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visual camouflage

Written by Allie Finkell of American OEM Wood Floors
Imagery by Stephen S. Reardon

How modern design leads to practical choices
With the hectic lives of today, it is easy to see why homeowners are looking for flooring materials that not only look great, but are durable and low-maintenance. And with more hardwood choices available today than ever before, it’s important to know how certain visual attributes influence the performance and ease of care over the life of the floor. 
  Aside from selecting the appropriate construction, selecting wood in a design that offers some  “camouflage” is incredibly important in how hardwood will hold up over time. The more uniform the color, in a very light or very dark tone, the higher the sheen, and the more pristine the grade(free of knots), the more noticeable wear and imperfections will be as the floor ages. However, there is a wide variety of beautiful options that can offer highly sophisticated design while being incredibly practical and low-maintenance. 
    The first of these design elements is character. Long gone are the days when customers wanted a wood floor to be free of knots and mineral streaks, elements that showcase the inherent beauty of the natural material. The natural markings in hardwood are not easy to re-create in faux materials, so seeing knots and graining in textured or smooth planks sends a message of authenticity and luxury. Wood floors with natural character and added texture typically do not need to be refinished and only look better with time because over time, each family member (and pet) adds their own markings that enhance the overall look of the floor. 
    Another wood trend coming into fashion is high levels of color variation in the product. Ten years ago, exotic hardwoods were in high demand, partly because they offered a wide range of highlights and lowlights in the same colorway. Now that white oak and hickory are ruling hardwood design trends, savvy suppliers have found ways to create color shift in domestic species for a dynamic
visual that looks amazing and serves as a great camouflage for dents, scratches and other signs of wear.
    These dramatic floors make a bold statement, while satisfying a wide range of design styles, depending on the combination of character, texture and coloration. The most versatile of these looks are colorways containing layers of both warm and cool tones that combine to create a neutral pallet, ripe with options for future furniture and paint colors. The inherent versatility offered in colorways with complex neutrals ensures that the lifespan of the design matches the long lifespan of hardwood.  
    Hardwood remains the most sought after flooring material on the market. Selecting hardwoods with natural character, added texture and exciting color movement can really impact the long term satisfaction of the owner for the life of the floor. 

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