Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring is here! Ah, how I love the scent of light rains, blooming flowers, and household cleaner. Yes, I am tackling the annual chore of removing clutter and freshening up my home. I have scrubbed the refrigerator and tossed all those science experiments hiding in the corners. I have thrown tattered old hand towels into the rag bin and gathered old clothes and linens for donation. I am now taking a break to plot a course for navigating my unruly closet.

Perhaps you too are in the midst of spring cleaning or maybe you have it all completed (may I borrow some motivation?). Maybe you are just beginning to jot down your spring cleaning to-do list. Whatever stage you are in, you are probably contemplating an interior design change as well. I myself am ready to use this Crate and Barrel gift certificate I received to purchase some new pillows and accessories. But for some of you, there are bigger ideas powering the light bulb  over your head. Perhaps it isn't pillows you desire, but a new hardwood floor.

Unlike pillows or linens, a hardwood floor is a very significant purchase and one that you will live with beyond the spring season. That being said, I would like to offer a few things to consider before selecting your hardwood floor.

    -What kind of  'look' are you going for? Traditional? Contemporary? Do you want light or dark wood? Do you want something trendy or something that allows for design freedom? If you need help deciding, look at what you already have in your home; your furniture, your accessories, even your wardrobe. These will give you an idea of what styles and colors appeal to you. You can always peruse some design magazines (I am fond of Architectural Digest and Luxe Interiors and Design myself) for some inspiration.

    -Do you want a square edge or beveled floor? Smooth or Distressed? Smooth, square edge floors generally work in contemporary spaces while distressed, beveled products offer more character.

    -What species do you want? Some species, such as oak, have a pronounced grain, while others, like walnut, have a more subtle grain. Although all species have color variation, some are more extreme than others. Are you concerned with hardness? If you have two young kids and a dog, then a softer species like American Cherry or Walnut may not be for you.

    -What type of product and installation is practical for your specific project? A solid floor can only be installed over plywood. An engineered product can be glued to a concrete subfloor or floated.

These are just a few tips. It is a good idea to discuss your selection with a hardwood flooring professional (hint, hint, I'm at your service!)

Good luck to you with whatever your spring cleaning duties may entail, whether it is dusting or decorating. If you don't hear from me soon, please, send a search party into my closet.