Monday, December 17, 2012

Decorate With Hardwood Floors

Some people devote money or sweat equity into restoring hardwood floors to their original beauty, while others rip out carpeting or tile to reveal the hardwood floors hiding beneath. There are also those people who move into houses or apartments with new hardwood floors, happy with their good luck. However, making rooms look their best and most stylish with hardwood floors can slam against the hard reality of protecting and maintaining them. Choose decor for rooms with hardwood floors that has the look you like and also the qualities hardwood floors demand. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Clean and maintain your hardwood floors. Avoid using polishes that leave a waxy veneer on the wood. Instead, a gentle oil-based soap and warm water rinse keep most hardwood floors clean and looking presentable. Use only small quantities of water for cleaning. In between wet mopping, keep your hardwood floors dust and debris-free with dry dusting. Microfiber cloths work extremely well on hardwood floors.

2. Establish a palette in the room that complements hardwood flooring. The mid-century modern look of sunny yellow or cooler sophisticated gray has a pleasant neutral look with lighter hardwood floors. Darker hardwood floors can take earthier tones, such as the Tuscan villa look of terracotta, burnt umber and cobalt blue. Hardwood floors combine well with other natural materials, palettes and finishes, such as bamboo, sisal, stone, wicker, rattan and other wooden elements.

3. Consider floor coverings to accent hardwood floors. It may seem against your instinct to cover beautiful hardwood floors, but small pops of color, texture and design can protect high-traffic areas while also bringing out the hardwood flooring as a contrast. Try an Oriental rug in an entryway or as a runner on a stairway for a classic look. Modular carpet tiles are another option, and do not damage hardwood floors because they stick to each other rather than to the floor. Lay a rug beneath a coffee or dining room table, or use rugs to define separate vignettes within an open floor plan. Hardwood flooring can make rugs slippery, so invest in some vinyl rug pads to secure them.

4. Furnish your spaces with hardwood floors in mind. This means avoiding spiky or knobby feet on furniture, unless they have padding under them to protect the floor. Likewise, sharp metal or glass edges can prove dangerous unless you place them on mats or rugs. Try light and bright pieces such as tufted ottomans, hand-painted armoires or boldly patterned upholstery to warm up the hardwood floors for a bohemian modern look, or keep it starker with a Shaker-style table in antique white or a distressed wrought-iron bed frame for a minimalist or Japanese-inspired wabi-sabi simplicity.

5. Aim for accent, ambient and task lighting rather than overhead lighting. Nothing can kill the muted glow of quality hardwood floors more than fluorescent lights. Track lighting, recessed lighting, pendant lights and wall sconces can make hardwood floors reflect the lights and colors of the room. Table and floor lamps provide bright spots of light where necessary. Candles can also cast moody shadows across hardwood floors.

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