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choosing new floors

    We’ve lived in our house for just over 8 years. It was new when we bought it, but too far along in the building process for us to make changes to fixtures, colors, finishes. One of the upgrades we would have made if given the choice would be to switch out the carpet on the main floor with hardwoods.

    (photo from summer house tour seen here)

    There are benefits to carpet – namely it’s softness – and it was great for when the babies were babies. But 8 years, four kids, a lot of walking back and forth on the same pathway and a puppy who was not the fastest potty-trainer later and the carpet is looking pretty dingy. We’ve wanted to replace it for forever and now we are finally ready to make the jump.

    I ordered a handful of samples last week just to try out a couple of different looks.


    I posted this picture to instagram asking for your favorite and the votes were totally split. Ryan and I agree (it’s a miracle!) on which one is our top choice, but before I tell you, let’s talk about each one and why it might be the right choice.

    Actually, before we get into each specific option, a few things that might be helpful to know:

    1. we’ll be pulling up all the existing floors throughout downstairs. The blonde maple has served us well and does a great job of hiding dirt, but it is nearly impossible to match if we were to continue it where the carpet is and honestly, if we’re going to spend the money on new floors, we’d rather choose what we like and blonde maple is not on that list.

    2. this is not our forever house so we’re going for the best, most durable floor for the least amount of investment.

    3. we’ve gone back and forth trying to decide what to do with the floors. Replace the carpet with new? Put in tile? Buy the cheapest floor and paint it? While each of those are fine options, we’ve landed on wood as the best option.

    Okay, so here are our top choices:


    I love the look of white floors. Always have and always will. Crisp glossy floors with white walls is fresh and such a clean canvas for doing life.


    The white floor sample is nice, but not glossy and more of a creamy white than a white-white. I think if we were to really go for it with white floors, we would go the painted route (which is super impractical since you have to move out for weeks to let it cure). So this option is out.

    This one is the darkest of the samples and we know how much of a pain dark can be for showing every speck of dirt and dust. In real life it actually looks more taupy-brown than dark dark brown.


    The contrast of warm-dark floors and white walls is so appealing to my eye. If we go this route, we’ll repaint our walls white (which is next on the house to-do list anyway).


    This choice has a great almost Scandinavian feel. It’s probably more brown than gray and a nice light/mid-tone that will hide dirt nicely.


    There is still that warmth, but it’s toned down and less contrasty with white.


    This gray floor sample received a ton of votes on IG and it really could look cool installed. It would give off a similar look to poured concrete (which would be a top contender if we were willing to invest more in redoing the floors).


    This particular floor is engineered hardwood and doesn’t look as nice in person as it photographs. We’ve ruled this one out based on that.


    My current house-crush is Dana’s from House Tweaking (that’s her kitchen below on the left). I like everything she does and her style is heavily influencing my desire to go a little more simple and modern in our home.


    This traditional brown floor is what she has in her home. It’s a great medium brown – very classic and warm. It is also engineered, which we’re on the fence about.


    So now we have to decide.

    Just looking at the samples, both Ryan and I chose the dark gray/brown floor. It has a pretty warmth that looks great with our fireplace stone, the granite in the kitchen and will contrast nicely with all of our existing furniture. A close second (and it’s still in the running) is the light gray/brown. If we choosing only based on how easy it will be to keep clean, we would go with this one. I’m just not sure it offers enough contrast. And while the brown is a perfect medium brown, it goes just a little bit more traditional than we’d like. I think we need a more grayed tone to the wood.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts … any pros or cons or warnings or encouragement? What’s your favorite?

    81 thoughts on “choosing new floors”

    1. I really appreciate your tip on how a light gray or brown color can help hide dirt on your floor really well. My wife and I have been thinking of getting a new house, and we want to try and find a way to make it look clean with our three dogs coming in and out of the house. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and find a house that has brown or light gray floors to help hide dirt!

    2. Thank you. Picking new flooring can be daunting task. There are many materials to choose from and each type has a gamut of options to go along with it.

        1. How are they holding up? We are looking at ordering them for our staircase and upstairs game room. I know they will be beautiful but I’m a little nervous about the staircase since it is high traffic and may be slippery.

          1. The floors are holding up great. They are a little slippery, so a stair runner might be a good idea. They are getting scratched, but most are not noticeable because of the handscraped texture.

    3. Hello from Iceland

      I would choose the ligth gray/brown or the Brown. The gray and the darker gray/brown look more unfinished and not so sophisticated. :)

      Thank you for wonderful blog and very cool freebies.

      Have a nice day!

