Rhode Island 2014 Trends for Hardwood Flooring

Rhode Island 2014 Trends for Hardwood Flooring


2014 Trends for Hardwood flooring – Rhode Island – What’s hot and stylish in flooring

Now that 2014 has started, Ginny Gorman thought it would be helpful for me, Debbie Gartner, to share the trends I’m seeing in hardwood floors for North Kingstown Rhode Island real estate. Let me preface this by saying that different people have different tastes. When choosing a hardwood floor (or color), it’s most important that you choose what you like and what goes with your house/decor. Don’t just choose something because it’s popular – choose what works for you. If, on the other hand, you are about to sell your house, choose what appeals to the majority and works with the style of your home.


1. Dark hardwood floors

Hardwood flooring trends 2014 narragansett RIYes, dark is in! The top picks are ebony and jacobean stain colors. These dark colors give a rich and contemporary look. Ebony is a bit darker and cooler; Jacobean is a bit lighter, browner and warmer.

Ebony is a tad more modern and jacobean a tad more traditional, but they are both chic, upscale and stylish. Darker floors are definitely a bit more challenging to maintain as they show dirt and scratches a bit more. For site finished floors, I generally recommend oil based poly (as it looks better/lasts longer/gives a darker look) and an extra coat of poly on the 1st/main floors as this area is has higher traffic. Also, it’s ideal to take your shoes off and wear socks (rather than go barefoot). The oils from your feet tend to show up more on dark floors. You can read more about this trend here: dark hardwood flooring.


Dark hardwood floors ebony - 2014 hardwood flooring trends rhode islandFor those looking to go as dark as possible, if you are adding in new oak floors, choose white oak flooring over red oak as white oak is slightly darker (and browner and less red) and will therefore give you a darker look.



2. Shift towards browns and golds (and away from reds and oranges).

2014 hardwood floor refinishing rhode island east greenwichRegardless of whether light floors, dark floors or mid tones are right for you and your home, there definitely is a preference and a shift towards browns/golds and away from reds and oranges. The browns and golds are more neutral and easier to decorate with – easier to match paint colors, area rugs, pillows, other pieces of wood furniture, bedding and window treatments.


Brown colors will give you flexibility both for now, as well as from a few years from now if you want to make some decorating changes. Red tones will often clash with other reds, burgundy’s, magentas, oranges as well as some beiges.


3. Gray hardwood floors/gray stains

2014 hardwood trends - gray floors north kingstown rhode islandAs they say, “gray is the new black” and this color has been so hot these last few years – for floors and walls. They’ve been showing it in tile and carpet for years, and then pre-finished hardwood – you will often see the grays in maples and birches as these woods absorb the darker brown and ebony stain differently. And, now, over the last year or two, we’ve been getting lots of requests to sand and refinish existing oak floors gray.



gray hardwood oak 2014 flooring trends for north kingstown rhode islandGray stained hardwood floors can be achieved by mixing a combo of white wash and ebony stain (and testing mixtures and ratios) so that you can go from light to dark gray pending your preference and pending your wall colors. This is definitely more expensive than your typical cost of refinishing hardwood floors both due to the process and passes of color, as well as the fact that you need to use a water based polyurethane – otherwise, the floors will start to turn yellow over time as the poly amberizes. And, because water based poly doesn’t last as long as oil based poly, you will usually want to do an extra coat of poly and perhaps upgrade to a higher grade of polyurethane. All of these cause the prices to rise, and we typically do gray floors in very upscale homes.

While gray is very stylish now, it probably won’t last forever, and another super stylish look is to do gray walls and ebony floors (as mentioned above) along with gray area rugs/pillows/accents.

4. Site finished floors rather than pre-finished floors

2014 hardwood flooring trends for north kingstown rhode island homesThe bevel is out! Most homeowners in Rhode Island prefer hardwood floors that are sanded and refinished on site for smooth edges and a better flow. These floors just look more “real” vs. pre-finished hardwoods that have microbevel edges. The smoothness looks better and it’s easier to clean (vs. the bevels can collect dirt and crumbs). These floors are better sealed too, and this is even more important for kitchens (vs. on pre-finished floors, often the edges have areas where there is no stain or poly so both less protection and you can see the lighter color of the wood underneath. Also, many homes in our area already have some hardwood floors, so if you’re looking to add hardwood to rooms and have a consistent color and look, finishing the wood on site is the way to go. It also gives customers the option to test and customize the stain to their liking before committing to it.

Below are 2 images to show bevel edges. These are much easier to see in person vs. viewing them online. But compare the bevel edges vs. the smooth floors in the above picture.

pegged hardwood with bevel edge in Rhode Island real estate canyon crest bevel edges narragansett ri homes








5. Satin finishes

2014 hardwood flooring trends satin finish narragansett RI homesGlossy and semi gloss are out! Yes, a satin finish is by far the most stylish and popular choice here. I’d say that about 90% of my customers prefer this finish and most do not like a glossy finish which tends to look a bit dated. Also, glossier finishes are less practical as they show the dents and scratches more as more light reflects off of them. Ask any designer…and they will agree, it’s a satin finish all the way, no questions asked.

