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From the Ground Up -- Flooring Trends

Flooring is a key element in the home. It's also fairly costly and something you aren't likely to replace for a decade or more, so it pays to choose the best product to suit your lifestyle and your decorating style. Most country decorators gravitate toward a wood or wood-look material to set the stage for their decor. Here are a few highlights of the various options available today:

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Photographed by and Styled by Donna Pizzi

These beautiful hickory wood floors are seen throughout the California home of Sue and Ralph Dragony. See more of this home in the 2019 edition of Country Sampler Home Tours.
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Photographed by Abran Rubiner and Styled by Sunday Hendrickson

Nicole and Cole Philips selected easy-care wood-look ceramic tile for their Arizona home. See more of this home in the 2019 edition of Country Sampler Home Tours.

Homey Hardwood
The comfort, warmth and timelessness of hardwood floors make them an enduring flooring favorite, and they are a frequent selection for the main living area of the home. For the past few years, dark hues have been top sellers, and though they continue to be in fashion, they are making room for lighter colors, including gray, gray blends and whitewash or natural colors in more muted, cooler tones. Wider planks or multiple plank widths, along with handscraped or distressed finishes, give today's wood floors a distinctive look. For those who have an existing hardwood floor, refinishing is an option and will allow for changing the color or finish to a more updated look. Low-luster or semigloss finishes are more popular than glossier ones, which highlight dust and scratches.

Luxury Lookalikes
For those who seek a product that will stand up to kids and pets but want the look of wood, luxury vinyl planks are a less-costly but high-quality alternative to the real thing. These products are not like the vinyl floors of the past and have evolved to closely resemble real wood. The wide range of colors, widths and even textures make it easy to find a style that suits everyone. Similar to hardwood, luxury vinyl's most popular looks feature gray tones and rustic textures. Though the material is less expensive than real wood, it does cost slightly more for surface preparation and installation. In addition to being durable and scratch-resistant, luxury vinyl is waterproof and can be used in areas where hardwood typically cannot, such as basements and laundry rooms. Laminate flooring is another option for a hardwearing surface with the look of wood and is similar in price to luxury vinyl. It has a fiberboard core and a plastic surface layer, so it is not waterproof.

Stylish Tile
Tile continues to be a top pick for bathrooms. Porcelain and ceramic tile, like luxury vinyl, is available in fool-the-eye wood patterns and has become a highly sought alternative to natural materials because it is more durable and very low maintenance. Just as the previously mentioned flooring options are popular in wider widths, wood-look tile planks in larger formats, such as 12 x 24 or 18 x 36 inches, currently carry the day.