    4. My husband and I are in the process of some home renovations. We had a designer come in and we had her give us an opinion of our wood floor. We already had a sample board of four different colors. My husband and I loved the dark chocolate brown flooring but the desinger mentioned how dirty the floor would look and who has time to keep cleaning their floors. My concern was how dated the flooring would look over time, seems like it is quite the rage to have the dark wood flooring (for now) the designer totally agreed. We are going with a traditonal dark oak stain. Good luck!

    5. Another thing to think about with the dark floors is how dark they may make your house, even with white walls. Of course, it depends on the natural light, what white you choose etc, but just something to consider.

    6. This past year we installed wood-look tile throughout our entire house and we LOVE it. When people come over they are amazed that our tile isn’t wood – looks just like wood. We have 2 small children and have found that the tile holds up beautifully when there are drops and spills. The tile looks as new as the day we had it installed. We were able to purchase area rugs for our rooms for softness because the tile is hard, and the color we chose is dark brown so it shows everything, but it is so easy to clean and live with that the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Good luck with your decision!

    7. I agree with Rebecca & it’s interesting because I haven’t yet read the other comments. We also installed engineered wood in hickory—installed it ourselves & saved half the cost. We absolutely LOVE it! We even have a black lab who plays, running & sometimes slides, and we haven’t noticed any scratches in the several months we’ve had the flooring. I also love the fact that scratches won’t be noticed because it’s already “distressed.” I don’t think you would go wrong with it. It’s also very easy to clean—I have the greatest little vacuum, a Bissell cordless stick vac with the pet strip. It’s lightweight, & I can do 3 rooms + hallway, small bath & laundry room on one charge (about 17 minutes).

    8. How interesting that you posted this today…the same day that we just settled on our wood flooring selection for a second room in our house. The old wood comes out on Monday and new wood placed. I am giddy!!!
      We have engineered hardwood flooring in our family room. It is dark (close to the brown selection you posted above), and we get TONS of compliments on it because it contrasts really nicely with our white walls and neutral furniture. We LOVE it! However, this is the room that my family (husband, 2 kids, no pets) spends the majority of time in, and it is a pain to keep the floors clean. It shows every single speck of dirt, dust, lint, footprint, etc. I do love it, and when it’s clean, I am so very happy. I just have to clean it so frequently.
      We settled on engineered hardwood flooring for our second room and chose a more distressed wood. It is absolutely gorgeous but not as dark as what’s in our family room, and I think it will hide dirt better since there is so much texture and wood grain that is showing.
      I wouldn’t be worried about getting engineered hardwood. They hold up great, even to Legos, toys and tools being dropped on the floor, etc. The trick is to get a harder wood, like hickory. Stay away from the softer woods, and you’ll be fine. If you do get a knick in the wood, no worries. Minwax has a stain pen that you can hide the knick if you have distressed wood like I do.
      This is not our forever home either; therefore, we wanted flooring that would be beautiful and sturdy and yet not break the bank. Engineered wood met that criteria, and we’ve been very happy with our decision.
      Some of our friends have gone with tile that looks like hardwood. We were advised against this by some flooring companies because they felt like most homebuyers (in Texas) were looking for wood flooring as opposed to tile. I was concerned about getting tile because we have kids and our area is prone to foundation problems. I think it was a good decision since we are having 5 large (20 inches) tiles replaced due to hairline cracks from foundation issues or dropping something on them in the kitchen. In order to replace the 5 tiles, our existing grout all has to be cleaned/bleached to match the new grout around the new tiles and then resealed–all to the tune of $575 for 5 stinking tiles! I can’t imagine having to do that over and over again around the house if one of my kids accidently drops something in the family room or entry way.
      Good luck and best wishes!

    9. Our home has a hand scraped (great for dog nails and little boys!) grey hardwood floors–the only change we made to the house before we moved in…the floors are a little tan/brown and mostly grey, I LOVE it, it has imperfections and knots in the wood and it was so smelly-I think that would be the biggest drawback. Thankfully the smell goes away!

    10. We have Brazilian cherry hardwoods which I love. One thing about a dark floor is that every crumb or light piece of dirt shows up really well. I like hardwood because when you scratch it, you can sand it and have beautiful floors all over again. We used Seattle Floors and were very happy with them.

    11. Don’t be afraid of engineered hardwood. We have put engineered flooring in 2 of our homes and lived with them for 5 and now going on 9 years, and they still look great! We have three kids and plenty of action happening on our flooring. You are supposed to be able to refinish engineered wood up to 3 times? – but we aren’t even close to needing to. We have been very happy with ours!

    12. We have flooring similar to the light gray/brown and we LOVE it! We get compliments on it all the time and it’s great at hiding dirt (which is fantastic with two little kiddos!). The color variation (lighter grayish brown, as you described) is perfect if you’re looking for a classic look but with a lighter feel and more options in decorating. It easily pairs with cooler tones, but because it does lean more brown than gray I can easily change my decor in the Fall to rich, warm tones.

