaning not only more customization options for consumers but also more design freedom for manufacturers.

As demand for more affordable furniture grows, so does the need to find better solutions to produce quality products quickly. Like all industries, the furniture industry will likely see many changes as the world continues to adapt to new technology. How exactly is 3D printing changing the furniture industry? This guide will share the top 5 reasons for utilizing 3D printing in the world of furniture today.

Reason #1: Increase Customization

Consumers of today want things to be specific. With the rise of social media and other digital platforms, people have access to higher levels of content than ever before. They’re able to research new things and discover new sources of inspiration. That leads to a more significant demand for customizable products.

Being able to design unique furniture for customers leads to higher levels of satisfaction. With 3D printing, it’s easy to add customizable features to your designs. Thanks to rapid printing technology, it’s easy to make these designs quickly when needed to keep customers happy.

Reason #2: Reduce Waste

Much of the furniture produced in big production lines go to waste. Like everything of today, there’s a need to reduce overproduction to avoid wasting both finished products and materials. Thanks to 3D printing, you no longer have to produce large quantities of designs before receiving the demand. Because it’s fast and efficient to create on demand, you can avoid losing time, money, and materials.

Reason #3: Lightweight Materials

3D printing makes it easy to stay up to date with the latest trends. Recently, there has been a push towards lightweight materials in furniture production. Gone are the days of bulky, heavy furniture that is difficult to move. Because people of today are more mobile than ever before and like to move around, lightweight furniture is having a moment in the spotlight.

Thanks to CNC machining with 3D printing, it’s easy to combine materials in a way that produces lightweight furniture that lasts. How can something like a sofa be both light and durable? Because 3D printing can reduce mass, the furniture can maintain its structure while also losing much-needed weight. Learn more here about the power of CNC machining.

Reason #4: Create Prototypes of New Designs

Furniture design involves a lot of trial and error. For new models, it’s best to create prototypes to work out experimental features and flaws before production. With 3D printing, it’s easy to make both full-sized and miniature prototypes. These are useful not only for mass-produced furniture designs but also for creating sample pieces for customers. It’s much easier to market something that people can see for themselves than to market an idea or 2D design.

Interestingly, one of the areas seeing the most growth — thanks to prototype design — is flooring. 3D printing allows consumers to have greater flexibility not only with their flooring but also more potential benefits. 3D printers of today can produce flooring that is fireproof, UV resistant, and durable. By offering prototypes of these new floor designs, customers can see the product in action.

Reason #5: Save Money

3D printing is a win/win situation for both consumers and designers. Not only is it more affordable to create new furniture designs, but it’s more affordable to buy furniture designs. Because 3D printing allows for less waste and more precision, manufacturers can market their products to customers who might not have been able to afford such things in the past.

Now, because of the lower cost of entry, more designers and manufacturers can offer a range of products to consumers. Today, furniture designers can benefit from using 3D printing to creates pieces that are as stylish as they are affordable. Interior design is quickly becoming more accessible to people of all price ranges and styles.

The Future of 3D Printing in Furniture Design

3D printing is snowballing. Every year, the market demand increases for 3D printing, and it’s no wonder it’s becoming another common practice in the furniture industry. There are a lot of benefits to designers utilizing 3D printing for their creations. As an industry, it’s important to focus on a reduction of waste, efficient production, and changing trends.

Hardwood Flooring Home Decor Species

This How to Calculate Quarter-Sawn Oak Flooring Costs

Are you interest in converting your floors to quarter-sawn oak? Though quarter-sawn oak flooring costs are usually higher than plain sawn oak, the benefits are worth it. To begin, quarter sawn is less likely to swell. It is more stable and will not absorb moisture the way plain sawn does. The design of quarter sawn is also favorable because of the unique patterns that adorn each plank — the rays on quarter-sawn wood are flagrant flecks that create a lovely decorative feature for your home. But how do you calculate just how much quarter sawn oak flooring costs?

Measuring Quarter-Sawn Oak

The first thing you will want to know is how much wood you will need for the project. You’ll want to measure the dimensions of each room you’d like to convert to hardwood flooring; this is a simple task that you can do at home with a tape measure. Begin by measuring the length and width. Now multiply these numbers together to obtain the square footage of each room.

Quarter-Sawn Planks

Once you’ve configured the measurements of your flooring, you’ll need to choose which planks of quarter sawn you want to install; this is determined primarily by the width, thickness, and figure of your lumber. For low/medium fleck quarter sawn you can expect to pay between $4.08 to $24.20 per board foot based on 8” to 16” widths. For higher fleck quarter sawn it is approximately $4.58 to $27.20 based on the same widths. Use your square footage measurements to calculate how much the planks will cost you in total.

Installing Quarter-Sawn Flooring 

Installation prices vary by location, square footage, and the difficulty of your project. Furniture removal, replacement of subflooring, and removal of original flooring may be hurdles in your process. The best method to access the cost you’ll be considering is to use an online price comparison tool for your area. Clearing old furniture and removing original flooring can help to lower your estimates.

Try to get a few estimates before deciding, as some companies charge less than others. Fall and early winter tend to be down times for flooring installers. Choosing to install during these off seasons can also save you money, decreasing your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs overall.

Final Quarter-Sawn Oak Flooring Costs

After installation, you’ll want to choose your finish. Oiled oak flooring is excellent for a natural look. Natural finish oak floors cost about $1.50 to $4.00 per square footage. Once you’ve decided and calculated the above factors, you’ll total them for your quarter-sawn oak flooring costs.

Maintenance is also necessary when keeping your floor looking it’s best. Over time, the everyday tread will wear on your original oiled oak floor, meaning that you’ll eventually pay more for your floor.

Note: To keep your natural finish oak floors looking their best you’ll need to refinish every ten years or so.