Design Trends and Inspiration
When shopping for new floors, one of the first ways to narrow down your search is to ask yourself if you want your floors to be light or dark. Maybe you think dark floors would make your space feel too small. Or maybe you’re worried that you’d spend all your time cleaning your light floors, to keep them looking brand-new. Whatever you might think you know about light and dark floors, it’s probably only scratching the surface. We’ll take you through all the factors that you should consider when deliberating light or dark floors.
First, you may not know as much about floors as your local Flooring America expert, but your initial preference is probably a good place to start. Think about interior designs trends that you are repeatedly drawn to, and that will give you a good idea of your own taste in floors. Next, look at the existing style of your home. While new floors are one of the higher home improvement costs, if you don’t have room in the budget to update the rest of your space, it might be a good idea to choose a floor that works well with the other elements already there.
The good thing about light floors is that they go with almost any aesthetic, bring airiness to a space, and match easily with other shades when choosing wall colors and furniture. Dark floors work with a more dramatic style, adding sophistication, coziness and contrast for other bright décor elements to pop.
The next step is to evaluate how much light there is in the space where you will be updating the floors. If it’s naturally darker, fewer windows to let in light, then lighter floors may help brighten up your space. If the room is already naturally bright, you may have an opportunity to choose a more striking dark floor. Most people believe dark floors make a room look smaller, and light floors make a room look bigger. That is true to some degree, but since there’s more wall space in each room than floor space, wall color has a great impact on the overall look of the room size-wise. In general, dark floors are better suited for larger rooms and open floor plans.
Another seemingly unrelated factor to consider is how often you clean your floors. Light floors can hide small flaws, dirt, and debris, but anything larger will be very noticeable. Dark floors, on the other hand, can require less maintenance since dirt tends to blend in more –but keep in mind they will still need to be swept often as dust and pet hair shows up easily on dark floors. So, consider your personal cleaning habits when deciding between light and dark floors.
If you are a pet parent, keep in mind that scratches are less apparent on light floors, but if your pet has dark fur, it will be more apparent on light floors. There are always scratch-resistant flooring options that you could install for a dark floor that is four-legged-friendly.
Still not sure whether light or dark floors are right for your home? Try Flooring America’s simple My Floor Style tool to easily preview how light and dark floors will look in your room. You’ll get an accurate visualization of any beautiful floor you want, right in your own home with no surprises.
Interior design by SARA BEDERMAN DESIGN | Photography by STEPHANI BUCHMAN
Q: What were the needs of your clients, and how did you consider them when designing this space?
A: Our client needed a comfortable urban home that was uncomplicated in design. The furniture needed to be luxurious but not fancy, comfortable but still neat and tidy. Everything we designed and specified was chosen based on these criteria.
Q: The family room has a lot of clean, contemporary lines mixed with comfortable furniture. Talk to us a little bit about how you chose these softer textures, low-slung couches and mixed cool gray tones to tie together the space.
A: Our client wanted a large sofa to fill the awkward shape of the family room. Both the homeowner and his children are quite tall, so a deep, large sofa was what made sense for their lifestyle. We created warmth and welcome in the space through different textures in shades of gray. This palette creates a calming environment perfect for relaxing in after a long busy day.
Q: The dark hardwood floors installed throughout the home are gorgeous—how did you choose this style of wood flooring? Do you feel it inspired any other elements in the house?
A: Wood is one of my favorite materials to use on floors, cabinetry, and furniture. We try to throw it in whenever we can. The stain of the hardwood was custom mixed to give a deep brown, almost gray, tone to complement the gray upholstered pieces in the home.
Q: The living room is stunning from the minimalist gray stone fireplace down to the unique floor lamps. How did you decide what elements to draw from when it came to decoration?
A: The fireplace was definitely the feature and the anchor of the space. It acts as a beautiful sight line in the home, and we used the upholstered furniture in the living room to soften the contemporary simplicity of the fireplace design. We kept fabrics quite monochromatic, working mostly with texture rather than pattern and contrast or color pops.
Q: We love how personalized and yet elevated the boy’s bedroom turned out. How did you go about designing the kid’s room to find a balance of playful aspects and materials that can function as they grow older?