      If you’re thinking you might eventually sell your house and want to appeal to a broad audience (or you just like to change up your color scheme like I do) I would highly recommend the light brown/gray option!

    13. Hi Emily, I’m new to your blog and I love it! What a dilemma, choosing floors! I think my computer must be a little off color-wise as the colors you mentioned don’t seem to match up to what I’m seeing. I would choose a medium grey brown, but that’s not one of the choices so…
      Someone suggested the porcelain tiles which look like wood. How great are they? But, if you live in a colder area, they would not be the best choice as they are very cold on your feet, especially if you like to go barefoot. I’m sure you’ll make the best choice.
      Happy choosing, happy installation!

    14. We have dark espresso floors. I have four littles. I have someone help clean my house (and it’s not that big) mainly because of the floors. They are gorgeous… But a pain in the arse ;) I know several people posted about this very topic… Sorry to be a repeat but I can’t wait to go back to lighter colors.

    15. We have rich brown engineered wood floors throughout our downstairs. We have had them for six years now. They are really beautiful and it’s a love hate! They have to be swept all the time as they show every speck of dust and dirt. They are a full time job. I have kids that spill, forget to take shoes off and drop things on the floor! I have spots in the kitchen where the floor is damaged. I try to be vigilant about getting to spills and keeping felt on the bottom of my chairs. I do love them in the family, dining, office, foyer and hallway. Those areas have held up perfectly and I have rugs in those rooms. If I were to do it again I would do a slate floor in our kitchen and bath. Those are the areas my kids are toughest on. Purchase a really good steam cleaner to clean them; it save you!

    16. Hey Emily! we put engineered hardwood throughout our recently built home and went with a medium warmer toned wood by Earthwerks but I’ll be honest (and hate to be a downer) – it still has to be cleaned ALL THE TIME. like every day (at least in the kitchen). I’ve got 3 kids (one on the way) and I told my husband – in the next house we are going back to tile b/c I’m sick of having to clean the floor every day! To which he said “so we’ll just have a dirty floor but you wont be able to see it?” and I said “EXACTLY”. They are beautiful though!

      Also, take the floor samples and a high heel and chunk it against it really hard to check durability. I bought dress up shoes for my two girls and the pranced around the house christmas day and left 1/2 inch circle imprints EVERYWHERE! My husband is not uptight at all – so laid back and I thought he was going to pass out. whoops! Our wood just happens to be a little bit softer wood. I think it’s Hickory?

    17. I usually don’t comment on posts, but I had to share my floors with you. Last year we replaced all of our carpet in our home with a gray/brown hardwood floor. I LOVE IT. I had a hard time deciding on wood tones/colors and knew I wanted something that would blend with the existing wood furniture in my home which was espresso, walnut and black. I think we chose perfectly. We don’t have a dog, but have a toddler and the floor does not show footprints, hair, etc. White colored crumbs show up under the dining table more regularly than anything else and honestly I clean my floors every two weeks or so…and Im pretty particular about the cleanliness of my home and the floors are usually last because they are so durable and don’t show dirt. (I just use a dust buster in between to pick up the food crumbs under the table as needed) We went with Armstrong Pewter Maple, and it looks to be more of a rustic maple that is stained a pewter color. Lots of color variations, but not too busy or too dark. We chose hardwoods because we were making an investment and wanted to be able to sand/refinish down the (long) road as needed. Check out the link…the pictures online don’t do the floor justice. I’d be happy to email you a picture of our floors if you’re interested! Good luck, I’m sure you’ll choose whats best for your family!

    18. Emily, such nice choices. My eye went right to the light gray/brown though! The dark gray/brown is lovely as well.

      What I see as the difference between the two is a more modern vs. a more rustic look and feel, respectively.

      What a lovely deliberation — the outcome is sure to be a success whichever you choose.


    19. Love all your choices but me having had wood, tile and carpet I am going the route next to replace the wood and carpet and tiles in our house with the fuax wood tile planks. I love the durability and care of tile and the new looks are so realistic.

    20. We are in the process of making some of the same decisions. Our house was new – 12 years ago- and we selected the flooring: berber / plush / hardwood and tile (different rooms). The only rooms with hardwood are the dining room and the entryway / hall. I want to put hardwood in my family room and the “den” – which is right off of the entryway. I wish I could start over the entire thing like you are doing, but it is just not feasible. I hope to put tile ( looks like wood) in the kitchen and hardwood in the family room and den. My question is can I go a different route in the family room as it does not meet up with any other hardwood? I would love to have wider boards and possibly a different color (darker). My issue is our golden retriever. His blond hair will show up much more on a hardwood than it does on our current Berber carpet. So many decisions to make. I just want to get rid of carpet and my kitchen tile has some cracks and I am tired of it too. I will follow your flooring adventure!!

