From species, to hardness, to color, there are endless options to choose from! It’s no wonder hardwood flooring continues to grow in popularity around the world. 

Hardwood floors seem to be all the rage nowadays. Instead of carpet, many interior designers are using hardwood as a design staple. It’s beautiful, looks super awesome in any home, and you don’t have to deal with cleaning carpets all the time! If you’re interested in getting hardwood flooring, already have it, or are simply curious and want to learn more, then my beginner's guide to hardwood flooring might just prove to be useful!

There are two things to consider when thinking about hardwood floors: species and hardness. Hardness is generally assessed using the Janka hardness test, which measures the resistance of wood to both denting and wear. The Janka hardness rating is used to determine the suitability of wood species to be used as residential or commercial flooring. The hardness of wood varies with the species as well as with the direction of the wood grain. For homeowners, it is important to consider the hardness of wood when making decisions about wood flooring because depending on your selection you may need to be cautious of heavy objects and tools that can potentially scratch, dent, or alter the wood. You don’t want to go through the trouble of installing a beautiful wood floor, only to find out your furniture is scratching it up. That would be sad. However, this can be avoided, which leads us to wood species…

There are a wide variety of wood species out there to choose from, and they all have their pluses (and some minuses). You have your traditional or domestic wood species like birch, hickory, oak, pine, and walnut. And then you have exotic woods such as cherry, ebony, and rosewood (I’ll talk about these later). They're all beautiful in their own unique way, so that can make choosing a wood difficult. Today, I want to talk about the domestic species, and help make it easier for you to choose one for your home.

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Birch: Birch wood is a hard, durable floor wood that is fine-grained and pale in color. In general, birch has lighter sapwood and darker heartwood. Individual boards that contain both exhibit a beautiful mixture of light creamy shades combined with darker red and brown tones. Three of the most common types of birch used for flooring are paper birch, yellow birch, and sweet birch. In terms of cost, birch is usually on the lower to average end of the price range of common hardwood flooring types. So, this is a great place to start when looking for the perfect wood flooring for your home! I love how the color of the wood in this room here warms up the whole space, and is helped by that roaring fire in the stone fireplace!

Hardwood Flooring Red Birch Living Room Stone Fireplace Tribal Print Couch

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Hickory: Hickory is very hard, dense, shock resistant, and stiff. Though not the hardest wood, its combination of strength, toughness, hardness, and stiffness is what makes it so sought after. Hickory ranges in color from a pale light brown to deeper, darker, more robust browns. Hickory flooring is very beautiful, and is great if you want to add a lush, rich color to your home.

Hardwood Flooring Hickory Kitchen Dining Living Area Great Room

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Oak: Oak wood has great strength and hardness, and is resistant to insect and fungal attack because it has a high tannin content. Oak has a distinctive grain and warm color. This warmth and character along with oak’s longevity and durability make it a popular choice for flooring and one that will add value to your home. Oak hardwood flooring is great, and don’t you just love the depth within each piece of wood? I love the contrast within the wood grain, and think it really looks awesome in this particular style of home! Plus, I love the whole insect and fungus resistance thing it’s got going on. That’s kind of awesome, and definitely something to keep in mind about this fantastic wood species.

Hardwood Flooring White Oak Floors in Kitchen and Living Room Combo Area

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Pine: There are two species of pine that are commonly used for flooring: eastern white pine and longleaf heart pine. Eastern white pine has a smooth grain, beautiful knots, and versatile finish capabilities. Freshly cut eastern white pine is a creamy white or pale straw color, but pine wood that has aged tends to darken to a deep rich tan. Longleaf heart pine is preferred by builders and woodworkers because of its hardness and golden red coloration. Because of the variety and differences in the types of pine wood flooring, it’s very versatile, and you can most likely find one that is perfect for your home.

Think you know enough about hardwood flooring? Think again!

Posted by FurnishMyWay, LLC on Thursday, May 26, 2016
Hardwood Flooring Parquet Pine Floors in Rustic Style Living Room

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Walnut: Walnut like oak has many different species. Walnut usually has fine and straight graining and rich coloring, almost chocolate brown. Homeowners like the deep, natural color of walnut flooring and the warmth it adds to a room. If you're looking for dark hardwood floors, walnut may be the wood for you! I love how deep and dark this wood is. If I was to add wooden floors to my home, I might go with a walnut. It’s just beautiful to me. I love the rich chocolate color of the wood. It would look great with both light and dark colored furniture!

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Hardwood Flooring Walnut Floors in Living Dining Area with Indoor Trees

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So, what’s your favorite hardwood flooring? Comment and let us know! Please feel free to share this post with other hardwood and interior design lovers!

**Featured image via Houzz