A: Designing for the future is key in children’s bedrooms. Finding furniture that can grow with a child is so important. We added decor items that reflect some of the kids’ passions and kept the furniture age-appropriate with a little extra sophistication to last through the years ahead.
Q: There’s a lot of baseball paraphernalia scattered throughout the house. What was the inspiration behind the client’s baseball-themed home office?
A: The client is very passionate about baseball and wanted to highlight his favorite baseball memorabilia.
Q: What are some things to keep in mind when designing entryways to create a functional family mudroom?
A: Storage and surfaces are essential elements in a mudroom. Somewhere to put things away as well as a surface to put stuff down are always elements we include in a mudroom. A quick coat hook is also a very useful feature. We like to keep all the practical needs of a mudroom in the design and then elevate the space with great decor and fabrics when possible. We love a sophisticated mudroom.
Q: How do you approach designing a home gym when you’re working with limited space?
A: We really work within the available footprint and plan a reasonable amount of equipment based on the size of the space. It does not make sense to include more equipment than can fit without ample space to circulate in the gym. A hard-surface flooring solution and lots of mirror panels are key elements in every gym we design. Space to move around is something we pay close attention to as well. A gym should not feel cramped, if at all possible.
Q: We love the use of incorporating storage into the wall space in the bedroom. How did you work with the slanted ceiling in here to create more space?
A: This bedroom did not have a pretty or functional closet solution, so we decided to demo the closet and replace it with a beautiful millwork concept full of storage space. The angled ceiling was very challenging to work with when planning the concept, but working through complex space planning is one of our favorite design challenges. We get excited to problem solve!
Q: This walk-in closet has beautiful built-in cabinets and is the ideal accompaniment to any master suite. Was there originally a closet here, or was this on the client’s must-have list?
A: This was an existing walk-in closet that we redesigned and refinished. The cabinetry has a beautiful wood grain finish that adds texture and masculinity to the principal suite.
Read more about home trends and designer inspiration from our fall issue of the Design at Home magazine.
Fall into autumn with a samba sandstone color palette of inspired designs from bronze light fixtures built to brighten the dark of the year soft velvet couches and chairs in warm cinnamon tones that are perfect for curling up with a mug of hot apple cider. When you think fall, you might think of pumpkin-spiced lattes, warm fireplace mantels, changing leaves, and sweet apple pie —but what is one thing that all of these have in common? Their muted orange to soft beige-brown hues.
Cotton Viscose Camel Curtain Panel by CB2; Couture Rug PR130 Beige by Nourison; Vishnu Stripe Pillows Set of 2 by Scout & Nimble; Camel 2165-10 by Benjamin Moore; Tartufo Coco Shell Chandelier by Currey & Company; 52044 Current Wallpaper by JF Fabrics; Etta Chair in Winchester Beige by Scout & Nimble; Newberry Glazed Porcelain Tile by Emser Tile
As we approach the winter season and the days get shorter, we lose a lot of natural light which can often make us feel a little stir crazy. One way to maximize your productivity and boost your mood is by bringing natural color palettes indoors. Thanks to our latest issue of the Design at Home magazine, we aim to do just that with this season’s coveted color: samba sandstone.
Incorporate Beige-Toned Tile Designs
Newberry Cotto Glazed Porcelain by Emser Tile
Install beige-toned tiles as backsplashes, accent walls, and flooring throughout your home. Updating bathroom and kitchen sink backsplashes with earth-toned ceramic or glazed porcelain tiles are a beautiful way to spruce up your home design. Plus, these warm brown-hues pair well with kitchen and bathroom hardware in bronze, gold, and copper finishes. This glazed porcelain tile by Emser blends contemporary design with old-world charm with its brick-fired appearance. Although the tile is available in multiple shapes and sizes, for a fun modern design, opt for the 10” by 11” hexagon in Newberry Cotto.
Use Soft Beige-Brown Fabrics
Roller shades by Graber
Select drapery, accent pillows, throws, rugs, and furniture in soft sandy brown colors to create warmth this season. Whether you choose a new set of brown velvet pillows for the living room or a soft camel-colored leather chair for the bedroom reading nook, these samba shades are sure to warm up your room. Window treatments are always a great place to start when it comes to updating your home for the winter —swap out light drapes for heavier curtains and roller shades to keep your home insulated during the cold months.
