Wood Floors: Planning & Design

Planning and design issues for wood flooring vary with the materials you’re considering—linear materials like strip and plank, or square units like wood block or parquet. Linear materials make a strong directional statement by creating lines that run either the length or width of the room. Because this direction is so forcefully implicit from the material, you can use it either to enhance or alter the room’s visual proportions. For example, a proportionally narrow, long room will look wider and more spacious if you run the strips or planks across the width. (Check the direction of the joists; strip materials should run perpendicular to them.) On the other hand, wood block or parquet tiles make no directional statement, but do provide a very definite pattern, or even a complex mosaic.

(top) Kitchens are typically special areas where work joins pleasure—an easy gathering place for family and friends. Wood lends its inherent feeling of warmth and welcome, effectively counterbalancing the cool feeling of appliances and slick counter surfaces and softening the hard-edged effect of cabinetry. (bottom) Living rooms are often reserved for entertaining and may be maintained as the most formal room of the house. Yet they might be expected to perform other functions as well: workspace, play area, family room, or a place for quiet relaxation. Wood flooring works well in any of these situations with equal beauty and charm.

With both types of wood materials, you have a full range of detail options. You may want to punctuate the flooring field by contrasting it with a special border. If that border is very wide, the flooring field becomes an area in its own right, with the border serving as a transition to it. You can also “wrap” the floor up the wall with a classic, high baseboard, finished in the same tone as the flooring. Or you can create a crisp horizontal ground plane that joins the wall but remains quite distinct from it—baseboards, harmonizing with the wall color, will give you that effect. The profile of a baseboard as well as its height and color have a distinct effect on the over all feeling of a room.

The finished floor’s tone and sheen also contribute to the room’s ambient quality. Dark, lustrous floors feel heavy and grounded; they tend to contract the apparent size of the space. Lighter matte finishes create an expansive feeling of space.

When making your selections, think of the overall visual and ambient effect you’d like the room to have. Whatever choice you make—narrow strips, wide planks, or an intricate pattern of parquet; light or dark wood, textured or smooth, lustrous or matte—wood is one of the most beautiful and practical solutions for any floor in your house.

(top) Bedrooms are generally meant to be restful—at least for a certain portion of the day—giving a feeling of calm, coziness, and quietude. At other times, they might be used for hobbies, dressing, personal grooming, and concentrated study or work. Wood floors provide a practical and attractive background for these activities and render a pleasant feeling of ease and comfort in bedroom spaces. (bottom) Because bathrooms tend to be small spaces with particular practical requirements, floor surfaces need to be easy to clean and able to resist water. If appropriately finished and thoroughly sealed, wood flooring can successfully meet this requirement while maintaining its natural beauty.

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Wednesday, 2020-04-29 12:54