Choosing the right type of flooring for your living room is an important decision. You want a material that will stand up to lots of traffic year after year and look aesthetically appealing. A long-running favorite is hardwoods. Known for their timeless appeal and strength, they’re a solid option for your living room. Nevertheless, there is more than one type of hardwood flooring. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each can help you make an informed decision.

Best Hardwood Flooring Options for the Living Room

When considering which hardwood flooring option would best suit your living room, consider both its appearance and durability. You may want to evaluate whether you want finished or unfinished wood, the latter of which you can stain at home for a perfect color. If you choose a finished wood, consider the color and grain pattern. Additionally, don’t overlook the hardness, type, and whether you want engineered or solid. Here are some of the most common hardwoods for living room floors.


Maple has a lighter, natural appearance. Because of its tight grain pattern, it can be difficult to stain. Therefore, maple is usually installed and left with its natural hue. Strong and resistant to yellowing in the sun, it can be a great choice for any space in your home.


Oak has a reputation for being the most popular hardwood flooring type. It’s durable and has a tighter grain with a pronounced pattern, which can make scuffs and scratches less noticeable. There are two color options for oak flooring: red or white. Staining oak to achieve a slightly different look for your floors is also possible. Unfortunately, oak does have the disadvantage of being susceptible to yellowing in the sun. However, some homeowners don’t mind this warmer, golden hue.


Cherry is a warmer wood, thanks to its red-to-orange undertones. Depending on your chosen stain, these shades can be brought out even further. When exposed to UV rays, the color generally darkens instead of yellowing. While cherry isn’t as durable as oak or maple, it is still a long-running favorite. Its softer construction can also make it easier to install.


Walnut isn’t as hard as oak or maple, but that hasn’t stopped it from being used in numerous homes throughout the centuries. Its rich, dark brown color is very fitting for historical or traditional homes. It’s durable enough for the living room and can bring your space a warm and luxurious feel. However, walnut tends to be a more costly option that may not suit everyone’s budget.


Hickory is the strongest hardwood option, making it ideal for living rooms that see a lot of action from families and pets. However, its durability can make it tricky to install. Another defining attribute is its distinct grain pattern, alternating between lighter and darker sections. This grain pattern is great for hiding scratches, making it a good pick for families. However, hickory also features prominent knots that tend to give it a very rustic look. Because of the grain density and pattern, staining can bring out features that may not have been visible before, which can be a pro or con for homeowners.


Like oak, ash has a light and airy look. However, there is more of a visible grain pattern in ash. These features make it a wonderful option for homes with a coastal or beachy aesthetic. It’s durable and dense, making it resistant to dents and scratches. However, it tends to be less widely available and, therefore, a little pricier than other hardwood flooring options.


Although it’s a grass and not a traditional wood, bamboo is a popular eco-friendly flooring option. It’s relatively strong, has a clean and contemporary look, and is a renewable resource. It can be found in its natural state, which is light blonde in color, or in stained versions that can take on almost any hue. The plank size and pattern can also vary, with some flooring options consisting of pressed shredded bamboo that takes on a woven look. A downside to bamboo is its propensity to absorb water more readily than other hardwood options. However, this is generally less of a concern in living rooms.

There are various hardwoods to choose from. However, if you don’t find one that suits your style and budget, there are plenty of other flooring options available that are strong, affordable, and gorgeous.

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