Install Samba Colored Floors
Dumont White Oak Natural by Mullican
Maybe you’re hoping to update the carpet in your bedroom or want to install a new hardwood floor throughout the whole first level —regardless of the flooring, a samba sandstone color palette is the perfect place to draw inspiration from. Because it pulls from neutral shades of brown and beige, these floors will be easy to match with any decor theme or design style you choose. Instantly elevate your home design with beautiful new white oak floors in a sandy-blonde finish.
If you’re not ready for a complete floor renovation, just update your area rugs and throw rugs. These are easy to swap out with the changing season and this adorable beige couture rug by Nourison is the perfect way to tie in warm Scandinavian design elements.
As always, if you’re still struggling to find the perfect shade of floors for your home or want more design advice, consult the experts at your local Flooring America. Looking for more interior design and seasonal inspiration? Check out the fall issue of our Design at Home Magazine.
A beautiful architectural staple of the holiday season, fireplace mantels have a multitude of uses. Not only are they great for gathering around the fire when the weather is cold, but they also make for stunning decor focal points!
Sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book is a favorite chilly weather pastime for many. Most people assume that to relax and unwind, you need a large fireplace or a wood-burning stove to congregate around, but modern-day mantelpieces make this unnecessary. With the right tools, you can easily recreate this traditional holiday scene with a simple mantel.
One of the best parts of incorporating a mantelpiece into your home design is that you can restyle it based on the season. Trade winter wreaths and candles for fresh flowers and books in the summer, or place a gourd alongside some dried pampas grass in the fall. Styling your mantel is easier than you think, especially once you’ve figured out how to balance your larger pieces with natural elements to create a blend of visual interest. Follow these seven simple steps, and before you know it, you’ll have the coveted mantel of your dreams.
1. Find an Anchor Piece
Valley Drive Plus by Hearth & Home in Wood Ash
Showcase a large figurine, wreath, or mirror as a focal point to draw eyes toward your mantel. Finding an anchor piece isn’t always a simple task because this sets the tone for the rest of your mantelpiece. For instance, if you choose a simple blue vase as your focal point, you’re setting the tone for a minimal and elevated style, whereas if you choose a large garland, you’re creating a more traditional holiday-themed mantel. Whichever style you end up choosing, make sure that the other decor items match the focal point in color, texture, or shape.
When looking for an anchor, keep in mind the size of your mantel. You don’t want to overwhelm the space with only one item. It is better to err on the side of caution and keep things simple by sticking to the rule of two-thirds: your main piece shouldn’t take up more than two-thirds of the mantel, so that you have a visually balanced mantel scene.
2. Add Height
L’Amour White Cut Polished Tile by Emser
Use taller items, like a gold pedestal stand or candlesticks, to add height and give your mantel visual interest. These design details add exciting shapes and textures with their varying levels to create a space that has depth and fluid movement.
Start with width and play with height based on your ceilings. If you have taller ceilings, opt for taller figurines, candles, and statement pieces, but be sure to balance these objects out with wider pieces. With lower ceilings, keep decor items long and horizontal.
Elevate smaller decor items by placing them on top of a stack of books or a box so that the small object layers nicely in front of the larger statement pieces like mirrors, paintings, and art.
3. Use Natural Materials
Add a living element to your space. This could be pinecones, dried flowers, tree branches, or whatever you might find outside your door that you admire. Adding living elements reduces the risk of your mantel feeling too static or stiff. These items also break up the structure of the solid pieces on your fireplace by making it look more personal and breathable. With just a touch of greenery or a dried floral arrangement, your mantel can come to life.
Take the natural details one step further and install a hardwood floor or a stone tile inlay near your mantel. The natural warmth of hardwood exudes coziness with its timeless style and will lend a bit of tradition to your mantel. If you’re looking to personalize the area around your fireplace, wood inlays and mosaic tiles are a great way to do this. Who doesn’t love a unique tile mosaic? And with parquet flooring on the rise, now’s a great time to install hardwood floors with a border of stack bonds or herringbone patterns in your living space. From basket weave to Chantilly, there are endless options to get creative with your wood inlay.
4. Layer in Warm Textures
Nourison Essentials Navy Blue Area Rug
Give your space more dimension by clustering objects together to create a layered effect. There are several easy ways to do this: greenery, staggered figurines, and varying height levels of items. Place your most significant piece as the background portrait for your mantel, and let smaller items shine at the forefront. Don’t forget to use the base of the fireplace by adding in items like a basket of pillows or a box of stacked wood.
