How do you feel about your hardwoods?

Hello friends!

One of the projects on my 2012 house plans list is getting hardwood floors in our great room, and I’m excited to report that someone is coming out to measure this Wednesday.  Given my OCD mentality on projects like this, I feel the need to browse the web and pin like a madwoman do extensive research before making such a permanent decision.  Not only do I have to make a decision about the kind of hardwood floors I want, but there is also the issue of how to deal with multiple floor surfaces in the space as a whole. 

Let me explain.  When you walk in our front door, you’re greeted with some wonderful travertine tile.  Even though I typically prefer hardwood to tile in general, I love this tile.  Why?  Because the dirt is hidden better than someone in the Witness Protection Program.  And with three kids and a dog, it’s a mom’s best friend.

However, as you can see, the “line” between the tile and the carpet is right at the entry, and even though I know it would look beautiful if the whole space was done in hardwood, it’s not gonna happen.  The tile carries through the dining room, kitchen, breakfast room, powder room and laundry room.  So, given that 1) it’s a nice, high quality tile, and 2) I like it – tearing it out just seems wrong on a lot of levels.  Not to mention that I’m guessing it would cost a small fortune to do so.

Then we have Problem Surface #2.  My husband’s office has hardwood floors already, however, they’re not what I’m looking to add to the great room.  They’re narrow planks, and the sheen on the floor is too shiny and shows every little smudge.  I’m envisioning wide plank floors in a darker stain with a satin finish. 

Here are the (prefinished) samples I’m currently looking at:

I really like the second one from the left.  It’s a really rich looking color, without being too terribly dark.   Like I said, we want wider planks, but you get the idea.

Here it is next to the breakfast bar in my kitchen (where the tile continues).  So hard to envision it and make decisions with such itty bitty samples.

And then there’s the proximity issue:

Yes, the hardwoods bump up against the carpet that we’re replacing, and I’m picturing mismatched floors in my mind already, and how it would drive. me. crazy.

Having one area of (justfied) mismatched flooring is one thing, but two?  It’s giving me a smidge of anxiety.

Especially when I look to my inspiration photos with expansive and contiguous hardwood floors…

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest
Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

Has anyone else had this issue?  This doesn’t even address all of the options out there in terms of choices in hardwoods.  Right now I’m debating prefinished solid hardwoods or staining them on site.  I just don’t know if I could deal with all of the issues, mess and inconvenience involved in getting them stained on site.  Although if I had them stained on site, I could potentially sand down and refinish the office floors to more closely match the new floors.

I’m thinking I may just have to get an estimate for replacing the office floors as well, just in case.

Would love to hear your experience and expertise on this matter.  How do you feel about your hardwoods?


  • Reply
    Trista Ingrodi
    April 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I love hardwood! I would go with the wide plank and something that will blend with your existing wood. I didn't have the option when picking my upgrades in my current house. You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the wide plank at the flooring center to pick out my colors. I did get wood on the entire main level, but I don't have a dog. I would also get something a little distressed, so when the wood floor does get scratched it will blend in. Your going to love it!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Can you maybe refinsh the office floor in the same stain to blend with the new floor you choose? I'm just finishing up with building our dream home and love my continuous wood floors, but half the living room is ripped out right now due to the builder shooting a nail through the main water line feeding half of the house therefore flooding my beautiful wood floor!

    • Reply
      April 26, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I'm definitely going to price out that option. We'll see what works best without breaking the bank!

      I think I would be sick seeing my new hardwoods flooded! At least it's pre-move in, right?

  • Reply
    Jean @ Flower Hill
    April 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I love the sample you chose also! I have hardwood floors and placed them throughout my home to have a continuous feel, but they are much more difficult to maintain than tile. There are areas I wish I hadn't placed the hardwood. I definitely would leave the tile at the main door. As far as matching your husbands office, that would be an issue for me too. Not sure how to resolve that other than to replace those also. Sorry. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    We're in the process of building a new home. We're doing hardwoods the main floor except in the mudroom. We went back and forth on what type to do. We decided on the prefinished ones after talking with the flooring guy. We also have 3 kids and a dog and he said the finished on them last longer than the ones stained onsite. We're going with Anderson wood flooring in a dark wide plank. It has a hard scraped finished.

