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4 Unusual Places To Find Inspiration For Your Next Hardwood Flooring Project

by Sara Cook

Hardwood is always a beautiful choice for outfitting your home's floors, but it is easy for the look to become stale or appear uninspired. If you want to make your home's floors really unique, then it might help to think outside the home improvement catalogs and check out some other places for inspiration. Here are four places where you should look down to see what your home's floor might look like after your next renovation. 


While the floors of buildings on some vineyards may be gorgeous, the real inspiration comes when you glance inside of a well-aged wine barrel. Wine barrel flooring is a trend that has picked up considerable steam in the past few years, and for good reason. Streaks of red and pink coming together with branded logos and wood grain is a beautiful sight and can accent a specific room very nicely without looking like a wine and cheese party went wrong a few years back. 


The weathered, venerable look of an old dock brings about a certain mystique that can look well at home, anywhere from a seaside cabin living room to a landlocked ranch home's sun room.  Even if you don't want to go full-on seafarer, you can still take a hint from the white trim that borders so many piers, or perhaps even try an aluminum threshold reminiscent of a vintage gangplank. Vintage boards with minimal retouching, even perhaps without wax, can replicate this look well if you plan on going all-out. 

Old Churches

The key when going for the "old church" look is to find a church that truly is old, preferably predating the rise of mass-manufactured flooring, which started around 1900, when the tongue-and-groove system was first developed. Before this advance, flooring was installed only by trained carpenters, who would spend hours completing this arduous task that gave the floors a venerable look. It is still possible to replicate this look today using reclaimed lumber and a lot of time and effort to shine up a few "diamond in the rough" planks. The key to this approach is recognizing that using vintage boards requires considerable skill and a lot of effort, but the outcome is beautiful if done right. 

Hotel Lobbies

Many hotel lobbies also make use of more complex patterns like parquet or herringbone that can be adapted gracefully for use in the home. These designs can be placed into a large room for a grand effect, or smaller rooms or hallways to keep these oft-forgotten places from looking drab. When taking this approach, it's important to make sure that all of the boards are comparable in shade so as not to make an optical illusion of your floor, like high-contrast boards would. 

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