In common with social signifiers such as clothing, hairstyles and music tastes, hardwood flooring has gone through various trends over the years.  It seems that every year there’s a new trend of colours, plank widths and patterns in the hardwood flooring industry.  But when looking back over the past few decades, it becomes obvious that the overall trends are much longer-term than the annual changes.  In this post, we look at how hardwood flooring trends have changed over the past few decades.

Pre 2000:  Narrow High Gloss Planks

Before the turn of the century, most hardwood floors were quite basic with narrow planks featuring high gloss finishes.  Some of this had to do with cost as narrow planks are cheaper to produce.  Also, high gloss finishes lend a feeling of luxury which may have been important to the aesthetic of the 80s and 90s.  Colours were generally either a light blond or a darker red oak which may have led to the explosion of colour variety in subsequent decades.

2000 to 2010:  Unrefined And Distressed

After the turn of the century, high gloss hardwood floors gave way to a more natural, unrefined and distressed look.  In what appears to be a swing of the pendulum away from the sheen of the previous century, reclaimed woods, hand-scraped finishes and a more organic look came to the forefront.  This may have been influenced by the demanding maintenance requirements of glossy floors.  Darker colours also came into fashion as the 21rst century came into being probably because they’re typically associated with reclaimed woods .  Rustic browns and other dark shades gained popularity along with the more distressed finishes.  Plank widths also started to grow, possibly a result of the trend toward using older, reclaimed woods.

2010 to the Present:  Wide Planks And New Colours

Wider planks continued to gain popularity as the 21rst century progressed.  Wider planks can make rooms look larger.  Their ubiquity may be a result of changes in urban density and property prices.  For those who live in modern condominiums where space is at a premium, investing in wide plank hardwood floors can help open the area up.  Colours such as grey and black have also become more common whereas they were once rarely used.