Choosing a Wood Floor - Step 4 - Design Elements

STEP FOUR: Like a fine area rug, ornamental wood floors can bring a custom flair to any room. For centuries custom inlayed floors have been used worldwide, and can be seen in the finest museums, castles and residences, including the “Oval Office in the White House.” Because there are so many wood species that can be incorporated into an inlay, the floor can take on an almost magical appearance. Light woods such as Maple, Ash, Oak, and Beech can be paired up with dark species like Walnut, Jatoba, Ipe, and Wenge to achieve a contrasting form with incredible depth. These woods can then be fashioned into wonderful geometric or free-form designs as perimeter borders, or other inlay configurations.

Today, borders and medallions can complement either the most contemporary condo in Chicago, or a traditional lake-front home in Lake Forest.

Wood Floor Borders

Typically made of a contrasting species or stained wood, borders can be also be made of stone, metal or even glass. As you might imagine, borders tend to frame a space, focusing your eye in a defined area. Simple borders are cut from strips of wood that are often cut on site and splined into the main solid hardwood flooring. More complex borders are often manufactured and presented as an engineered product. The decorative top layer is made of laser-cut pieces of wood. This decorative layer is glued to alternating layers of wood to provide a stable base.

Floor Medallions

Medallions are virtual paintings where the brush strokes are made from pieces of wood, stone, metal and glass. Once again, the use of lasers has transformed medallions from geometric puzzles to virtually anything that you can imagine. The dominant visual in a space, medallions can often be found in the center of a foyer, or a special place in a room set aside for the piece of artistry.

Most medallions today are manufactured in a factory, but as you can see from a Mr. Floor sample below, artisans are still able to create amazing pieces even on site.

Distressed Flooring

Hand-scraping and other forms of distressing the boards of a floor create an antique appearance that many find appealing. Using chisels, rasps, and other tools, craftsmen hand-scraped planks to even out the level between floor boards. Today most “hand-scraping” is done by machine and can be found in solid and engineered flooring. The scoops in today’s distressed floors can actually hide the dents made from dropped items in the home.