    21. I would get the gray/brown or gray. It seems to compliment your colors nicely and being medium in tone, won’t show the kid/dog marks or crumbs as easily. Can’t wait to see what you choose!

    22. First choice is light grey/brown, second choice is the grey brown. I like that it adds that rustic feel, I prefer the light grey bc I like the lighter look. I’m super into white and black like you, and those would be my choices.

      I really love white wood but I can see how that’s not an option.

      Good luck. I know you’ll pick out something great, you have fabulous taste. Hope my .02 helps!!

    23. Always love what you do, Emily – esp the hanging window/door in your dining room and always lovely pillows and your kitchen. We are re-doing a 12 yr old custom kitchen/family room due to a large house flood (Turn off your toilets when you leave town, please!) and all of our “real” wood floors will be replaced. I see you are considering only engineered wood (love the Tweaking link house!) and wonder how that will figure in a home sale in the future as you say this isn’t your forever home. I love the wider planks etc of engineered but fear that vs “real hardwoods” will turn away future buyers, or look cheap in a large home, due to less graining etc…Can you tell us how you decided against real hardwoods, stained and finished in-home?? thank you!

      1. Hey Susan! My husband has a flooring company and we have engineered hardwoods and they are real hardwood, it is just a thin layer of wood over a composite base as opposed to a full plank of solid hardwood.

        EH is also different than laminate. EH are glued down, just like wood, not floated like laminate and look identical to hardwood. No one would know until they are pulled up! The downside of EH over Solid HW is that they can only be refinished 3-4 times in their life, whereas solid wood can be sanded/re-stained many many times and last for several lifetimes.

    24. My family is in the wood floor business and I can say that as long as it fits your climate, engineered flooring is not subpar in comparison with solid flooring. It can also be installed in attics and basements and is a better choice if you choose to put it in the kitchen or bath as opposed to solid flooring.

      As others have stated, it expands and contracts better and it also has a cross-ply construction that makes it more stable than solid flooring. No matter the floor you buy, pay attention to climate issues when it comes to installation. That will save trouble down the road with either type of floor. Make sure you have the right subfloor for the wood and the right underlayment.

      There are so many options in engineered floors that you will be able to find the look of a traditional solid floor in an engineered construction. It is unlikely that you would need to sand during the lifetime of the floor or of your time in the home.

    25. Just moved into our forever home and I chose a wide plank white wash engineered oak flooring on our main. It’s gorgeous. We have 3 kids and a large yellow lab so I didn’t want real hardwoods since they would be scratched up from dog a and child-rearing season. I do see dirt everyday, but it’s a quick sweep up and done. It’s not a deal breaker for me to clean my floors almost daily. I love that the dog hair does not get into carpet and stay forever so dog smell doesn’t either. We also have sky lights and beautiful medium cherry wood cabinets and woodwork throughout, so needed something that would contrast but keep the space clean and light. Love my choice and looking forward to what you choose! Your taste is beautiful and you will pick the perfect color for your house with your artistic eye.

    26. I love the dark/white combo & have used it in our last two homes. {in completely different ways}. In our last home we had real hardwood {dark} & it was extremely hard to keep clean! {insert impossible}. While I loved the look I wanted something easier to maintain in our newest home. I asked many people, stomped on many options ;) & at last decided on tile that looks like hardwood. We installed in floor heat & although it isn’t quite as glossy as I like it cleans up & hides SO well! After a year of living here with 3 little’s – I must say I would go this route again!
      Good Luck in your decision making! ;)

    27. We have lived in 4 different houses with 4 completely different floors in each one (carpet, tile, wood and concrete). My favorite? Concrete!!! They ALWAYS look clean and shiny. We have light greyish/brown concrete floors and get comments all the time. Yes they are hard…yes they are cold sometimes but in Southern California we don’t get too cold here. Anyway, I am in love with concrete floors now. And concrete countertops. You can cut on them, spill wine on them and they shine up like a sparkly diamond. Good luck with whatever you choose! I know if will look awesome and hey, it won’t be forever right?

    28. Hey Emily,

      As I was reading your post and looking at the wood choices, I thought I knew what you would choose, and after I finished reading, you did! It’s so pretty! :) I say go with your instincts since being true to your own sense of style is what holds your home together so beautifully.

      As ever, thanks for all you share!

    29. Emily
      If I understand correctly, you hesitate between 3 colors but not white. I was about to Insta gray. I think the gray highlights decoration. Brown is dark, like black and dust is seen a lot on … Grey is a neutral color, and decoration, I think it brings out the other colors. If gray is dark, it’s even better. A light gray must be in harmony with the other colors and it’s more difficult. This is just my opinion of France! Good luck in your search! The decor of a house is important, especially soils, we keep long! Personally, I have light oak parquet rather walleye, ground floor and upstairs a bleached oak, which adds sweetness. Bottom floor is warm and it goes well with light colors, there are pictures from the show on my blog, I think you can see the floor. If one day you come to visit France, will prevent me, I would love to welcome you with your family and share a cup of coffee or tea! Good research you and good week near Seattle!

