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5 Hardwood Floors that Interior Designers Love

When it comes to flooring options, hardwood floors are a timeless and elegant choice, they add warmth, character, and durability to any space. With a wide variety of hardwood species, finishes, and styles available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for your home. To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled a list of 5 hardwood floors that interior designers absolutely love.




Interior Designer Hardwood Flooring Requirements:

 

Designers look at the same things when selecting a hardwood floor; colour, style, maintenance and price and often different designers will choose the same products from our collection.

When you are doing a refurbishment, you almost need to consider the floor in the same regard as the kitchen - it is a crucial part of the overall design but it’s not something that you are going to want to change in the near future.

With so many wood floor colours and materials to choose from, you may find it challenging to make a selection, so I have put a list together of the most popular hardwood flooring solutions that I’ve sold to my interior design clients and why they are all worthwhile options for you to consider for your project.




1. Chevron Parquet:

 

Chevron is one of the most popular parquet flooring patterns out there and it can be found on anything from a print on a cushion cover to wall tiles.

Whatever way you choose to use it, this hardwood flooring pattern always makes an interior look sharp and timeless.

Interior designers will opt for a uniform grade in light colour tones if they are looking for a light contemporary floor or on the flip side, a dark thermo chevron (more on this later) can also look extremely sophisticated and modern too, it just depends which works better with other elements in the design.

Chevron patterns are characterised by columns of short diagonal stripes that meet in a line of "V's", much like the skeletons of fish, the beauty of the chevron pattern is the uniformity, you end up with single lines that meet instead of a jagged angles, such as a herringbone, which creates a more active pattern.

On projects where the building is more traditional, we will look at warm tones such as golden oak, dark greys, toffees, and light browns, in order to keep the look sophisticated but with added character.

Think about what colour and style of chevron will suit your interior, remember that you can normally choose the degree of the chevron edge, it’s usually 45 degrees or 60 degrees. 45 degrees is usually the more popular option.



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Natural oak chevron parquet image by Dezeen


2. Wood, Metal & Marble:

 

By adding in a metal detail such as a brass border or even having some parquet pieces with a metal detail will create a unique and elegant hardwood floor.

I recently worked with an interior designer on a hotel project in Marylebone and the designer was looking to create something unique in the hospitality area and we ended up opting for a dark stained oak with a brass metal trim and black marble, as you can see in the image below, the result look luxurious and chic.

For a family home, you don’t have to go as glamorous at that, but even adding a single line metal border to your wood floor is another very impactful way to elevate the design in the space and you could consider adding this element to the formal rooms in your home, making them feel a touch more luxurious.

There is the more extravagant end of designs with wood, metal and marble as you can see in the image below, you can really turn your floor into a piece of art.



On projects where the building is more traditional, we will look at warm tones such as golden oak, dark greys, toffees, and light browns, in order to keep the look sophisticated but with added character.   Think about what colour and style of chevron will suit your interior, remember that you can normally choose the degree of the chevron edge, it’s usually 45 degrees or 60 degrees. 45 degrees is usually the more popular option.
Bespoke Parquet by Urbane Living

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Bespoke Parquet by Urbane Living

3. Wide Oak Planks:

 

White oak is a popular choice among interior designers due to its durability and versatility.

It has a beautiful, light colour with subtle grain patterns that complement any interior style.

White oak is known for its resistance to moisture and warping, making it an excellent option for kitchens, bathrooms, and high-traffic areas.

Many clients like the look of a white washed Douglas fir (shown below) but Douglas fir is not as hard as Oak and it shows up scuff marks and loses lustre quite quickly and for a family home you need a floor that will cope with the daily traffic like wet rain coats, kids buggies and maybe a few spoonfuls of your delicious spaghetti bolognaise that your toddler kindly dropped on the floor.

If you want to achieve that washed chalky aesthetic, I advise all my clients (including the designers) to rather opt for a Prime Oak in a wide board with subtle white wash.

