Hardwood kitchen flooring is a classic for a reason: this incredibly versatile material supports any decor style, from French Country chic to boho minimalism. Elect for a dark finish to give your space a moody vibe, or choose a lighter stain — or no stain at all — for drool-worthy Scandi style.
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Here's what you need to know before picking and installing wood flooring in your space.
Which type of hardwood kitchen flooring should I choose?
There are two primary types of hardwood flooring: solid and engineered. Solid hardwood flooring is made from a single piece of wood and tends to be slightly thicker. While these boards are more prone to expanding and contracting as the seasons change, they're also easier to maintain. You can sand and restain solid hardwood as many times as you'd like.
Engineered hardwood, however, is created by stacking several thin strips of wood on top of each other. This helps prevent expansion and contraction, but also means you can only sand down your hardwood floors a limited number of times before they start to show wear.
Which is the species of hardwood flooring is best for the kitchen?
Generally, you'll want to look for a harder species, like oak, maple, or cherry. These common hardwoods are readily found and average-priced. The harder the species, the less likely your gorgeous new flooring is to scratch, keeping it in excellent shape for longer.
There are also specialty woods that may suit you, if you're searching for a look that's truly one-of-a-kind. Popular options include mahogany, Brazilian cherry, and tigerwood — but keep in mind these softer varieties require more maintenance.
Pros of Hardwood Kitchen Flooring
Hardwood flooring is beautiful, and with proper care, it will last for many years to come. It's also flexible: If you renovate in five years and the current stain no longer suits your space, no problem. Just sand down the floors and refinish.
It's also fairly durable. While hardwood kitchen flooring isn't as water-resistant as stone or laminate, a little water spill won't cause your floors any harm. Just make sure to wipe up the mess immediately.
Unlike tile, hardwood kitchen flooring is softer and warmer — and not just in appearance. Cold tile can make early mornings miserable to walk on, but wood flooring won't make your toes shiver.
Cons of Hardwood Kitchen Flooring
However gorgeous, using hardwood flooring in your kitchen does have some drawbacks. First: it's expensive. You'll pay between $9 and $18, including installation, per square foot for a mid-grade wood like cherry.
Expect to pay for refinishing every decade or so, too, costing between $970 and $1,250 for a 300-square-foot kitchen. That added expense can definitely be stressful on the budget, so make sure to account for it before installation.
And while hardwood floors feel softer than natural stone tiled floors, if you have sensitive feet, consider going with something a bit softer, like cork or linoleum — or add a cozy rug. Washing a big load of dishes on a hard floor can be less than supportive.
Hardwood Kitchen Flooring Inspiration
Natural materials keep even the boldest accents — like this black backsplash — from overwhelming any space. And thanks to the wood furniture and hardwood flooring seen in this Scandi-chic kitchen, the contrasting color palette doesn't come off as stark, but warm and inviting instead.
There are a lot of exciting elements in this rustic kitchen from Emily Henderson — hello wood cabinets! Black accents throughout, such as the base of the island, not only anchor the design but also add visual breaks so the hardwood kitchen flooring doesn't get lost in the matching floor-to-ceiling cabinetry.
Wood floors always look right, no matter whether you're shooting for a contemporary, midcentury, farmhouse, or dreamy modern kitchen design like this one belonging to jewelry designer Anders Forup. The herringbone floor pattern perfectly complements the rich, dark wood cabinetry, iconic Louis Poulsen pendants, and mismatched dining chairs all working together to create an upscale retreat.
Where to buy hardwood kitchen flooring:
You guessed it — this retailer sells lumber at prices that promise to be very friendly to your budget. Engineered maple, for example, starts at a mere $2.69 per square foot.
Everyone's favorite big box retailer offers a wide variety of engineered and solid hardwood kitchen flooring, as well as all the tools you'll need to tackle a DIY installation.
Floor and Decor offers hardwood flooring in a variety of species, including luxury and exotic woods.