Retro Repeat: Old School Hardwood Flooring Styles that are Coming Full Circle

Interior design has the power to evoke strong emotion, especially if what we can see and feel is tied closely to a personal memory. What do you remember most about your childhood home? What piece of home décor takes you back to a visit to grandma’s house? While some of these styles are forever stuck in a particular decade, we’re seeing some “old school” design elements rising again in popularity regarding hardwood flooring styles. Better yet, they’re reappearing in new and improved forms since both materials and technology have advanced. What once was costly or hard to maintain, has been reimagined with modern innovation to deliver the nostalgic look we love with the functionality we crave. Let’s take a closer look at a few retro trends in hardwood flooring that are making a comeback in 2023.

1. Lighter Finishes

Lighter Tones
Photos courtesy of Shaw

Whitewashed, light gray, and light honey-toned floors are making a strong comeback in homes of all styles. Many designers are falling back in love with this look, which was last made popular in the 90s for the warmth it added to a space. Lighter-tone hardwood floors also help to create a space that feels larger and more expansive. The key to applying this retro style correctly with a modern approach is to focus on wide planks and matte finishes. Better yet are natural floors that add character from the wood’s “perfect” imperfections and graining. Lighter finishes are timeless; they help add character while brightening the space.

2. Parquet Patterns

2023 is bringing back geometric parquet patterns. Put aside what you may remember of your grandmother’s finger-block flooring from the 1960s; this trend uses styles that pay homage to the vintage factor while taking a modern approach that feels fun and fresh. Geometric patterned parquet flooring quickly brings life to an otherwise dull space like a hallway or laundry room. If other elements in a space mostly are basic and solid style, this could be the perfect opportunity to add a geometric parquet floor.

3. Wide Plank

Wide plank floors have come and gone in style throughout history, starting with their very early appearance in the colonial era. This design trend provides a clean and streamlined look with fewer visual distractions on the floor, allowing the hardwood’s character to stand out. Depending upon the material and finish selected, wide plank floors can feel warm
and subdued or bold and edgy.

Wide Planks

4. Hand-Scraped Floors

Hand-scaped floors
Hand-scraped floors makes the space feel like it has reclaimed wood with so much character.

Remember those beautifully worn floors from that family member’s home where it always felt so warm and inviting? This trend has come full circle, with hand-scraped floors now being offered “pre-worn” for an antique, lived-in look. Just like a favorite pair of distressed jeans, this hardwood flooring trend, when done right, makes the space feel like it has reclaimed wood with so much character. Best of all, some dings and dents will only add to the effect. A perfect pairing for families with young children or those who enjoy entertaining.

What to Keep in Mind When Incorporating Retro Design

Keep these words in mind when breathing new life into old-school designs: focused, intentional, and high-quality. Incorporating well-placed retro designs, matched with basic and timeless elements, will result in a home that feels fun and edgy while still remaining balanced and authentic to the homeowner’s personal style.

Brittany Stout is the builder specialist and designer at Touch of Color Flooring, a family-built and operated business with locations in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and Richmond, Virginia. Touch of Color has six core divisions: Builder, Multifamily, Senior Living, Commercial, Retail, and Design, and services seven states throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Learn more at

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