Place an area rug in front of the mantel to give the room a snug feel. Many older wood-burning fireplaces have granite or brick hearths extending in front of the stove; however, most modern fireplaces do not. This is where a simple area rug can substitute as a decor (and safety) element. Wool area rugs are perfect when it comes to durability and style because these can protect your hardwood floors and carpeted areas from scratches and debris, as well as dust in the case of a functioning wood stove. Dress up your mantel with a beautiful area rug in a pattern and pile height that suits your design needs.
5. Don’t Overcrowd the Space
Design by MICHELLE BERWICK Photography by LARRY ARNAL
Keep it simple. Depending on the size of your mantel, you typically only need three to five items to rest directly on the mantel. One of the biggest mistakes people make when decorating their mantel is overcrowding. Sometimes, it’s hard to pare down your most treasured seasonal items, but this is necessary to create a beautiful display. A good rule of thumb is to place large decorative pieces toward the middle of the mantel with smaller items flanking them on either side.
6. Find Balanced Asymmetry
Design by LOUIS DUNCAN-HE DESIGNS
You don’t need everything to be “just so”—in this instance, perfection isn’t always better! Unmatching your mantel is key to creating a dynamic focal point that adds to the texture and style of the overall room.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t position objects on either side of your mantelpiece. In fact, we encourage you to utilize the space by flanking either side of the mantel with a lantern or a small basket for blankets or kindling. Asymmetry provides a sense of comfort and gives your home a lived-in feel.
Consider balanced visual weight because you don’t want one side of the mantel to appear heavier than the other. Do this by grouping objects in odd numbers with smaller items on one side and a few larger pieces on the other.
7. Top it Off with a Personal Touch
Throw in a statement piece that means something to you. Displaying sentimental pieces adds warmth to your space. Your mantel doesn’t just have to be the traditional garland, stocking, and twinkle lights you find in the holiday season.
Take time to consider which objects are most meaningful to you—perhaps you have an old piece of art you bought while traveling or an heirloom ceramic vase from your grandmother that you’ve never found a proper place to display. Use this space as a tribute to the items that bring you joy and comfort. You’d be surprised at how well things can come together with the right arrangement and some added greenery.
The look of white oak exudes class, sophistication, and simplistic charm that fits nearly every type of interior design style. As one of the most popular flooring looks this year, it has certainly earned its right to be featured in a number of stunning homes. Rightly so, as it’s one of the elements that has, in fact, helped to make these homes so beautiful.
Molina Sliced White Oak hardwood by Floorcraft Heritage
Whether showcased in a large, rustic great room surrounded by tall ceilings or a craftsman home full of old-school charm, there’s no end to the undoubtedly amazing beauty of wood and wood look flooring, especially when it’s the white oak look. So what makes white oak the top trending look, why is it so popular, and how can you get the look in your home?
To get a better understanding of the white oak look and why it’s become a top contender in today’s trending flooring, it’s crucial to learn about white oak products, their versatility, organic appearance, and many stains and finishes, as well as the enduring features of flooring that feature the white oak look.
WHITE OAK – HARDWOOD OR LUXURY VINYL?
Mount Vista Callatin luxury vinyl by Downs H2O
One unique aspect of the white oak hardwood look is that it is multifaceted and can be found in both genuine hardwood products and luxury vinyl wood look flooring products. Determining what is the best for your home will greatly depend on your lifestyle, your desired maintenance regimen, the color you want, and your budget. While genuine hardwood has many advantages, wood look luxury vinyl also offers unique features and an appearance that is nearly identical to genuine wood flooring.
Coventry Oak in Crewel hardwood by Floorcraft
No matter your specific lifestyle factors, both solid white oak flooring and wood look vinyl are excellent choices for creating a timeless, beautiful style in your home that is not only adaptable, but also long-lasting, unique, and trendy.
ADAPTABILITY AND VERSATILITY IN DESIGN
When looking at white oak flooring in any home, there’s no doubt that it has a great mix of old-world visuals and modern touches that allow it to steal the spotlight. Its ability to take center stage as the focal point without being too loud, no matter the interior design style—makes it an incredibly adaptable and versatile flooring option. Whether you are working toward an antique farmhouse look, a warm industrial-chic look, or making a home feel sleek and composed with simple elements, the white oak flooring look fits basically any mold.
