Why Homeowners Love Their Luxury Vinyl Tile Floors

Luxury vinyl tile

Kid and pet friendly luxury vinyl tile

If you have any interest in home decorating or remodeling, you’ve probably heard of luxury vinyl tile. LVT, or premium tile as it’s also called, is one of the hottest floor covering looks today and one whose sizzle shows no sign of cooling off. This is the “It” floor that everyone wants in their home. What makes this floor so fascinating?

Fascination factor of premium tile

Our attraction to premium tile is driven first by intriguing, nature-inspired styling and the opportunity to bring home an exciting new look. Luxurious materials such as travertine, slate, quartz, and marble have all been faithfully replicated in premium tile. Highly valued, earth-hewn materials now have an admirable “lookalike” that provides a personal and unique aesthetic to a room. Add to that irregular surface texturing and realism in mineral veining and sedimentary colorations, and you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between genuine stone and premium tile.

Performance pluses add up

Yes, luxury vinyl tile’s unique styling is pleasing to our senses, but it also delivers performance features that make it practical for everyday living. Let’s face it, most homeowners don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of a high-maintenance stone or ceramic floor – no matter how luxurious it looks – and certainly not when they can get that same look in an easy-care alternative.

Premium tile is designed with innovative technology, giving it superior resistance to scratches, stains, and wear and tear from furniture and foot traffic. Its thick, protective wear layer guarantees your floor can stand up to whatever daily life dishes out – clamoring kids, boisterous pets, falling athletic gear, spilled coffee, muddy shoes, and countless other everyday mishaps will not compromise the beauty of premium tile. Care and cleaning couldn’t be simpler, either . . . just sweep and mop occasionally as needed.

Comfort is another huge plus. Even though premium tile looks like stone or ceramic tile, homeowners love that it feels warm and soft underfoot. In addition to a welcoming surface, premium tile also offers good indoor air quality characteristics and won’t trap dust or pet dander, helping to reduce the presence of those allergens.

You’ll be happy to learn premium tile won’t break the budget. In fact, for all its proven performance and exceptional styling, this floor turns out to be a real value.

So let’s quickly run down the list of what’s fueling the fascination with premium tile:

  • Incredibly realistic designs
  • Enhanced styling
  • Wide variety of options
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Durability and comfort all wrapped up in a beautiful, budget-friendly floor.

The next time you’re looking to add to the decorative ambiance of your home, why not go all out in total luxury?

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Decked Out for the Holidays Means Keeping Floors Clean

You want your house to be in tip-top shape when guests come a’calling during the holidays. As gatherings of friends and family grow in frequency, don’t get stressed out about cleaning. Concentrate on keeping floors clean since they get more wear and tear than anything else. Whether you have hardwood, premium vinyl tile or laminate floors, try these easy and effective tips for keeping floors clean and your home will sparkle throughout the holiday season.
premium vinyl floor
Tips for keeping floors clean

Festive entrance mats – The best defense is a good offense for keeping floors clean. By placing mats at entranceways, 90% of dirt and moisture can be stopped at the door. Choose festive motifs that’ll help guests catch the spirit of the season.

Doff the shoes, don the socks – Naughty or nice, some guests may be put off by a request to remove shoes and boots, so do it with a twinkle in your eye. Have a basket of decorative socks, booties and slippers to give as gifts and ask guests to wear them while visiting.

Floor protectors – Your furniture is likely to dash around your home as guests come and go. Sticky-back felt floor protectors under the legs of tables and chairs will prevent scratches on hardwood floors. If you need to rearrange heavy furniture, use old socks as protectors.

Three wise brush tools – Perfect for every floor type, these sweeping and mopping tools are very inexpensive and perform specific tasks in keeping floors clean.

  • A long-handled rubber brush is indispensable in keeping floors clean of pet hair. Pliable rubber bristles conform to the surface and build a strong static charge that quickly and easily collects fur and hair. One pass is all it takes!
  • Dual-sided micro fiber mops pick up dust and dirt that can scratch floors. For quick damp cleaning, use a spray solution with one side of the mop, then dry with the other side.
  • For sudden spills, keep a sponge roller mop handy to absorb liquid, keeping floors clean and free of sticky residue. Sponge mops with a brush attachment are great for cleaning grout lines on premium vinyl tile flooring.