    30. I live in an apt so the flooring is not my choice, although it’s gorgeous! It’s very dark, handscraped hardwood everywhere but the bedroom & bath. It’s the worst to try and keep clean…and it’s just me and my very well trained dog. :) I can’t imagine having children ~ I would either be living with a Swiffer in hand or give up. I know that white flooring is difficult to maintain also. I would recommend a lighter tone but of course, it’s your home and your choice. :)


    31. Actually, I was betting you would go light gray/brown. We have blond maple floors. I wish I would have gone with a light gray/brown if it was a color choice fourteen years ago. It would have been perfect with raising our fourteen children and the three golden retrievers. Don’t forget to think about scratches! Best bet, go with your heart.

    32. We put in all new hardware about a month ago. I searched high and low and couldn’t be happier with what we picked. I previously had brown hardwood and they showed everything! We ended up with scraped oak, Tecsun Rafael and couldn’t be happier. With two kids I actually forget to clean them because they hide everything. The perfect gray/brown combination.

    33. If this is not your forever home, you may want to ask a realtor’s opinion. Will one choice make it harder to sell your home in the future over one that is more attractive to the majority of people looking at homes? That would be my two cents – best of luck!!!

    34. Hi Emily! We just did this as well, but we went from carpet and dark espresso brown wood floors to a medium grey/brown wood all over. I have to say, although the dark is beautiful, it was a lot tougher than I imagined keeping it looking nice. The first hour after cleaning it, it looked beautiful. But, literally within hours (I thought it would be days) I could see dust. It drove me crazy! And every little barefoot would leave a print. And if someone walked in with shoes….a print. It was a constant battle. The grey/brown is so beautiful and I don’t EVER see dust and I’m not on my hands and knees everyday wiping away footprints.

      I thought I’d share my $.02 since I just went through it. :) And I’d be happy to share photos!

    35. Your house is so pretty – I think that you could go either way, with beautiful results! Thanks for sharing all of your lovely ideas with the rest of us!

      Blessings to you & your family! :o)

    36. Hi Emily–We are in the exact same process of picking out flooring. In fact I’m heading out right now to return samples :). I can’t tell you how many samples we’ve brought home and from EVERY flooring store in our area! We too are redoing flooring though out our main floor. I too love the look of dark floors but have decided to not put myself thru the agony of trying to keep them clean–I’ve learned my lesson (too many times) on picking “impractical because I love it” things for our home. We also have white cabinets and just installed grey quartz counters. The 2 things I’ve decided against–1. Too dark. 2. Hand scraped (too trendy). Now, we’ve decided to look at another option (much to my husbands dismay;)–the wood look tile. Have you considered that? And if so, can you share your thoughts on that?
      My last question, can you PLEASE fix the link to the lighter grey/brown sample? I love it and looks like what I’ve been drawn to!
      Thanks Emily! Great timing (for me) for this post :).

      1. Thanks for your input!

        It looks like that gray-brown is no longer available! What?!! Maybe Build Direct is just updating their inventory, but hopefully the link will work again once they bring it back.

    37. While I love the gray/browns more…we went for a slightly distressed medium brown maple floor in our house. It looks a lot like your brown sample. I wasn’t too happy at first because I really wanted cooler gray tones. We have three small kids and dogs and I am so happy I went with the medium warmer brown because it hides EVERYTHING! It looks so nice and rustic and warm…giving my industrial farmhouse decor the warmth it needs. And it always looks clean (even when it isn’t). I had darker floors in our previous house and they showed pet hair and dust in a matter of hours. I would suggest the brown floors…it will make your life easier while still looking great! Also, get an iRobot vacuum…it’s a lifesaver with kids and hardwood floors.

    38. We have brown engineered hardwood and with 2 boys and a dog I find they hide a lot of grime. I think you would only have issues with hiding the dirt if it were more of an espresso brown. I really love your choices, very fresh and current. Gray/Brown gets my vote! I know what every you chose it will be beautiful!

    39. Love the options. We have dark floors that I loved when we built the house. Two kids and two dogs later I wish I could pull them up and go lighter. They look amazing when freshly cleaned, but dog hair, paw prints, crumbs, footprints, and scratch marks are highlighted by the flooring. Just something to consider. I do love the gray tone to the flooring you chose.

