6 Types of Flooring You'll Love Now and in 20 Years
One of the biggest design choices you'll make when building or renovating your home is your space's flooring type. Not only does it set the tone for the entire project, but it can also be costly and time consuming to undo if you're not pleased with the results. For those reasons, it's always best to select a flooring style that stands the test of time, rather than opting for a recent trend.
Look to natural materials, like wood and stone, when considering which types of flooring are long lasting. "Trends come and go, but nothing can match the timeless simplicity of materials that provide visual warmth, tactile engagement, and connect the inside and outside in continuity," says Kristin Washco, design director at MADERA.
Flooring types that never go out of style are also ones that become more attractive with age. "Natural materials age in a way that actually increases their beauty over time, building up a palimpsest made richer with use," says Washco.
Why Flooring Types Go Out of Style
Flooring trends come and go for a handful of reasons, but often the reason is rooted in trying to make a material something it's not. Altering a natural substance—whether to change its color or give it a surface treatment—can take away from its timelessness.
Even synthetic flooring, which is designed to keep weathering at bay, will inevitably degrade over time—and often doesn't age as well as its organic counterparts. "It is important when selecting materials to consider how they will look 10, 20, 50, and 100 years from now," Washco says. "Are you designing for the moment, or for generations to come?"
Is there truly anything more timeless than simple hardwood floors? The material comes in many different colors and patterns, which allows you to choose a look that complements your personal aesthetic. When considering the type of wood floors you want, certain finishes may be more hardwearing and ageless than others.
This strong and durable wood is an excellent choice for flooring. "European oak is one of the most spectacular species of deciduous hardwoods on the planet," Washco says.
Inspired by Scandinavian design, this flooring type offers a bright and airy color palette and minimal texture that is beloved by architects and designers alike. "Use and proper care will actually make naturally finished European oak floors better with time," Washco says.
Northern White Oak
Northern white oak trees can grow up to 130 feet tall, producing straight logs that are crafted into stunning planks. The material is likely what comes to mind when you think of wood flooring. "Relying on quality finishing techniques and a less-is-more approach is a great way to achieve honest, unrefined, undisturbed, and unblemished flooring."
When adding Northern white oak flooring to your home, look for neutral finishes with a natural texture, which will complement other materials in your space, like stone and tile.
American black walnut is another type of wood that yields timeless planks for flooring. It's beloved by furniture makers for its beautiful color, dynamic grain pattern, and workability. "Though softer than oak and ash, black walnut can be crafted into amazing floor planks, and is favored in herringbone, chevron and other more traditional parquet," Washco says.
Few flooring types are better than tile, especially if you want something that can be used in any room of your house. "It comes in a wide range of colors, textures, finishes, and prices," says Kerrie Kelly, creative director of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. "Tile is universally appealing, sustainable, and easy to maintain."
Opt for natural stone tile, which includes everything from limestone to marble; it's built to withstand weathering and aging. "Over time, natural stone develops a patina that is unique to the traffic patterns of the space," Kelly says.
Travertine is a type of natural stone that has proven to stand the test of time—largely because it doesn't compete with other design elements in the home. "It also has a natural quality that can be paired with both a traditional home and a modern one," says Samantha Gallacher, owner and designer of Art & Loom. "The variation in color allows it to have a weathered look and withstand stains."
Similar to travertine, limestone ranges from warm to cool finishes and meshes well with a range of interior design concepts. "It is a bit more porous and is not recommended for wet conditions—but it looks fabulous in living spaces of a home," says Gallacher.
For bathroom flooring, marble tile is an obvious choice when opting for a timeless look. "Whether in a herringbone, hexagon, or basketweave, your marble flooring will always look gorgeous and classic," says Amy Studebaker of Amy Studebaker Design.
Marble comes in a range of finishes, ranging from light to dark hues, so you'll easily be able to find an option that fits your aesthetic. "If paired with the right furniture pieces, a green or merit-toned marble can be found in historic interiors as well as modern ones," says Gallacher.