Amur Oak in Amalfi by Downs hardwood
When it comes to adaptability and versatility, both genuine white oak flooring and wood look flooring are not just ideal for today’s current trending looks, they’re equally important in a flooring investment because they stand the test of time in both style and durability. And the white oak look has proven time and time again that its natural visuals are here to stay. While trending décor and furniture can always be changed, flooring is one thing that’s a lot more permanent. That’s why white oak floors are an excellent choice—they offer a canvas that’s perfect for creating a custom interior design that speaks to your personality throughout the evolving trends.
While each style and species of hardwood has its own unique character, including specific graining, tones, and hardness levels, one thing that makes white oak special is its raw wood appearance and straight graining. Classically chic and elegant, hardwood has always been a great flooring option for adding raw warmth to any space. And because white oak is a natural wood material, there’s no denying that white oak hardwood will be able to provide that warmth. Let’s dive deeper into its graining and natural characteristics.
Mount Vista Inspire in Bay luxury vinyl by Downs H2O
White oak hardwood has a smooth, coarse grain, meaning that it has a less dramatic appearance when compared to other hardwood options. These grains run in a vertical direction and draw the eye across planks and, in some cases, even make rooms look and feel larger. This is one of the many reasons white oak’s popularity has risen so quickly—the smooth graining makes white oak floors look modern and polished while still offering the perfect amount of natural material and character to any space.
When it comes to tone and color, white oak naturally has a golden-yellow tone, rather than a brown hue. Its honey-amber color is incredible on its own, and when paired with a light sheen, it stands alone beautifully. However, there is also a variety of attractive stain and finish options available that are equally as impressive to the eye. If your design style skews more upscale or you simply enjoy a high-gloss hardwood finish, these options may be for you.
WHITE OAK STAINS AND FINISHES
Along with the refined beauty that white oak brings in its natural state, there are many finishes that make it available in even more colors, tones, and styles. Because white oak is a wood that offers a naturally smooth, modern look, it can be manipulated with stain to take on almost any color available.
From rich, dark brown shades of stain that will enhance its straight graining and mineral streaks to a light-toned, weathered stain that brings out the pure beauty of the wood, white oak flooring does a great job of showcasing stain colors.
Amur Oak in Verona by Downs hardwood
Not only does white oak take on any color stain and look great in any stain, it is also available in several finish sheens as well. Today, a matte finish on white oak floors gives a casual, modern appearance, which is perfect for creating a simple look for any family home. Glossier wood finishes can also be found and offer a more traditional or high-end look that’s perfect for traditionally styled living rooms adorned with vintage antiques and custom fireplaces. No matter the stain or the finish, there’s bound to be a white oak style that suits your home’s looks and needs.
Not only does the white oak look dazzle with its high-quality and timeless appearance, it also impresses with its many appreciated features that satisfy a variety of home needs. Whether you opt for wood look luxury vinyl or genuine white oak hardwood flooring, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your flooring offers easy cleanup for dirt and debris. Families with children and busy lifestyles will appreciate the ease of maintenance and ability to handle all kinds of lifestyle situations that come with hard surface flooring.
Amur Oak in Genoa by Downs hardwood
But the features don’t stop there. Waterproof floors have changed the world of flooring. This, in turn, has caused a significant rise in flooring that looks like wood but also offers water-resistance and incredible durability. For example, some styles of wood look luxury vinyl are waterproof or water resistant, and because these products offer water resistance, you won’t have to worry about messes from the inside or the exterior elements. Plus, you’ll be able to choose a uniform flooring throughout to unite the interior design of your home in your entryway, kitchen, bedroom, laundry room, and other spaces.
If you instead decide to opt for genuine white oak hardwood floors, you may not get water resistance, but you’ll get the benefit of their long-lasting nature. Once installed, these floors are sure to last when taken care of properly. In some cases, after many years of use they can even be sanded and stained to bring them back to life depending on the age and hardwood product.