  • Reply
    Andrea @ Decorating Cents
    April 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    I love the sample you chose. I like dark but not too dark. I say go with the pre-finished. It may be too much of a pain since you do have a family and real life to deal with if you were going to have them finished on site. If it was in the budget I would say change the floor in the office too. I think it may look a little funny to have 2 woods next to each other. The tile next to the hardwoods would look ok though.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Of the 4 options you have a photo of, I selected the same plank as you. Mismatched woods bother me too; and I would most likely opt to replace the office flooring to match the wood you will be installing. Even different sized planks w/the same stain would eat at me every time I passed the connecting line.

    The carpet cleaning service we use talked me out of replacing our family room carpet; but I was just sitting in there earlier today with the lack of "floor peace" still brewing.

  • Reply
    Lisa Glowacka
    April 23, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    We have hardwood floors that look pretty similar to the one you said is your "favorite." I have a love hate relationship with them! They are in our kitchen/eat in area/family room and underneath our kitchen table is not ideal but it makes the room feel warmer then if it were tile. I like the suggestion of seeing if you can get your exisiting floors refinished to match or go with the unstained and then have all of the stained at the same time! Good luck-I'm sure it will be gorgeous!!!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    You have some great ideas for research. Getting a quote to replace the office, or refinish the office are great ideas. If they fall within budget, do it… you know, if you don't you will always wished you had.

    But if it falls outside of the budget, how about putting a wide threshhold, like a piece of marble instead of butting the two surfaces against each other?

  • Reply
    Budget Design Girl
    April 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    You chose my favorite of the four samples, and it's very similar to the one I am currently considering for our house.

    I have the almost exact same situation, except that I have 24 inch travertine that is MUCH lighter. It was put in when the house was built (not my us) 15 years ago, and I can not STAND the way it is wearing! It may be that mine is a lighter color, but I feel like I can't keep it clean no matter how I try. I think that the dirt soaks right into the stone. UGH! Not to mention that all of the porous areas in the stone have the standard fill, which given enough time will pop out, and you are left with little holes.

    I want to jack hammer the stuff OUT! It is in my entire downstairs, except the living room, dinning room, and one bedroom are carpet. Looking similar to how yours meet. My plan is to intall hardwood in the entire downstairs space except the guest room. (re-carpet that) This will include the entry, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, hallway, and laundry room. I know…$$$ Cha-ching! :-P~

    I'm sure it will cost a fair amount for your hardwoods already, but if I were you, I would go ahead and spend the extra $ to do your hubby's office. If you are anything like me, and I think you are, it will drive you INSANE later if you have different floors!

    Sorry this was so long! I will be looking forward to seeing what you do. Good luck!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    We did our floors with espresso bamboo. I recommend neither. If I had it to do again, I would choose heart-wood pine in wide planks with lots of color variations and striations. The dark color shows every bit of dirt and the bamboo is soft and scratches easily.

    You can see my floors on my blog at It is called Taylorisms. We have been fixing up a house (that was destroyed by renters) for nearly two years now.

    Ginger Taylor

    • Reply
      Emily Anne
      April 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      Just to offer a different point of view, we also have bamboo (called either chocolate or coffee…can't remember) and love it. It is actually an extremely hard wood (strand woven bamboo = 3000 Janka), but the coating on it can scratch. Ours does not, but i guess the coating must vary with manufacture- we had some previously that did a bit. No pets, but 4 kids. Our color is not overly dark, so not a lot of issue with keeping clean. For our main level we have about 1000 sq ft wood, 1000 sq ft tile. Sometimes i wish we had done 100% wood, but i am ok with the mix.

  • Reply
    Emily @ ACanDoAttitude
    April 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    I have hardwood floor that I had refinished in a dark stain/ My boyfriend has wide, hand scraped planks which I also love. I agree with two most common answers: replace the office if the budget allows or re-stain the office to help it blend.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I love your travertine floor, If I could, and had the money, I would had done that instead of the hardwood floors I currently have, the main reason we went with hardwood, was, because we have kids, and they are pretty clumsy sometimes! I love all the choices you have, but my choice would be to go dark, but again, that is just me, you need to go for the color YOU love! As for the different floor issue, my husband wanted to keep the tile we had in the kitchen when we redid our floors, thank god, I did not let him, because like you, it would had driven me mad. I say, either have the wood stained on site OR, replace the one in the office. You will be happier in the long run. BTW, removing tile is a messy, messy job! You will have dust EVERYWHERE.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 2:31 am

    I agree with Jean about keeping the tile at the front door, especially with a dog and three kiddos! We had hardwood throughout the first floor of our previous home and the entries were much more scratched up that the rest of the house.

    Dark wood will show dirt more than light colors, so you may want to keep that in mind as well.

