interiors & styling: Design Discussion : Hardwoods in the Kitchen

I have another new blog series I’ve been wanting to start for awhile now… design discussions! There are a lot of controversial design topics that have been brought to light since I started this blog. I figured it would be fun to break them down, share my opinion for each, and get a conversation started. Design is like art- it’s a process in which you can (and should) take creative liberties based on the space you have to work with. I’ll share my most loved and hated design decisions in this series- starting with installing real hardwood flooring in the kitchen! Click through to read all about it…

Depending on how long you’ve been following our renovations, most of you know this isn’t the first time I’ve opted for hardwood flooring in the kitchen as opposed to tile or another material. In our first home (built in 1910), we restored the hardwood floors throughout the entire house, including the kitchen. They were oak, original to the house, and so beautiful! There was no way I was going to rip those babies out (pictured above and below).


In an effort to do something different in our second kitchen renovation, I opted for patterned tile. While I LOVED the look, I wasn’t as into the feel underfoot. I think I would’ve liked it more if we would’ve installed radiant heat beneath the tile. I’m a barefoot type of gal and I don’t enjoy stepping on cold tile or having cold feet (no pun intended).

It probably didn’t come as a surprise that hardwood flooring showed up in our third (and most recent) kitchen renovation. This time around we installed it in a herringbone pattern. So why is hardwood my preference and why do I love it so much despite it being a controversial material for a kitchen? Let’s talk details!

Kitchens aren’t necessarily a “high moisture” room, in my opinion. Sure- they’re more prone to spills, but if mopped up- water is not an issue. Nobody is going to leave a mess or spilled water standing on their kitchen floor, right? Another concern I’ve heard voiced is faucet overspray… again, the odds that standing water is going to occur from that is slim to none. Therefore, overspray should have little to no effect on hardwood flooring around the sink.

Finished hardwood flooring is typically sealed (all of ours have been), unless you like the raw natural look, but having sealed flooring means it’s pretty durable to spills and moisture. Would I install hardwoods in a bathroom? No- because it is a high moisture room… think humidity, steam, etc, but in a kitchen- absolutely. I will say, hardwood flooring is a natural material, so it WILL patina over time. You guys already know, I like and prefer that look. Hardwood floors get scratched and I don’t mind that at all… again, that’s part of the patina charm and LIVING in a home.

So why hardwood for me personally? I like the classic, traditional look it brings to a space, but most of all- I adore the warmth and texture of hardwood flooring!

Now let’s chat about the cons… it’s true, given hardwood is a natural, softer material- it’s not as durable as tile or stone. If you’re really worried about practicality, scratching, water spills, and longevity (or you don’t like natural patina that occurs with aging), then opt for something else.

Remember this project I shared a few years ago? This kitchen contains tile that looks like hardwood. Perhaps that’s the best of both worlds? I’m still team natural hardwood, but if you like the look and also want mega durability- this could be the best option for you!

Where do you stand on the issue? Take the instant poll below and see how the numbers stack up…

Do you like hardwood flooring in the kitchen or do you prefer an alternative material?

I received a bunch of feedback saying people loved the flooring in our recent kitchen renovation, but also quite a few messages that voiced concern with my choice in installing hardwoods in a kitchen. Hopefully this helped to clarify! Remember, there is no wrong answer… it’s just a matter of your personal preference and what fits your family & lifestyle. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! Also- please send me more ideas for controversial design discussion topics. I’m excited for this new series!


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