Scuttle the scuffs – Hard surfaces are susceptible to scuff marks. Tennis balls work beautifully in keeping your hardwood, laminate, premium vinyl tile or any hard surface floor clean of scuff marks. Carefully cut a one inch “X” in the ball and slip over the end of a broom handle. Simply rub the tennis ball over the scuff mark to remove. Re-use the tennis ball until it’s no longer effective. For stubborn marks, spritz ball with a silicone spray.

Keeping floors clean goes a long way in getting your home ready for holiday visitors. Turn on your favorite holiday music to help make the job go even faster.

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Here’s the Skinny on the Wide Plank Flooring Trend

Home furnishing trends for 2013 will continue to reflect a casual mood where the style is relaxed and products have a natural, rustic charm that is comforting and spontaneous. Wood accents and furnishings express the sentiment of being “one with nature”. This trend uses raw, organic, unrefined, and weather-beaten materials and finishes to celebrate the tactile qualities of a handcrafted era.

Bruce hand-scraped wide plank flooring

Hand-scraped wide plank flooring

It’s no surprise that wood flooring, particularly wide plank flooring, is riding high on this trend. The wider the plank, the more emphasis placed on tactile qualities. It’s in the aged, foot-worn wood with knots, worm holes, and areas of open grain that we see the beauty of nature. Wide plank flooring refers to board widths starting at 5” and going up to 7-8” and wider. While solid hardwood offers the most options, engineered and laminate wide plank flooring also come in a range of features.

Lots of choices in wide plank flooring

One thing great about wide plank flooring is that you’re not limited to any particular type or construction of wood. You’ll find wide planks in every species, from rustic pine and oak to the refined sophistication of walnut and the excitement of exotic hardwoods like Brazilian cherry. What’s more, the variety of sizes, colors, finishes, and textures ensures finding a style to match your personal taste and décor.

You can also count on wide plank flooring to fit every budget. Natural hardwood may be the gold standard, but the same beautiful looks and aesthetic feel are available in engineered hardwood and laminate wide plank flooring. Plus, you get the added benefit of material construction that can go where solid hardwood isn’t recommended, like basements and bathrooms.

“Wide” Range of Wide Plank Flooring Options

Here’s a look at what’s trending:

Hand-scraped – The softly wavy texture of hand-scraped wide plank flooring replicates the work of chisels skimming along the grain. Combined with a semi-gloss finish and darker wood shades, a hand-scraped floor can be elegant and perfectly at home in both traditional and formal décor.

Distressed – Beautifully worn floors have a special charm. Distressed wide plank flooring shows the dents, nail holes, gouges, and dings of boards naturally aged by time and repeated use.

Mixed width – Board groupings of various widths is one of the newest additions to the wide plank flooring trend. Presenting a staggered, random look, mixed-widths make a distinctive and unique floor.

Laminate – Also new to the wide plank flooring offerings, wide plank laminate constructions realistically capture the details of natural wood, including hand-scraped textures. Quality laminates are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, while being easier to clean and maintain, durable and costing less too.

We feel better and relaxed when we’re around natural elements, so why not bring these soothing qualities into your home? There’s nothing more appealing, more warm and natural, than beautiful wide plank flooring.

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Why We Love the Timeless Look of Slate Flooring

Armstrong slate-look premium vinyl tile

Slate-look premium vinyl tile

Millions of years in the making, the use of slate as a natural flooring material is almost timeless. Slate is a fine-grained stone comprised of thin layers of densely compressed sand and minerals. Its smooth surface is marked by riven clefts that appear when sections of thin layers break away. Each layer can exhibit a different color and character. When combined in slate flooring, the result is sumptuous passages of colors and textures that catch light in a dramatic way.

As distinctive and stylish as slate flooring is, when it comes to practicality, a stone floor starts to lose its appeal. Cold, brittle and heavy, slate flooring is not easy to live with for the average homeowner with an active family and busy lifestyle. It’s unforgiving to bare feet and padding paws, and it’s slippery when wet. And unless slate flooring is periodically sealed, it will show scratches and absorb stains.

