Let It Flow
As more and more homes are designed with open floor plans, the flooring choice must follow suit. Avoid seams between spaces by installing planks that naturally flow from room to room without awkward dividers. Consistency in flooring makes for an appealing aesthetic and easier cleaning in the long run.
Soften with Rugs
Wood lacks the softness of carpet but is not nearly as hard as tile underfoot. Repeated footsteps over the course of a day can cause discomfort, so minimize the effect and any adverse impact on the body with area rugs that add comfort. Layering area rugs on top of wood floors helps to define sitting rooms in open spaces and anchor sofas and accent chairs into a cohesive group.
Wood flooring is a natural pairing in traditional interiors, but a welcome juxtaposition against sleek modern elements. Further the drama with contemporary cabinet choices, streamlined hardware, and lighting in a space that lacks frill and embraces clean lines.
Mix Don't Match
Ignore any notion that requires wood tones to match. A modern approach to design purposefully blends the rough and rustic with the stained and polished in varied stains and grains for a collected-over-time look. A slat stump end table is perfectly at home against raw wood accents or graywash wood floors.
Balance the visual weight and firmness of wood with softer fabrics and area rugs. To contrast the hard surface, consider sheepskin or lambswool to add softness and airy textiles in the form of window treatments or cotton sheets. Glass lamps and metallic light fixtures and curtain rods also help to make this bedroom feel layered and cozy.
See the Light
In a home that possesses dark floors throughout, pull light into a room in clever ways with lighter cabinet choices, white painted walls, or patterned area rugs that provide rich contrast. At the same time, allow natural light to penetrate the space to showcase the beauty of the stained wood grain.
Wood Floors as a Neutral
Treat wood floors that lack intense yellow or red undertones as a neutral, freely layering furniture and accents in your palette of choice. In this dining nook, the beauty of wood floors is exposed by the purposeful elimination of an area rug and the lighter upholstered chairs and unique rattan pedestal dining table that sit on top.
Take the spotlight away from wood floors by layering in painted pieces. Take a cue from this cheerful kitchen's painted island and brightly colored bar stools which pull the eye up and away from wood floors and focus instead on the colorful accents. Work around unattractive or damaged floors you may have inherited by employing the same tactics of artful distraction.
Kate Riley is the author of the decorating blog Centsational Girl where she features her own DIY projects and remodeling stories and writes regularly about great interior design.