    40. We had wide plank dark floors put in our new house. While I absolutely love the look of them, keeping them clean is another story They look great when there is no outside light shining on them, but when there is (especially sunlight), all I see is white hazy spots from where my children have been walking around. No cleaner has worked to effectively remove them and I mop my floors on a regular basis. It’s something I’m having to learn to live with, but it does look awful and you can only put so many area rugs down. If I had to do it over again, I’d go lighter.

    41. Hi Emily! If you really admire the darker floors I would choose a finish that is not glossy. The hand-scraped look with a matte sheen/gloss would still offer the contrast you are looking for and it will be fairly accommodating for four children and a dog! You don’t need to worry as much with the dog’s nails and kiddies footprints and messes with the matte sheen/gloss but keep in mind that hardwood is still wood and it will ding and scratch. I have a medium brown hardwood with a gloss and I do home daycare right now and my floors are driving me nuts because I can see everything! Yikes!

    42. Contrary to some of the other comments, I love my dark floors! They are engineered wood and pretty heavily distressed and I love that every dent or ding just blends right in. We have three kids and a dog (who doesn’t shed) and I don’t notice them looking especially dirty compared to our old home with light floors. I had so many people tell me I’d regret going dark but two years later, I’m still very happy with our choice. The dark gray/brown would look beautiful in your home!

    43. I love the white look myself and lean toward Scandinavian esthetic but for practical purposes I would also go with the light gray brown. A wise woman once told me to avoid darker floors unless you want to battle a constant layer of dust. I guess the darker shows more dust and the lighter shows more dirt…6 of one, half dozen and all that jazz. P.S. I am new to your blog and you are the only one I currently follow. Pretty sure if you lived on the East coast we would be BFF’s. Our lives and style choices are remarkably similar. Keep on keeping on ;)

      1. I have dark brown hardwoods and like many of the ladies who have commented, they look gorgeous for all of 15 minutes. I have had hardwoods in every home and these are a nightmare. Before I can put away the swiffer and the bona they are a mess again. I am looking at replacing with an AC-4 rated engineered flooring in cream and light grey with a low sheen. I mention the rating because it really matters. The darker floors tend to be a softer wood and scratch and dent very easily. I have dogs and teens and the AC-4 samples are the only ones that held up to my nail and hammer test (pets and dropped bags, heels and shoved furniture).

    44. We are currently in a remodel. We wanted to pull up existing hard wood and lay new but we were talked out of wide plank due to ‘cupping’ that along with the labor costs of removing the existing helped us decide to lace in new wood to match in the bedrooms downstairs. (I’m sure you have researched that but just throwing it out there.) Also, they are doing something called water popping to make the stain deeper on ours. I’ve heard about the dark showing more dust, but since I couldn’t have the wide boards I thought the dark dark floors would make me happy.
      Can’t wait to see what you choose!

    45. I installed an engineered floor, very light brushed light oak (greyish blonde) WIDE planked with a matte milky finish. OMG. The best thing ever. Do not see the dust, do see the foot prints (we go without socks most of the time). Very scandinavian looking. It feels expansive, light and does not compete with anything. I love it.

    46. We are currently in a remodel. We wanted to pull up existing heard wood and lay new but we’re talked out of wide plank due to ‘cupping’ that along with the labor costs of removing the existing helped us decide to lace in new wood to match in the bedrooms downstairs. (I’m sure you have researched that but just throwing it out there.) Also, they are doing something called water popping to make the stain deeper on ours. I’ve heard about the dark showing more dust, but since I couldn’t have the wide boards I thought the dark dark floors would make me happy.
      Can’t wait to see what you choose!

    47. Great post! I felt absolutely compelled to comment with my personal experience. My hubs and I built a house in 2010 with floors that looked a lot like a cross between the gray/brown and gray samples. I had quite a few people in my ear saying how they would ‘show dirt’ and be hard to keep clean. I thought to myself, that’s just crazy, we are clean people and I would have no problem finding ten minutes a day to run the dust mop over the whole thing. Boy did I learn the hard way! I loved the way the floors looked, especially with my white walls, but they ALWAYS looked dirty. Maybe there was a fifteen minute span after a cleaning where things were fine and the dog hadn’t shed(white hair, I was clearly insane) or drooled or no one had walked in from outside with shoes on and all was right in the world. The absolute worst part was when we were entertaining. We would clean the floors in preparation for our guests and as soon as the first person walked in there would be a lovely footprint trail through the whole house. It was awful. So bad that when my husband suggesting selling the house to build again(he is a builder and gets ‘the itch’ to build) I thought HOORAY I can pick new floors! We are now in our new home with a gorgeous light blondish colored hickory engineered wood floor. This floor has much more color movement in it also, so dirt just blends in. So much better!

