There are many timeless design options that any homeowner would be happy to have in their home. A clawfoot bathtub, a turn of the century fireplace, stained glass, and of course, hardwood flooring all come to mind. It’d be a bit of an overstatement to say that hardwood flooring is experiencing a resurgence in popularity when, in truth, it never really went out of style; it’s durable, tends to look better with age, and compliments just about any aesthetic. Many homeowners don’t realize just how many options they have when it comes to choosing a hardwood for their home — with different grain patterns, wood types and hues homeowners have a plethora of different  hardwood options to ponder over. To that end, we’ve put together a list of a few of the more popular options along with their respective virtues. After reading this hardwood guide, choosing the right hardwood for your living space should be a tad bit easier.

Cherry Hardwood

If asked to describe what hardwood looks like, chances are you’ll conjure an image of classic cherry wood. You might be surprised to know that there’s more than one cherry wood option, from Brazilian cherry hardwood (which isn’t actually derived from a cherry tree at all) to its American or African counterparts. Though they may hail from different corners of the earth, cherry hardwood is valued for its natural beauty and smooth grain. Each type lends itself well to many different types of stain, which tremendously increases its versatility and its ability to be used in any room in the home. 

Though they may share a few similarities, not all cherry hardwoods are created equal, meaning that careful deliberation is required when choosing the right one for your home.

Brazilian cherry is not as popular as it once was, so the market dictates that it is a relatively budget-friendly option for a high-quality wood that will remain hard over the years. Having said that, Brazilian hardwood can be difficult to install so you may need to hire a professional installer to get the job done, and this could increase the cost by 10-20%.

American cherry hardwood is not typically viewed as high quality as the Brazilian alternative, but it’s still a warm, aesthetically pleasing option that many homeowners happily incorporate into their home. The nice thing about American cherry is that it looks beautiful when left in its natural colour, which emphasizes its amazing grain patterns. Its colour will age beautifully, deepening into richer browns and reds, a factor that will enhance the differences between each board. If there’s a downside to American cherry it is that it’s not as hard as some of the other woods we’ll discuss and is, therefore, less durable and less likely to hold up as well as some of the other options.  

If you’re looking to add some exotic cherry hardwood into your home, there’s African cherry hardwood. Comparative in price and “softness” to American cherry hardwood, African cherry comes in a wide variety of different colours ranging from very light to very dark, depending on the region in which it is harvested. It’s generally known for its particularly straight grain pattern, something that tends to play well with a modern or minimalist style. 

If there’s one adjective that is used to describe cherry hardwood, it’s rustic. The earthy red and brown tones that are a staple characteristic of cherry wood makes it the perfect pairing to large, comfortable furniture, animal print rugs, as well as a wide range of paint palettes. Be warned, however, that some homeowners tend to navigate away from cherry wood as the red and brown tones that are embraced by the rusticly-inclined homeowner can limit a room’s colour palette.

Dark Hardwood

Unlike other types of hardwood flooring, dark hardwood tends to emphasize a room’s furnishings and is often used to contrast cooler color tones around the room. The rich dark hues infer a luxurious sophistication, making it an ideal option for bedrooms, dining rooms, and other rooms when entertaining.

Since patterns and other details can be more difficult to spot in dark hardwoods, pairing it with fresh, spring-inspired colours on the walls and accent pieces is a great way to make use of the robust aesthetic of the wood without making it the visual focal point. Though it is, like cherry wood, an option that can be used to create a rustic space, dark hardwood plays particularly well in rooms that have adopted a modern scheme.  

Dark hardwoods are more likely to hide certain imperfections in the wood (dents), something that can be viewed as a positive or negative, depending on what you’re going for, but scratches are much easier to spot in darker finishes. For homeowners that aren’t the most expeditious when it comes to completing their daily chores, it’s important to remember that it’s harder to spot dirt and animal hair on darker surfaces than lighter ones.

Light Oak Hardwood

Coming back to the lighter side of things, light oak hardwood is currently one of the most trendy options out there since it pairs so well with contemporary furniture and with a far greater range of colours than some of the “redder/darker”-hued exotic alternatives like African or Brazilian cherry wood. Many design experts believe the popularity of darker wood is waning and claim that the chic, homey vibe of light and bright hardwood is chomping at the bit to take its place. 

It might surprise you to know that most of the hardwood flooring sold domestically is in fact, derived from the mighty oak. It’s light colour and grain make it easy to pair with a number of different stains (a common thread with light-coloured hardwoods), and its abundant supply makes it a relatively inexpensive way to add beautiful hardwood to your home. Oak hardwood flooring is farmed responsibly, a factor that can’t be ignored in today’s politically charged climate. Purchasing locally sourced wood is also better for the environment as far fewer resources are expended to cultivate it, process it, and deliver it to your closest lumber yard. All things being equal, a quality oak hardwood that is regularly and diligently maintained will last a lifetime, which is why so many century homes across the country still have their original oak floors. 

Grey Toned Hardwood 

As you might infer from the title, grey toned hardwood is a more subdued, less dramatic flooring option, though it is not without its own set of virtues. Like dark hardwood, its aesthetic appeal is somewhat more narrow than lighter hardwood alternatives, as it is primarily used in rooms with that have embraced modern style. 

Grey toned hardwood uniquely displays the grain of the wood while perfectly adapting to haute couture monochromatic colour palettes. Black accents, in particular, are widely used to bring out the stunning visual appeal of grey-toned hardwood.

Whatever your personal style or aesthetic, hardwood flooring is a great option to pursue when renovating your existing home or looking for a new home to purchase. With any luck, this article has made finding the right solution for you a little bit easier. Call Sarana Tile for more information on the most sought after hardwood flooring options in Canada.

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