The Hardwood Flooring That Makes The Space Feel So Much Bigger

Hardwood flooring presents homeowners with myriad options in terms of wood variety. While many kinds of wood complement certain design aesthetics or maintenance preferences, there are also certain qualities that benefit smaller spaces, specifically, granting these spaces a sense of brightness and expansiveness. In such cases, lighter woods like oak and maple, benefit a smaller space far more than darker stained woods, increasing the sense of openness in even the tiniest rooms.

In addition to light versus dark woods, however, other factors such as texture, veining, plank size, and the way hardwood flooring is laid can also have a tremendous impact on expanding or contracting a room. All of these factors together must be considered carefully when selecting hardwood floors if you're looking to visually make a small space seem larger and provide a suitable base layer for other pieces in the room to work similar magic.

Wood variety and finish

Light wood floors, in general, have a number of benefits over dark varieties, including a more casual and laid-back feel, easier maintenance, and adaptability to many more design schemes, including rustic, traditional, or modern. They're also one of the best ways to make a room seem larger, particularly when combined with a lighter color palette on the walls and darker furniture, which together form a higher contrast between the two that can manipulate the sense of scale to your advantage.

If you're looking for lighter hardwood flooring, opt for birch, red and white oak, or maple. A glossy or matte finish on these wood varieties can further increase the feeling of space and light as well, with glossy a great option if the room lacks ample natural light. With this said, a darker finish on hardwood flooring can work for smaller spaces, too, if it's paired with a lighter wall and ceiling. As with lighter hardwood flooring, a key to expanding the feel of a room with darker flooring stems from a contrast between the flooring and other elements in the room.

Size and orientation

The size of your hardwood flooring boards can also have an impact on how large (or small) a room feels, with larger, wider planks resulting in the illusion of greater spaciousness. Smaller planks — along with more pronounced lines – between the boards, can make a floor feel more cluttered visually, which when combined with objects in the room, can increase the feeling of too much going on.

While lighter hardwood flooring can naturally make a small space feel much bigger, the layout pattern you choose can also prove a factor, with a diagonal pattern an option to draw the eye to the corners. This can be an easy way to make a room feel less cut off by sharp angles. Another idea, though, is to build a herringbone design, which not only creates a sense of movement but the aesthetically pleasing layout can also make the hardwood flooring stand out even more.