Slate flooring for everyday living

Luckily, there’s an alternative to natural slate flooring that is as luxurious and convincing as the real thing, yet designed for everyday living. Premium vinyl tile has the look and texture of natural slate flooring, right down to the surface clefts.

The versatility of slate-look premium vinyl tile comes in the form of:

  • High-quality photo reproduction capturing the best features of natural slate
  • Durable wear layer resistant to scratches and scuffs
  • Nature-inspired spectrum of colors, from soft hues to statement-making bolds
  • Superior embossing delivering the textured surface of slate flooring
  • Natural limestone backing for structural strength and durability
  • Family-friendly and pet-friendly flooring that’s wear, water and stain-resistant
  • Easy to clean with regular sweeping or vacuuming and occasional damp mopping
Armstrong slate-look premium vinyl tile

Slate-look flooring comes in many color options

If you’re wondering how realistic premium vinyl tile slate flooring will look in your home, consider this: The tile-to-tile variation in premium vinyl tile is so great that you’re virtually assured of no noticeable pattern repeat. Just like in nature, premium vinyl tile slate flooring captures the refreshing realism of nature’s beauty with the colors, textures and random visuals.

Premium vinyl tile feels warmer and softer underfoot, and that makes it a joy to walk or stand on for long periods. You’ll be happy to know that it’s affordable too.

Just like slate quarried from the earth, premium vinyl tile slate flooring is refined and distinctive, adding character and timeless appeal to any room. It’s a luxury designed for everyday living.

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What You Absolutely Need to Know About Luxury Vinyl Tile

Luxury vinyl tile. The name can throw you off because it sounds expensive . . . and it sounds like, well, vinyl. Actually, luxury vinyl tile is quite affordable and, despite its vinyl component, has a natural flooring base. If you’re shopping for a new floor, you might want to consider this versatile, stylish and durable premium tile.

Armstrong luxury vinyl tile

Natural stone look in luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl tile
secrets revealed

Unbelievable visuals – Luxury vinyl tile pops with surprising realism thanks to high quality photo replication of natural materials like stone and ceramic. Additionally, superior embossing delivers the look and feel of natural flooring.

Affordable luxury – Manufacturing innovations can convincingly recreate the look of natural flooring materials for a much lower cost. When you’re standing on luxury vinyl tile, you’ll find it hard to tell that you’re not actually standing on slate, travertine or ceramic tile.

Stylish versatility – Since these premium tile floors capture the refreshing authenticity of nature’s beauty on a very comfortable surface, you’ll want that look in every room of the house. Luxury vinyl tile is designed to go in any room, including moisture-prone areas like bathrooms.

Exceptional durability – Unlike their lookalike natural counterparts, luxury vinyl tile has a durable construction made to resist scuffs, stains, scratches and high traffic. This hardworking floor has a natural limestone base that can stand up to active families, even pets, and still remain wear-free. For this reason, you’ll see lifetime warranties on premium tile brands.

Incredible comfort – For all its toughness, luxury vinyl tile is flexible and comfortable, meaning you can stand on it for long periods of time. Another plus is that it feels softer and warmer underfoot than stone or ceramic, and is much quieter than hard-surface natural flooring materials.

Ease of maintenance – Maintenance for luxury vinyl tile floors, even grouted ones, is minimal. There’s none of the sealing, polishing or specialty cleaners required for stone and ceramic. Simple damp mopping is all that’s recommended for cleaning.

Healthy choice – Luxury vinyl tile is not only easy to keep clean with eco-friendly products, but it’s designed to contribute to good indoor air quality. Look for the FloorScore® seal that certifies compliance with low volatile organic compound emissions (low VOCs).

Luxury vinyl tile is a practical choice for everyday living. You get the fabulous looks of premium tile with great performance characteristics that won’t bust your decorating budget. And with so many beautiful colors and natural textures available, plus the option to grout, you can create a custom look for your home.

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5 Flooring Tricks to Make a Room Look Bigger

Armstrong wide plank - Hickory

Wide-plank flooring

Somewhere in your home there’s probably a room that feels so small it’s hardly worth counting toward square footage. You’ve tried all the decorating tricks to open up that space: light-color walls, strategically placed lamps, sheer curtains and furniture rearranged so many times that even the dog doesn’t know where to sit. And it still seems like the walls are closing in.