WHITE OAK HARDWOOD IN YOUR HOME
To get the white oak look in your home, opt for either solid or engineered hardwood flooring in the white oak species, or choose to go with a white oak wood look vinyl. It’s easy to identify the wood look, but what may not be as simple is choosing from the many stains and finishes available! Gray, hints of red, deep browns, and natural finishes offer a variety of unique tones, and determining what’s best for your space can be one of the toughest choices you have to make.
Mount Vista Premiere in Cache luxury vinyl by Downs H2O
Will you opt for a character-filled genuine hardwood look with knots and a natural-looking finish, or instead go for a clean, modern vibe that offers you the chance to choose décor and linens that complement it flawlessly? No matter what you decide in the end, the white oak flooring look is sure to be a hit not only in its appearance, but also in its longevity!
When planning your spa-inspired bathroom, it helps to start from the ground up. The material, texture, and design of your floor can set the tone for the rest of your spa décor. We’ll look at the best flooring materials, designs, and some additional considerations for your spa bathroom ideas.
Worry-Free Ceramic Tile
Sparkle Linear White Ceramic by Emser Tile
Quite possibly, the most common spa flooring material is ceramic tile. Even in ancient Rome, they had rich stone tiles lining their baths. All types of tile are incredibly durable and built to take rough wear for years, but ceramic tile is the best choice for bathrooms because it is more moisture-resistant than other types of tile. No matter how serene your bathroom is, your floor will still need to stand up to high humidity and constant water splashes. Ceramic tile’s toughness also makes it easy to clean. Since it’s stain-resistant, you can scrub it all you want, and the dirt and grime will disappear, but the tile will stay strong.
Warm Wood Floors
Castillian English White Oak by Mullican Hardwood
Another traditional option for a spa-like atmosphere is hardwood flooring. There are obvious pros and cons that come to mind, but hardwood floors are a classic for a reason. Wood floors are a traditionally natural material, which helps put people at ease, making them the perfect floor for a calming spa environment. Plus, they are warmer and more comforting than almost any other bathroom flooring option. But with all the benefits of hardwood floors, you’re going to need a sealer that is up to the task. Your home spa will expose wood floors to all kinds of spills, splashes, moisture, and humidity, which, if unattended to, will cause warping and cracking and greatly diminish the life of your floors.
If you’re hesitant to go with ceramic tile or hardwood for your spa, consider other ways to work natural materials into your space. Not only will natural materials add warmth, but they also dampen sound, helping you get as relaxed as possible in your own home. Check out floor mats, vanities, shelves, and cabinets as other ways to include these materials.
Alternative Spa Materials
When it comes to spa flooring materials, there are still more options outside of natural ones. Cement is a popular choice due to its durability, stripped-down aesthetic, and low cost. The simplicity of a cement floor can be felt all through your spa experience. The biggest drawback to cement is that it is unforgiving. Drop anything delicate, and it’s likely to break. Plus, your joints will take more of a beating if you’re walking on it constantly.
Coretec luxury vinyl
Vinyl flooring has become a very popular choice for bathrooms because it can dampen sound, it’s inexpensive, and maintenance is incredibly easy since it’s waterproof. Plus, vinyl flooring comes in all different patterns and designs to bring some intrigue into your spa. Geometric patterns on your floors will illicit sophistication without looking too flashy, making it the perfect place to relax.
When choosing your flooring material, you should also consider the part that color will play in making your shower room serene. Typically, spas are meant to feel immaculate and bright, so often, they are white or off-white. But don’t be afraid of a little more color. There are plenty of soft, muted colors that can still fit the tranquil environment you’re going for. Stay away from colors and pairings that might be bold and energizing. Instead, opt for warm neutrals like creams, grays, and beiges, paired with colors found in nature like soft blues and green accents to add some visual appeal.
Marble Attache Calacatta Hex Mosaic by Daltile
If all else fails and your space is still feeling too bare, try adding a rug. Not only will it help keep your bare feet off a cold floor in the morning, but it will also add a pop of color and coziness. Make sure that it’s stain-resistant, water-repellent, and machine washable to avoid mold and bacteria growth. And don’t just stop at rugs—you can add all kinds of different materials through décor using marble, wood, wool, and metal, to create a sense of Zen.
If you have any questions about choosing new floors for your spa safe haven, as always you can count on your local Flooring America experts to provide knowledgeable advice for all your flooring projects.