Open Floor Plans and Hardwood Floors
For the past few years, one of the most popular trends in home design has been the adoption of an “open” floor plan. In these plans, the kitchen area flows naturally into dining room so that the two are an integrated whole. An even more open plan involves a “great room” that consists of the kitchen, dining room, and living or family room all joined together. Open floor plans are considered to give a more familial feel to a home since the people working in the kitchen to prepare food can easily interact with family members using the other integrated rooms.
Such open floor plans do present décor challenges, however. One of the most significant is the choice of flooring. In order to have a truly open floor plan, the same flooring material must be used in all locations that are supposed to appear to flow together. Most people do not prefer ceramic tile or linoleum in living rooms, and very few would consider carpet an appropriate choice for the kitchen. This means that great rooms are frequently floored using hardwood.
People new to the idea may hesitate to include hardwood floors in a kitchen because they have concerns about water damage. Today’s hardwood floors need not present a challenge in this regard; they can be sealed with polyurethane in order to protect the wood against moisture. Even better, such sealed floors do not need to be waxed. Maintenance consists only of sweeping and mopping, along with periodic wood floor sanding to remove scratches that develop over time.