Wood flooring trends for 2021 combine traditional styles with many new styles, designs, and colors. Naturally beautiful, comfortable, and affordable hardwood floors continue to reign as an upper floor option.

Real hardwood floors date back to the 17th century and have always been associated with homes with class and elegance. The last decades, are renewable and are in demand at all price levels in the housing market.

For years, red oak and pine were the staples of this market, but the wood flooring trends in 2021 are introducing fabulous new species that continue to make real hardwood the number one choice among homeowners. And for good reason.

  • Hardwood floors create a warm atmosphere throughout the home.
  • Real wood makes an impression in any home.
  • Hardwood offers more value when it sells.

Unlike trendy flooring options like rolled linoleum and high pile rugs, hardwood flooring is a classic that will stand the test of time.

The benefits of natural hardwood

Look and feel

The number one reason to buy new hardwood floors in 2021 is appearance. A beautiful wooden floor invites you into the living room and gives you the feeling that nature has joined you at home. Today’s hardwood floors come in many different species, grain patterns, and textures that allow you to express your individual style and taste like never before.

Easy to care for and maintain

Most people lead busy lives and are always looking for ways to make homeownership easier and less stressful. Wood floors are easy to clean and maintain. Regular sweeping will remove dirt, dust, and pet hair and leave your floor looking new. An occasional wet mop can be used for those spills or sticky areas, but that is usually all that is needed.

Most hardwood floors have multiple layers of the clear coat applied that will provide years of protection against foot traffic and the daily wear and tear of family life. Unlike carpets, hardwood does not hide dust mites or any other unwanted environmental pests.

Increase resale value

Homebuyers prefer hardwood floors. In some neighborhoods, they’re a must-have, but regardless of what market you’re trying to reach when selling, wood flooring will give you an excellent return on investment over any other floor covering, often up to 10% above your cost. It is a wise investment. Hardwood flooring is associated with high value, and potential customers are more likely to buy when the perceived value of their purchase is greater than what they are asked to pay.

Complement any interior design

Hardwood floors are versatile to suit any design theme. It will not collide with your wall coverings, furniture, accents, or any other item in your home. The unique look of real wood flooring eliminates the repeating pattern that is evident in much wood-look vinyl and ceramic offerings. This is due to the natural swirling grain inherent in wood that cannot be reproduced in a factory setting due to manufacturing limitations. Its natural beauty adds character and makes the rest of your interior design stand out.

Lasts for years

Hardwood floors are scratch, scuff, and dent-resistant and, if properly cared for, can last fifty years or more. Some hardwood floors can be renovated more than once, allowing you to give your floor a new life every 7 to 10 years, an advantage not available with any other flooring option. Many older homes have removed their rugs only to find a beautiful hardwood floor hidden under the rug that just needs a finish to give it a new life.

Popular Flooring Trends 2021

1. Wire Brushed Hardwood

wire brushed hemlock

As the name implies, this type of flooring is finished by scraping the surface with a wire brush. A weathered look is achieved as the softer parts of the wood are removed and the heart grain becomes more apparent. It may appear to ruin the surface, but the opposite is the case. It adds a slightly grainy feel that many find more natural to walk on than the typically smooth, high-gloss finish and helps hide any occasional scratches or dents that occur. It’s a good mid-road option between a super-worn look and a high-gloss finish.

2. Light brown

Light brown

Brown has long been a favorite color for hardwood floors, but with some experts predicting a move toward lighter shades for hardwood floors in 2021, light brown is becoming a more popular alternative. This color is considered by some to have a more European look and is a great color base for contracting wall colors throughout the home. Lighter colors tend to hide scratches and blemishes better than dark ones, but choosing a light brown will give you the option to darken your floor and still hide scuff marks.

3. White oak

White oak

Oak is considered an extremely durable floor covering and white oak has a smooth, compact grain that blends well with many modern decors. No hardwood floor is waterproof, but white oak is more impervious to moisture than red oak. Oak is not really white, but it can be stained to produce a very light floor and can also be finished to almost black. This makes it a very versatile floor covering.

4. Dark hardwoods

There is a move towards lighter colors for hardwood floors in 2021, but in some areas of the country, dark hardwoods are still very popular, especially in the northern states. The dark wood goes well with most decorations but is preferred in rustic and traditional schemes, such as a modern farmhouse look. Dark bamboo floors with their different textures are becoming more and more popular. The trick is to make a dark floor the accent rather than the focal point. Decorate in such a way that your eyes are directed toward the walls and furniture rather than the floor.

5. Smoked wood

Smoked wood

Smoking is a process of coloring wood by placing it in a vat and hitting it with ammonia vapor to bring the natural tannins or stains to the surface of the wood. The more tannins that come into contact with the ammonia, the darker the wood will be. This technique adds hues and shadows to any treated wood that cannot be duplicated with other methods, and in fact, two pieces of wood treated in this way will not look the same.

6. Distressed styles

Distressed styles

Face it, most of us don’t have the time or ability to find a 100-year-old barn, tear it down, and finish the flooring. Aged hardwood floors are typically manufactured today and are not the result of aging and weathering. However, the look you get out of the box replicates the aging process. Holes and scratches and the raised grain appearance give the illusion that your floors were used in a 17th-century forge mill and then renovated just for your home. Aged wood gives a more rustic appearance than wire-brushed or hand-scraped floors.

7. Herringbone and chevron patterns

Herringbone and chevron patterns

Both are very popular patterns and the main difference is in the way the end of each board is cut. The herringbone pattern ends with a 90-degree cut, while the chevron pattern has an angled end. Both of these patterns began in the era of parquet flooring when wood tiles were popular, but today’s herringbone and chevron patterns can be styled with any wood floorboard. Some designers like patterns because they give the illusion that the room is larger than it is.

8. High variation styles

High variation styles

This look is a favorite in 2021, giving your flooring a more natural look as there are multiple colors and plank widths in the same design. Colors vary but appear to come from the same tree and give the impression that a custom design was created just for you.

9. Wider planks

Wider planks

These planks are the chameleon of hardwood floors. In smaller spaces, they offer a more open feel and in larger rooms, the look becomes more rustic. Normal hardwood floors will measure 2 to 4 inches wide, while wide planks will average 5 to 12 inches.

10. Higher quality engineered hardwood options

Higher quality engineered hardwood options

Contrary to popular opinion, hardwood floors were not developed to provide homeowners with a cheaper version of real hardwood. They were developed to overcome some of the problems associated with solid wood floors. Hardwood floors are constructed with layers of solid wood and are manufactured by laying each level with its grain opposite the one above it. This makes the product more stable and stronger than solid wood and the top layer is the actual species of wood you are buying.

11. Hand-scraped textures

Hand-scraped textures

These hardwood floor planks have a rough surface that curls slightly and looks like it was finished by hand with an antique wood scraper. It is ideal for the homeowner who wants a rustic look, but can also be a nice contrast when paired with modern decorations.