Valenza ruby red flooring in north kingstown RI homes for sale


To the left is a glossy finish (these are a bit more challenging to capture properly on camera, but you can see it’s much more shiny than the above satin finish. Glossy shows every foot print, crumb and scratch. It’s just a lot more maintenance and often these floors need to be sanded and refinished sooner since you notice their imperfections sooner.



6. Hardwood in kitchens

2014 hardwood trends kitchens with dark hardwood floors narragensett ri homesYes, hardwood now seems to be the most popular type of flooring, even above tile. Check out all the fashionable home and decor magazines, as well as websites. You’ll see they are all featuring hardwood floors. In a nutshell, the preference for hardwood is due to 1) makes your space look larger and more continuous (even more important with the shift towards open floor plans), 2) it’s softer and warmer of your feet vs. tile, 3) it’s easier to clean and 4) it’s usually less expensive. You can read more about it here – Which is better for kitchens – hardwood or tile?


hardwood in rhode island kitchen 2014 in north kingstown homes for saleBy the way, we are also seeing more white cabinets in kitchens as they tend to go better with hardwood floors.


Likewise, we are seeing more hardwood in entryways and powder rooms – all one continuous flow of hardwood for a larger and more cohesive space.



7. Wider planks floors for a more contemporary style

2014 trends wider hardwood planks rhode island real estateWider planks make the space look larger and they make the space look more contemporary. The traditional 2 1/4″ oak strip is less popular, and most opt for wider planks of 3 1/4″, 4″ and even 5″. Often, when we are adding new wood, customers in Westchester prefer to go wider. If there is existing hardwood, some prefer to match it while many will opt for a wider plank, especially if it will be in the kitchen, the master bedroom, a new floor or a new section of the house. The important thing is to maintain the same color. Sometimes, in the new areas, we will change the direction of the hardwood (e.g. go on a diagonal) for extra impact.


Please note that for solid hardwood that is 5 inch or wider, you should both nail and glue it as these boards tends to expand and contract more.

8. Vintage style hardwood

2014 hardwood flooring trends - vintage wood-north kingstown ri homesThis trend is very taste specific, and it tends to be preferred by a small niche of the population, often those with more sophisticated tastes and larger budgets. It is not a style for everyone, and it works well in certain types of homes – homes that are older and more rustic or vintage in style (e.g. those built in the 1700’s and 1800’s and even early 1900’s. And, it can also work in some more contemporary homes that mix old and new world styles. It’s vintage hardwood, and there are many facets or nuances for this look.


  • handscraped hardwood 2014 vintage wood trendsDistressed and hand scraped hardwood – the hand scraped woods are literally scraped by hand with scraping instruments to give an old world and authentic look. The stain then pools in these areas for a vintage style. Distressed hardwood is often done by machines meant to mimic the hand scrape process. Needless to say, no two hand scraped pieces are the same, and they cost more as they are both more unique and take longer to make.
  • Reclaimed wood – often pine, but sometimes oak or maple – as the name implies, these woods are reclaimed and reused. They typically come in wider and longer planks which also makes them more expensive.
  • Knotty woods and woods with lots of character (e.g. knotty pine, rustic maple, hickory). These woods just have lots of character – many knots and lots of color variation for an old world look.
  • Random or multiple width boards – often 3″/5″/7″ – This is how some of the wood in older homes were made, especially in barns and farmhouses. Some of the woods come presorted in multiple widths; others can be ordered in the right ratios to achieve this look.
  • 2014 hardwood trends - oiled hardwood in rhode islandOiled hardwood floors – this can be achieved via pre-finished oiled floors or via refinishing with rubio monocoat. These types of floors are more expensive to achieve and often require more maintenance, but some people love love love them not only for their look but also because they can easily patch small areas that get scratched without having to sand and refinish the whole floor.

rustic vintage hardwood narragansett RI


hickory character grade hardwood rhode island

rustic maple in rhode island



As you can see from above pictures, there are many variations on the vintage theme. Most vintage hardwoods are rustic or distressed in some way, and generally come in wider planks, and often more matte or satin finishes. It’s basically an antique look for your floor.

2014 hardwood flooring trend summary

So that’s what I’m seeing for hardwood flooring trends in 2014. Not every style or color works for every taste or home, but hopefully this will provide some great style tips for your hardwood flooring projects.

Map of North Kingstown, Rhode Island

It is my pleasure to have Debbie Gartner guest post on my RI coastal real estate web site.  Knowing how well her specialty flooring knowledge is and I hope my RI readership will learn from this article.  This post is from Debbie Gartner aka The Flooring Girl and discusses hardwood flooring trends for 2014. This should come in handy for those looking to sell their Rhode Island homes as well as for those moving into new homes looking for design advice.

Rhode Island 2014 Trends for Hardwood Flooring


Whether you are buying or selling in the RI coastal real estate market, I would love the opportunity to earn your trust and business.

As always, call me, Ginny Lacey Gorman, when you are need of a specialist in home listing and staging information at (401) 529-7849 so we can discuss your RI real estate options.


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