If you think you’ve run out of decorating options, don’t worry. There’s an often overlooked solution to make a room look bigger: installing the right kind of flooring. The right flooring not only creates the appearance of more space, but it’ll give your room a whole new look.

5 flooring tricks to make a room look bigger

Select planks instead of strips – Strip refers to boards that are narrower than 3″. Plank refers to boards that are 3″ or greater. You will also find a wide plank category for boards measuring 5″ and more. Make a room look bigger by selecting plank or wide plank hardwood flooring. Fewer seams create a more open pattern that looks less busy and confining. Another trick is to lay the boards parallel to the longest wall. Running the boards this way helps elongate a room.

Armstrong luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl tile

Lay flooring on a diagonal – Regardless of whether you choose natural flooring styles in solid hardwood or laminate boards, the stone look of luxury vinyl tile or glazed porcelain tiles, laying materials on a diagonal will make a room look bigger. This technique fools the eye into seeing the flooring pattern from a different perspective, creating more visual interest.

Don’t be afraid of dark wood – It’s a misconception that dark wood floors constrict our sense of space. Paired with the right combination of wall color, trim and molding, darker species like walnut and exotic Brazilian cherry can, in fact, make a room look bigger. To use this decorator’s trick, choose a cool paint shade (remember, cool colors recede and warm colors advance) for walls and trim that matches your floor. Add crown molding in white or a shade lighter than the walls to draw the eye up to the corners with a sense of expansiveness.

Choose larger tiles – Increase the appearance of more square footage by selecting flooring tiles that are larger than the standard 12” size.  Luxury vinyl tiles are readily available in 16” and are a great option over porcelain tile. In addition to being beautiful, durable and comfortable underfoot, they come in a wide variety of natural flooring styles such as stone, slate and travertine. Install without grout to enhance visual space.

Keep consistency in adjacent spaces – Join adjacent spaces with the same type of flooring material. Using a consistent design throughout your home will give the illusion of having more space. If you need to change flooring materials, stay within the same color family.

You may not be able to increase the size of a small room, but you can easily fool the eye with a few flooring tricks that make a room look bigger.

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Flooring that Captures the Peaceful Essence of Nature

Interiors inspired by Mother Nature evoke a style that’s balanced and satisfying to our senses, and continue as a hot trend in home decorating. Whether it’s a response to ecological awareness or the need for a nurturing serenity to counteract the chaos of life, homeowners look to bring the peaceful essence of the outdoors inside.

There’s no better way to create an organic and inviting space than with nature-inspired flooring. Crucial to the structure of every room, your floor also serves as a major décor element. It commands more space than any other individual surface except the ceiling, and it’s visible from any vantage point. That means, if you want to establish a nature-inspired design theme, start with the floor.

Nature-inspired decorating with hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl tile

Nature-inspired birch hardwood flooring

Nature-inspired hardwood flooring

Hardwood – The ultimate in natural materials, genuine hardwood is a renewable resource that delights the senses with its warm colors and beautiful, natural grains. Explore the many varieties available – from classic oak, maple and hickory to exotics like tigerwood and Brazilian cherry – and you’ll have no trouble finding a hardwood species that matches your style.

When choosing a hardwood floor, consider the amount of wear and tear it will get. Hardwood floors are extremely durable, but can show wear in high-traffic traffic areas. Some hand-scraped hardwood planks have enough variation to hide the wear. Another option is prefinished, high-performance hardwood infused with liquid acrylic that can easily stand up to scratches, dents and even pet claws.

Nature-inspired laminate flooring

Nature-inspired laminate flooring

LaminateLaminate flooring is designed to look like natural materials such as wood or stone. With today’s manufacturing advances in true-to-life imagery, laminate offers visuals so strikingly realistic that you can’t tell the difference. In wood looks, you’ll see the distinctive grain patterns, authentic textures and rich, natural colors of fine hardwood. In stone looks, laminate captures the exquisite veining and subtle shade variations of marble, travertine and slate.