      My number one suggestion would be to get the largest sample you can and bring it home. Take the dog over there and shake him off. Have the kids walk all over it. Give that sample a taste of what it will be like to live in your house. Perhaps my final floor choice isn’t the exact ‘look’ I would have gravitated towards, but it is so much more practical and does still look amazing with white walls. Best of luck! I have no doubt whatever you pick will be beautiful; I just hope it doesn’t also drive you crazy! I’d totally miss the blog if you get committed. ;)

    48. About a year and a half ago, we redid our wood floors with a light brown/gray stain. It’s warm and modern. I love it & would not change a thing! As a fellow follower of HouseTweaking, I also admire Dana’s style and seek a clean, modern asthetic for our home. We do many textural neutrals and also high contrast black and white. The floor color could not be better (unless we had the dreamy painted white wood). But, I also live in Seattle and didn’t want to chase my kids around with a mop. Hope this helps. Happy decision-making!

    49. We have the light grey/brown in our condo. Here is the link. I love it. I first wanted the dark brown but with scratches in the wood I thought it would show too much. I’m so happy with our choice. It has really warm feel. We had to do engineered wood because we are in a condo and the subfloor is concrete. The floor choice we went with has a thick wear layer so if in the future we want to refinish it we can. The hand scraped would be gone but it gave us the option to refinsh later down the road. We used Lane Hardwoods. They are located in N Seattle. They did a great job.

    50. I will never again have white floors (tile or wood). It shows every scuff, every speck of dirt, lint, etc. They constantly look filthy especially in high traffic areas. I’m a bit of a clean freak so this consistently drives me crazy.

    51. Yay! So glad your doing this post! I’m needing to do the same. Decide on new floors and these are my delimmas. Which one? Can’t wait to see!

    52. I have what appears to be the same brown engineered wood floors downstairs. They are still dark enough to require regular dusting. They are also resilient to scratching but not to denting. We have had them 2 years.

      I have an identical color laminate upstairs for my three boys and it is indestructable. They drop Legos and cars all the time and they appear like new after 8 mos.

      If I was staying forever or wasn’t too concerned about what buyers in my area would want on the main level, I’d put laminate throughout but pay for the highest upgrade of sound proofing. Walk on samples. Laminate on a first story is echo-y as it is not glued down.

    53. We have dark brown hickory floors and I love them. Engineered wood is the only way to get the rustic, hand scraped look and the best way to go on a slab. The dark floors do show dirt and lighter dog hair, but they are worth it to me. I sweep or vacuum every other day or so and do not have to mop them much. The crisp look of the white walls with the dark floors is such a classic warm look. It is worth a little extra cleaning to me!

    54. In our last home, we had the brown, engineered floors like Dana’s installed. We loved them. They were easy to take care of and we liked how they looked. They really didn’t show dirt too much either, which I was surprised about, especially with two small kids. We would have chosen this wood again in our current home, but it came with blonde maple that works fine for us. I love the dark gray/brown that you chose. You have such good taste that I’m sure that anything will look great!

      P.S. So glad that you love House Tweaking also! Your blog and Dana’s are two of my favorite blogs to read each day! :)

    55. While I absolutely love the idea of dark brown flooring and the modern, contrast it provides, I am regretting my decision on the purchase of our dark espresso hardwoods. Being that I am an architect, design aesthetics weighed more heavily in my decision than I should have let them. It’s not the dirt that is bad…I can sweep…no big deal. It’s the footprints. The second you walk on them after you mop – either barefoot or not – you will see footprints. And with a 3 year old running around the house, you can imagine the tiny footprints left everywhere. :) I would advise something with contrast within the grains if you are to go dark. Hope that helps a little.

    56. My parents had the “brown” one like you show here–hand hewn, I think. It’s a pain for getting clean between the boards and gets lots of pebbles, etc. stuck there.

      We’d wanted hand-hewn for our house but have decided against it based on that fact alone.

    57. As classic as brown would be, I’d have to agree that some gray would work very nicely and not be too dark. So I think you should go with dark gray/brown. Yes, it will be more of a challenge to keep clean…but hey you’ve got 4 slaves, I mean, kids! ha!
      We have dark brown/walnut floors (similar to your last choice, but real hardwoods) and I find our area rugs are dirtier than our floors. Then again we only have one kid and no pets. So that may be why. I have a girl friend who has dark floors and she just wears these around the house… Maybe they can be stocking stuffers for the family this year? Can’t wait to see them in a future “what I wore” post….ha! Sorry having way too much fun with that at your expense! Can’t wait to see what you choose.