    Another option to consider to get around the office matching is to go with cork. Our house was SO loud with one child and one dog, I can't imagine having all hardwood with three kids. In my experience, cork is much quieter and so much easier to care for. We have a grayish color cork and I can go weeks without cleaning the floors–not that I ever would, of course! :-)You don't get the dust bunnies like you do with wood. It comes in lots of colors and patterns, so it might be a good possibility for you.

    oh…cork is really durable, but you will want to keep the dog's claws trimmed and avoid wearing stilettos on the floor!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick
    April 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    We did finished on site (I was against it at first for your reasons, but it wasn't bad at all. For such a small space it would be a breeze for you!) and I would have them done that way a million times over. I was all for prefinished at first, but some of my readers convinced me otherwise and I'm so glad they did!!! They hold up GREAT and we did a satin finish so they don't show anything. I am in love. I also planned on scraped, but there can be issues with refinishing those. The real wood has plenty of movement and character to it (for us). Good luck! I know it's a big decision!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I bought pre finished real hardwood, and I'm very happy with it. I would consider (I know it seems wrong but….) tearing out the office hardwood, and continuing your new wide plank into that room. Just get an estimate with and without the office – that may make your mind up for you !

  • Reply
    Lisa Scibilia
    April 25, 2012 at 3:31 am

    My brother installed and refinished hardwood floors for years. The prefinished wood has come so far, and is coated really well at the factory, that is a good option, and you could always have the office separately sanded and restained. If you're having raw wood installed and stained on site it won't be that big of a mess though.
    Oh how I love a dark stain on the floor but can I just tell you that my stairs are the bane of my existence?! And our dog doesn't even go up them – it's us bringing his fur up on our feet. I cannot wait to get a runner; the dark floors show every.tiny.fleck.of.dust. Maybe the medium color woudn't be so bad (it's gorgeous!) but save your sanity and don't go really dark. I'm rethinking my own floors now. Can't wait to see it all done!! Exciting project however it all shakes out!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Van Atta
    April 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    We replaced carpet with hardwood in our dining room, large living room and upstairs hallway 2 years ago and I couldn't be happier. We used Oakwood Flooring out of Cincinnati and they did an amazing job. We have 4 inch wide quarter sawn oak that was sanded and stained on site. The living room meets the marble entry floor in a large S curve. I was really concerned with how an installer would handle this and they did a beautiful job! They shimmed the floor and brought the planks right up to the tile cutting each one to match the curve. They also stripped and stained the existing wood bull nose at the base of the railing upstairs to match the new floor. While we were inconvienenced for a couple weeks it was so worth it!

    One way to handle the mismatch with your office is to stain the new floor to match one of the mid or darker tones in the existing floor. Then you could always strip and stain the old floor to match later if it really bothers you.

    Good Luck!

    • Reply
      April 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Sounds like you hit the jackpot with your installer Mary Ann! So many details to consider here. I think I'm going to price out all of my alternatives and figure out what makes the most sense from both a budget and an aesthetic point of view. 🙂

  • Reply
    April 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Given your house is newer, I think pre-finished floors would look great. Refinishing the office floors in a color to match sounds like a brilliant idea to me. I think it's going to look to look great up against your tile.

  • Reply
    Michael Zhang
    May 9, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Hardwood floors are great options when remodeling your house. It is the easiest approach to giving new life to your house while still making everyone feel at home.

    Hardwood Flooring Long Island NY

  • Reply
    Kendra Dennis
    December 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Like you said, a hardwood floor may not be practical for your home. It easily scratches so you would have to frequently deal with marks, especially given that you have three kids and a dog. I also like the sample you prefer. The dark tone is popular nowadays and I think it's going to balance the bright color of your walls.

    Kendra Dennis @

  • Reply
    Yvette Emard
    February 14, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    I could really use some help. We just bought an awesome farmhouse on 5 acres in a rural area and the floors are slim plank oak wood floors. I hate the slim planks and I am also no fan of oak either. We are doing a major remodel on the whole house and my budget will not allow all new wood floors for a 3,000 sq. ft. house (about 2,000 sq. ft. already has those floors). What can I do to make them look great? I like darker wood floors and need to add more of these ugly slim planks to the rest of the house to make it all match and save on some cost for flooring. Would greatly appreciate some advice. Thank you!

    • Reply
      February 28, 2021 at 7:04 pm

      Add in unfinished planks and have everything refinished and stained to match. Having one continuous kind of flooring will have such a positive impact on the overall look and flow of your home!

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