In the Northeast, the most popular flooring we install is white oak planks. This type of floor has remained popular because it is durable, and has a lasting aesthetic that can survive trends by re-finishing. Refinishing an oak floor completely can be done 3-8 times (depending on the experience of the refinisher) and each re-finishing has a lifespan of about 20 years. Not a bad long-term investment!
There have been other wood species that are popular in our area, such as Brazilian cherry. It is warm and dark with more of a redder tone than walnut. My advice is to think about the whole house and overall architecture before making a selection since it is important to have consistency through the interior where you install wood. Plus, it will be part of the architectural tone of the interior for some time.
In one home we renovated in Dover, the owners had installed wide plank walnut throughout when the home was built. The New England neo/shingle style made this a perfect choice. The floors are a great timeless statement. These planks were about 6” wide, which I know many people do enjoy a wider floor.
If you are adding on and have a lot of good existing oak, one great idea you can use that will keep a good consistent flow is to use wider boards in the same wood for the new family room. Then re-finish the entire first floor at one time. This would keep a sense of cohesion while making one space feel more upscale/casual and all the floors would have a similar matching color and grain- you could even stain them to match. Keep in mind that the wider the board, the higher the cost and it is recommended for boards over 4” that the flooring be glued and nailed to avoid cupping.
Now a day, wall to wall carpet has become increasingly popular in Master suites. I think this has a lot to do with creating a soft and warm surface when we swing our legs around the bed for those first morning steps. Additionally, the bedroom is where a pattern on the floor can create great synergy with the design and add a layer of texture.
There is a common misconception that carpet is less expensive than wood, which isn’t always true. The first time I learned about fine carpeting was about 20 years ago. The client asked me if using carpet would save them money if they installed it in their master bedroom; I said sure! Off they went to a very nice and reputable dealer and selected a beautiful Tibetan Wool carpet that was approximately $30 per square foot installed. Don’t worry; a good wool carpet is available for about the same cost as wood flooring.
No matter what you want your floor to do, make sure it is part of the overall design discussion when you begin planning.
Happy renovating! – Ray