2017 Hardwood Flooring Trends

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Yes, it’s hot off the presses – the Top Hardwood Trends for 2017. You’ll notice that several of these trends are synergistic with each other. And, you may also notice that some trends are contradictory to each other (e.g. dark and blonde colors are both in style).

Please note that different customers have different tastes when it comes to style and color choices. And, different woods work in different styles of homes. I generally advise my customers to do what they prefer and works for their home (and budget) not just to follow the trends. This article is divided into 5 Trend sections: Stains, Finishes, Styles, Species and Sources, locations/construction methods. And, for the first time, I’ve added a 6th section that shows what’s dated or “not hot.”

What’s Trending for Hardwood in 2017

Hardwood Stain Colors

2017 hardwood trends – dark and light stains. Overall, there’s a shift towards darks and lights (yes, the two extremes), as well as cooler and browner tones. Redder and warmer tones are less popular and more polarizing.

1. Dark and darker

Yes, dark continues to grow and grow and grow. I’ve been discussing dark hardwood floors for a few years. The most popular colors have been ebony, espresso (which is a 50/50 blend of ebony/jacobean), jacobean and dark walnut. We test these colors on our customers’ floors as the stains look different on different woods (and even different planks). And, please understand that many of the pictures on line looker darker than they do in real life.

Lately, we’ve had more requests to go darker and darker and darker. To serve this need, manufacturer has now added a darker stain than ebony… it’s called true black. It’s just about to hit the marketplace. Another solution to get the floors darker is to open up the pores with a water pop. This extra steps costs more, but it helps the wood absorb the stain more for a darker and super contemporary look.

Here are some key questions that customers ask about dark hardwood floors.

Dark vs Light Hardwood floors – pros and cons
Do dark hardwood floors show scratches more?

Bonus tip: What to do if you have a scratch? This is not a perfect solution, but consider buying a Minwax stain marker. It can help camouflage your scratches, especially if you only have a few. It comes in many colors including ebony, dark walnut, red mahogany, golden oak, provincial and cherry. Some people will even get 2 similar colors (e.g. ebony and dark walnut) as there is color variation in the wood.

2. Grays and white washes

Gray hardwood – 2017 flooring trends

Yes, gray is hot when it comes to hardwood floors. This cool tone has grown in popularity and we get more and more requests for gray, especially among our higher end and more fashion forward customers. We also get tons of phone calls from across the country on how to refinish hardwood for that gray look. You can read more about that here: How to refinish and stain hardwood floors gray. The best way to do this is to mix ebony with white (read more in that post).

Light gray hardwood floors trend for 2017

Gray is more expensive as you need to use a higher grade water borne poly such as Bona Traffic HD. We see all sorts of mixes from light to dark gray (it’s best to test). We also have some customers that mix in a touch of gray with darker brown stains.

You can also also get pre-finished gray floors. Generally gray looks best in maple and birch which are a bit more expensive than oak. But, there are now plenty of oaks in the marketplace. If you already have oak in your home, I’d recommend that you stay with the same species so that you can match the floors (even if you refinish later). Maple and birch are more challenging and more expensive to refinish as they are closed pore woods.

If you’re looking to get gray wood in the above picture, you can purchase it here. This item comes in other colors as well. And, here’s a link to where you can find some other pre-finished gray hardwoods.

White washed floors

White wash is also making a comeback, believe it or not. But, it’s often done in a more contemporary way with a touch of gray or wire-brushed (more on that later). Or, it’s done as a steep contrast with white in some rooms and a deep ebony in others.

3. Ultra Blonde

Blonde or natural hardwood tends to be the 2nd most popular color after the darks. Natural makes the space look larger and airier. It tends to give the home a more casual look, and often costs a bit less.

Blonde hardwood floors

But, lately, I’ve been seeing a new twist on this, especially among those with white oak floors. Rather than using an oil based poly (which makes the floors a bit darker and more amber), many are opting for water borne poly, especially higher end Bona Traffic HD for a lighter and less yellow look. The finish is more matte, too. This option has some other benefits, too including that it dries faster and smells less (but it does cost more).

Finishes for Hardwood

4. Matte and satin finishes

What sheen is most popular for hardwood floors

Shiny and semi gloss are out; satin and matte finishes in. Satin (with a bit of sheen) is the most popular, but now matte is starting to gain more appeal. See this article: Which type of sheen is most popular for wood floors? Some of this is driven by the increased popularity of water borne poly as well as oiled floors and wire brushed finishes. Some of it is also driven by the honed look in granite and poured concrete counter tops.

5. Wire-brushed hardwood

Wire brushed hardwood 2017 trend

What does wire-brushed wood look like? Wire-brushed is a weathered and authentic look to your hardwood floors that’s created by using wire bristles to open and enhance the wood grain. It’s an etched look that gives subtle texture while still maintaining a smooth surface. It’s used for a cottage chic (or shabby chic) look and it helps hide dirt and imperfections more. It’s more expensive to make (as there is an extra step and often 2 colors applied with one as a glaze), and is generally only available in pre-finished hardwood. Shaw’s Castle Oak line is a perfect example of this.

Wire bushed hardwood

The wire brushing process scrapes off the softest portions of the wood leaving the hardest wood. It exposes and emphasizes the graining to give it more character. You see this more often with wide plank flooring.