The 4 Most Popular Trends in Hardwood Flooring Right Now, According to Real Estate Agents

published Feb 1, 2023
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For the hardwood fans out there, there’s nothing more thrilling than a gorgeous original hardwood floor in a century-old townhouse, or, say, ripping up 50-year old tile to reveal pristine wood planks below. 

Yet for years, hardwood played second fiddle to wall-to-wall carpet. Then came the luxury vinyl plank trends. Despite all its competitors, hardwood floors are still a classic — and many homebuyers agree. Marie Bromberg, a real estate agent with Compass in New York City, sets the stage: “I cannot overstate how important flooring is to a home. It is probably the single most important factor in giving a home its ‘vibes.’”

Though synthetic and engineered options have become popular recently, Leda Broxson, a Realtor with Spears Group at Compass in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, notes that hardwood has been used since the 1600s — and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Trends change, Oak floors continue their dominance.

Oak, bamboo, and maple continue to be the most popular hardwood options, with walnut and its striking grain making an occasional appearance. 

But there’s one runaway favorite: Oak overtakes 60 percent of the hardwood market. It takes a stain easily, it lasts for years, and it has the classic hardwood look that many buyers look for.

Wide plank floors are making a comeback.

Wide plank is on the rise again, and Broxson notes that recent trends include red and white oak wide plank floors. She says we’ll see more light and almost bleached tones and dark espresso colors coming back, as well.

Bromberg notes that these wide plank oak floors add an extra dose of flair. Think of every home renovation show where you’ve watched a DIYer excitedly rip up 1950s carpet to reveal original wide plank floors. Now imagine that you just bought those brand-new. It’s a splurge, but it’s one that will last. “Not only does wide plank oak impart all the warmth we want from wood, it’s also incredibly durable and will last through the generations with just minimal maintenance efforts,” adds Bromberg.

Lived-in flooring is having a moment.

“I have noticed a trend, which I fully support, which is to have not just ‘raw’ flooring, but flooring reflective of how we live,” Bromberg says. “No longer are people struggling to maintain the picture perfect, scratch-free floor.” 

She sees buyers and sellers embracing imperfection, including scratches, paint, and blotchiness on the floor. Bromberg notes that it makes it less stressful when you don’t feel like you’re in a museum and instead feel like you have permission to live in your home. 

Plus, she adds, “A well-used floor has a certain character and gravitas that a newly-placed floor doesn’t. I think people want a home that has a story to tell and not one that is striving to be as blemish-free as possible.”

Buyers look for durable choices.

Though surprising to some, bamboo is one of the most durable flooring choices. “Comparing bamboo to oak flooring, bamboo is actually harder, more eco-friendly, and in most cases more affordable,” says Broxson, which makes it a smart choice if you’re looking to retain value in your home or stay there for years to come.

Bromberg explains that bamboo is popular with green buildings since it is affordable and regrows quickly, making it a sustainable option. And this quick regrowth has one other big advantage — “I know several homeowners who tired of waiting for their lumber during the Covid crisis and opted for bamboo instead just to ‘get the job done,’” says Bromberg.

Is anything on its way out?

For those who can’t stand to see a gray tone floor, I have good news. Broxson says, “Flooring color trends that are going out or have been out of style for awhile are orange and honey tones and gray.”