Laminate floors are perfect if you want the look of real hardwood or stone but not the maintenance or price tag. Laminate is durable and resistant to scratches and stains, and can be installed almost anywhere in your home.

Nature-inspired luxury vinyl tile

Nature-inspired luxury vinyl tile flooring

Luxury vinyl tile – Real stone does not make a practical, or even affordable, flooring option in homes, but you can still create the feeling of living with these beautiful, luxurious materials. Luxury vinyl tile faithfully reproduces the nature-inspired colors and patterns found in actual stone quarried directly from the earth. Unlike stone, however, luxury vinyl tile is soft and warm underfoot.

Let Mother Nature guide you in decorating. Simply look to the landscapes you are drawn to for inspiration, then match it to a hardwood, laminate or luxury vinyl tile floor. The result will be a seamless integration of nature into your home without losing comfort, efficiency or function.

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The Cost Differences Between Hardwood and Laminate Floors

Armstrong solid hardwood flooring - walnut

Beautiful, solid hardwood flooring

When you want the look of
natural hardwood flooring in
your home, you can choose
between genuine hardwood and remarkably realistic-looking wood laminate. Both hardwood and laminate make long-lasting and beautiful floors, with laminate looking exactly like the wood species from which it takes inspiration. Both hold up well in active households, including those with
kids and pets. Both are easy to clean
with just regular sweeping and occasional damp mopping.

Likewise, there are a few differences. Laminate can go anywhere in the house while hardwood is not recommended for frequently damp areas like bathrooms and basements. In cost considerations, hardwood boards do cost more than laminate, yet that distinction deserves a closer look.

Here are the facts concerning the cost of hardwood vs. laminate that may make your buying decision a little easier.

Is hardwood more expensive than laminate?

This question can be answered by looking at three factors: cost, floor life and resale value.

Armstrong wood laminate flooring

Realistic-looking laminate floor

The cost of quality, domestic hardwood ranges from *$8.00 – $12.00 per sq. ft., uninstalled, for pre-finished, standard width. Installation costs depend on local rates of hardwood flooring installers. For rough estimating, however, figure the cost to be slightly less than the cost of the boards.

Laminate flooring costs range from *$1.00 – $7.00 per sq. ft., uninstalled, with the higher cost reflecting better quality, more realistic-looking designs. If an underlayment is needed, add $1.00 to $2.00 per sq. ft. The cost to install laminate depends on local area labor rates, but for a ballpark figure, installers suggest calculating the cost to be slightly less than the cost of the actual laminate flooring.

*These estimates are generalizations for the sake of comparison and don’t include associated costs such as the removal of an existing floor, product delivery, trims and moldings.  Additionally, many homeowners choose to install DIY-friendly laminate themselves, saving the expense of hiring an installer.

Floor life
How long a floor will last depends on wear, tear and maintenance. Under ideal conditions, laminate floors typically last 20 – 30 years while hardwood floors can easily last a lifetime or longer. The significant difference in life cycles is explained by the fact that laminate floors cannot be refinished when they get damaged or show signs of wear. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, can be rejuvenated with sanding and refinishing, not only once but 10 – 12 times during the floor’s life, making it a bargain on a cost-per-year-basis! But what if you don’t plan on keeping your house for very long?

Resale value
A hardwood floor is considered an investment because it often dictates higher resale value when it comes time to sell your home. Prospective buyers will recognize the level of quality you chose. Laminate, on the other hand, may look like genuine hardwood, but it doesn’t have the same market appeal.

So, what’s the best choice when comparing the cost of hardwood vs. laminate? After considering the total cost, floor life and resale value factors, hardwood flooring is an excellent value.

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Is Luxury Vinyl Flooring Really Luxurious?

Don’t let that word “vinyl” fool you into thinking luxury vinyl flooring is the scuffed-up kitchen workhorse your grandma walked on. Luxury vinyl flooring is a relatively new product, offering the best of all possible worlds. It’s durable and can be as budget-friendly as traditional vinyl, and, thanks to innovative technology in manufacturing, as beautiful and realistic as real hardwood, ceramic tile and stone.