I have recommended this to many interior designers as the result is far better and the floor is a lot more durable with little ongoing maintenance.


PS - I have had my clients do the spaghetti bolognaise test on this floor and it passed with flying colours.



 

POSTS RELATED TO HARDWOOD FLOORS:


 

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Oak Cadogan

4. Walnut Wood Flooring:

 

Walnut hardwood floors are highly prized for their rich, dark tones and distinctive grain patterns, interior designers love walnut for its luxurious and sophisticated look.

This hardwood species adds depth and warmth to any room, creating a timeless and elegant ambiance and its durability and resistance to scratches make it suitable for both residential and commercial spaces.

Walnut hardwood flooring has always been a popular choice for designers wishing to add a luxurious look to their projects and this is down to the range of colour and natural variation within the wood.

Walnut does differ depending on where in the world it’s sourced from, European walnut tends to have a more orange-brownish tinge and North American walnut has a rich purplish-brown patina with streaks of blonde through it from the sapwood. In general, North American walnut tends to be more popular.

Because of the unique beauty of Walnut, interior designers have often specified it in a design as panelling or to create a feature headboard.

When working on hospitality projects with interior designers, I recommend having a lacquered finish as this will offer the most protection with the least required ongoing maintenance.

Walnut is also the only hardwood floor I think looks good in a glossy sheen level lacquer.



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American Walnut

Because of the unique beauty of Walnut, interior designers have often specified it in a design as panelling or to create a feature headboard.   When working on hospitality projects with interior designers, I recommend having a lacquered finish as this will offer the most protection with the least required ongoing maintenance.  Walnut is also the only hardwood floor I think looks good in a glossy sheen level lacquer.
American Walnut

5. Thermo Treated Floors:

 

I'm sure you have picked up from this article that light floors are popular with designers, but so are very, very dark floors.

When the floor needs to be dark in colour but also have depth and character throughout to give it that high end appeal, but needs to be durable and hardwearing - Introducing Thermo-Treated Oak (aka Carbonising)

In order to achieve a dark chocolate brown floor colour, the planks are heated to a high temperature and the heat literally caramelises the natural occurring sugars in the wood.

This process keeps variation to a minimum, resulting in a contemporary looking hardwood floor that designers often pair with lighter colours.



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Dark floorboards used here by Covet Noir

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Thermo Treated Chevrons

Tips on Choosing a Hardwood Floor like an Interior Designer:


 
  • When choosing a hardwood floor, consider style, personal preference, lifestyle, and the building character.

  • Consider your space and think about how the materials you choose are going to hold up to the daily activities in your household and look at the building itself too, is it a new build or a period building, this will help you determine how contemporary or traditional you want to go with the style of the floor.

  • If you have a young family you are bound to have strollers and kids scooters as part of your everyday life, will these items be stored elsewhere when not in use or in the same space as your wooden floor?

  • Stick with durable woods such as oak, maple and cherry.


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Dark hardwood floors for this bedroom design by Sims Hilditch

Colour:

 

Take inspiration from your surroundings and environment, an English countryside house calls for a different look to a Canary Wharf penthouse apartment.

Light to warm medium tones would perhaps suit the countryside better whereas a dark floor would be a luxurious addition to a trendy city apartment.


Materials:

 

Engineered hardwoods are nearly indistinguishable from solid hardwood floors, especially once laid.

Engineered hardwood has an increased tolerance for moisture, while solid hardwood may begin to warp in damp areas and I've always recommend engineered to my clients, just be aware of the different wear layers and overall board thickness.

I cover this in my Hardwood Flooring Guide - definitely a great read for a first floor buyer.




From light and contemporary to rich and rustic, these hardwood floors are beloved for their durability, beauty, and ability to transform any space into a stunning showcase.

Consider these favorites when choosing the perfect hardwood floor for your home, and consult with a professional to ensure you make the best decision for your specific needs and lifestyle.

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