    58. Can I just start off by saying I absolutely LOVE your home! Thank you for all of the inspiration you give me when trying to finish my own!
      So we actually have engineered hardwoods very similar to Dana’s in color and texture. When we were deciding on solid vs. engineered our supplier explained a major difference between the two is expansion and contraction due to humidity levels in the home. Since we live in Iowa with lots of humidity in the summer and prefer to have our windows open whenever possible engineers were the way to go for us. Apparently engineered hardwoods don’t expand and contract as much as solids do (or can). We installed our engineered hardwoods over a solid hardwood and the old solid floors had major gaps in the winter. We’ve had our engineered floors for 2 years now and no gaps (year round). Now, at first they were extremely difficult to keep clean. So we started doing some research and we figured out our issue was the broom. A broom just stirs up the dust so as soon as the dust settles the floors would look dusty all over again. We found a hardwood cleaning kit that included a dust mop and it has made all the difference in the world! It’s so easy and super fast to do a quick mopping of the floor. A night and day difference! So if you go with a darker floor just remember dust mop!
      Also, I agree with you with the color of the engineered having a more traditional feel. I think of the options I like the dark gray brown! Though you really can’t go wrong with any of the options you have!

    59. We have light colored hardwood. Our home is about 50 years old and it is original. When we moved we renovated, ripped out the carpet, sanded, and varnished. This was about 10 years ago before colored hardwood was really a thing. I love it. Sure, it’s not very up to date as far as color. Sure, it shows dust bunnies. But just about everything else blends in until I have time to clean it up! So well, in fact, that I FORGET to clean it up. I love the look of the more modern dark floors but hearing they show dirt makes me lover my natural color a lot. I just change the look of the space by what I put it in it. I can tell that whatever you choose is going to look great. I hope you love it! Actually, that’s the best tip I have. Once you choose, also choose to love it. Don’t live in regret. It’s not your forever home. Love it and keep going!

    60. Would you please tell me the brand of the white hardwood? You said it was more of a cream -white instead of white-white, and that’s what I’m looking for. Thanks

    61. Jennifer, yo might be talking about laminate? Engineered is REAL wood, just a thin layer of it. I have engineered hardwood. It’s fine, cost no object I’d get solid hardwood. Mine is a traditional brown (more red in it than I’d pick now but whatever.) The downside to engineered is that if you ever need it refinished it can only be refinished once, twice at most, and you probably want a profssional do it, because if you sand too much off you’ve sanded all the way through the wood. The only other drawback is appearance, mine is an older product that mimics the look of smaller planks on wide strips. Hard to explain, but if you look at it you know it’s not solid planks, but it’s clearly not laminate either. If I ever get to the point of needing to refinish I might paint mine white. So my vote colorwise is traditional brown. I like classic and I think it grounds a space.

    62. Can I ask what your hang up is with the engineered hardwood? We are closing on a house this weekend and scrambling trying to pick a wood to have it done prior to moving everything in :)

      Obviously, engineered loses a lot of the texture you get with real hardwoods, but we have been able to find some really nice engineered hardwoods with the same texture as the real wood. Are there other hangups you have?

      1. Hey Jennifer! My husband is a homebuilder and in our house we went with engineered hardwoods based on everything he knows and has put in all of the custom homes he has built and highly recommends it. Solid hardwoods are more expensive but can be refinished any number of times so they will be floors that last several lifetimes. Engineered have the durability but could only technically be refinished about 3-4 times if you ever needed to sand/restain. It seems that most people go the engineered floor route. We’ve done it in several friends homes as well and it has been great!

      2. We have engineered wood floors because we were laying the wood over a slab. I did a lot of research and for every web site that said “It’s okay to lay wood over a slab” there were ten that said, “Don’t do it — use engineered wood.” We got a very good quality product, so it can be refinished a number of times — but it IS “real wood.” It’s just made in layers — like plywood — with the grain going in different directions so that it doesn’t warp or shrink, which is a concern when laying directly on top of a slab. I chose light wood because I like light — light walls, light floors, light, light, light! Doesn’t show dirt at all. I love our floors!

    63. We have something similar to the dark brown/gray one in our dining room (which gets a lot of use because we have a large family) and while I still love the color and warm of it…it does show dirt terribly. Having lived with it, I’d probably go with a lighter color if I had to do it again.

      1. If you want to take advise from an older gal who’s been thru this (my husband & I are in our 60’s) with kids, etc. I love your choice for the warmer brown. It give warmth to the house just as you said. However, in our master bath, we choose the white look of wood but it was tile. Much cheaper & looks the same as wood. Might want to check into that, if your master bath is large. Other than that, I think you will be happy with the warm brown.

    64. We have those dark floors. I chose them and I love them. Our walls are gray and it looks great and we get many compliments. That being said, I will never pick them for a house again. Just not practical with kids. (We have 3 and one on the way) EVERY footprint shows. Every crumb, every speck of dust. And it sounds like you already know this. They clean up very pretty, but don’t stay that way long unfortunately. I know you will choose what you love, and I hope I don’t sound rude. I’m just tired of cleaning floors! Just a piece of advice. :)

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