Armstrong luxury vinyl plank floors

Luxury vinyl plank

Luxury vinyl flooring falls into two product categories. Luxury vinyl plank reflects the looks of fine hardwood – walnut, mahogany, oak and maple – right down to the depth of color, grain pattern and texture. It even comes in authentic board lengths and widths, with beveled edges and ends.

The other luxury vinyl flooring product replicates textured ceramic tile or natural stone like quartz, slate and travertine. This tile floor looks exactly like nature’s finest materials, including subtle color variations and random veining.  As real as it looks, luxury vinyl tile doesn’t have the cold, brittle hardness of stone and ceramic tile. In fact, it feels soft and warm underfoot! And you don’t have to worry about dropped items shattering on your floor.

Armstrong luxury vinyl tile flooring

Luxury vinyl tile

Luxury vinyl flooring features

Design choices – High resolution imaging delivers unmatched realism in wood, ceramic tile and stone looks, plus a wide range of appealing textures and colors.

Performance/durability – A protective wear layer of enhanced urethane makes these floors resistant to scratches and scuffs. Another clear film layer adds durability and helps protect against rips, tears and gouges. Luxury vinyl flooring is also water- and stain-resistant, making it perfect for active households with kids and pets.

Maintenance – Regular sweeping and occasional mopping is all it takes to keep luxury vinyl flooring looking great.

Home environment attributes – Luxury vinyl flooring won’t trap dust, pet dander and other allergens.

Cost – Priced $2.00 to $7.00 per square foot, luxury vinyl flooring is considered “value flooring” for its premium aesthetics and high-end design features.

Installation – Both planks and tiles can be installed almost anywhere in the home, even moisture-prone areas like bathrooms and basements. Luxury vinyl planks attach to themselves – not the floor, so they’re very easy to install. Even beginner DIYers can handle the installation. With tiles, the complexity of gluing and grouting requires skilled expertise, and professional installation is recommended.

The look, the touch and the incredible versatility of luxury vinyl flooring is something to experience in person. It’s worth taking time to stop at a flooring retailer and see for yourself.

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Mix It Up with Stylish Hardwood Planks

Armstrong wide plank floorIt’s hard to go wrong with the warmth and charm of hardwood floors. If you’re planning on adding a wood floor to your home, why not consider something a little different: hardwood plank floors?

Plank hardwood board widths range from 3” up to 17” wide! If you’re intrigued by wider width flooring but don’t know how to take advantage of its design features, here are some ideas to fire up your imagination.

Tips and trends using hardwood plank floors

  • The width of individual boards of hardwood plank floors will have a dramatic influence on the final look of your floor. Select the look you like best and one that harmonizes with the style and architecture of your home.
  • The larger the room, the wider the plank. Wide-width planks, 5-12”, work well and are more scale-appropriate in mid-size and larger rooms. Extra-wide planks, 12-16”, evoke a colonial-era feeling and can work in smaller rooms decorated in that style. Planks less than 5” can make a large room look busy.
  • Knots, burling, worm holes and other character marks show the wood’s visible history to a greater effect in wider planks.
  • Mixing board widths is an easy way to enhance the one-of-a-kind look of hardwood plank floors. Mix width planks are available as a complete flooring system or you can ask your flooring retailer to design a custom pattern for your room. Here are examples of mix width patterns:

– Alternate 2-1/4” & 3-1/4” boards in small rooms
– Alternate 3” & 5” boards in larger rooms
– Mix 4”, 5” & 6” boards for a subtle, random pattern

  • Select hardwood plank floors with a finish that creates the décor style you want. Smooth and polished planks have sophistication, especially in deeply hued species like hickory or cherry. Hand-scraped planks have shallow, sculpted furrows and soft, pillowed edges that create a look of casual comfort and unfussy style. Then there’s the rustic, weathered look of distressed hardwood plank floors. The heavily textured look, emphasizing details like gouges, scrapes and nail holes, is totally unrefined yet distinctive for its timeworn beauty.
  • Even though hardwood plank floors have a style associated with bygone times, they look perfectly in step with modern design. Imagine a neutral, light maple plank with its wide, clean lines and satin smooth finish. It’s the perfect backdrop for contemporary minimalist décor.

When you’re decorating your home in your own style, remember that something different and fresh, like hardwood plank floors, can be the anchor for an amazing new room design.


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