After years of dark floors, we're finally lightening up again. But don't start to panic about light maple elbowing its way back into your home. The new light wood has more texture, more color variance, more beauty. And, its return to vogue may also signal an important economic trend.
"During the economic downturn, people gravitated toward the traditional dark colors. But with the economy improving, (there is) a rise in the demand for lighter tones," said the Orange County Register. "Some of these are finished to look like driftwood or washed in white to make them look beachy. The look is popular on both coasts and is growing elsewhere in the country."
The newspaper also sees "a growing popularity in what are referred to as ‘domestic exotics,' like hickory and ash. Walnut is growing in popularity, and if left natural, is much lighter than traditionally dark-stained walnut. Many of us remember the pickled light woods of 25 years ago. The gray, white and lighter multiple stain color processes of today are this generation's version of that trend.
If you're ready to lighten up, here are a few options you might want to consider.
A variegated look brings warmth and interest.
Ultra-wide planks set a beautiful foundation.
Go rustic and reclaimed.
Not unique enough? How about floors made from wine barrels?
Bring in grey tones for a modern look.
Curved wood "that follow a tree's natural growth" are a hit in Europe, said interior design firm Beasley & Henley.
Want the look without the work? Porcelain tile resembles wood without the upkeep.
You can also get a similar effect with hard-wearing vinyl planks that look like wood.