10 living room wood floor ideas that will add elegance and style to this key space

Our living room wood floor ideas will give you inspiration and expert tips on what to look for

living room wood floor ideas, living room with tactile sheepskin style armchairs, rattan rug, natural floor boards, side tables, log burner, bookcases
(Image credit: Chauncey/Anouska Tamony Designs)

If you're after living room wood floor ideas you've come to the right place – you might be lucky enough to have solid wood flooring especially if your home is a period property, but if you don't, we've got some fabulous suggestions to add to your living room ideas that will help to create that authentic wood flooring appeal that you simply can't beat. 

'The true beauty lies not just on the surface, but within each grain of a real solid wood floor, says Polly Bedford, director, UK Hardwoods. 'With no glues or chemicals through the depth of the timber, a solid wood floor gives a completely natural flooring option to your home.'

The best living room wood floor ideas are those that fit your space and lifestyle, solid wood is an investment buy that looks amazing, and it will weather beautifully. If you've already got it then give it the love and care so it will last decades more. 

'Wood flooring is warm underfoot, acoustically comforting, and lends itself perfectly to modern and traditional living rooms alike,' says Katie Hudghton, head of marketing at luxury wood flooring specialists, Ted Todd.

'Solid wood floors are one of the cornerstones of a well-put-together interior scheme and are versatile to fit a multitude of styles. I’d recommend going for the best quality you can to ensure longevity – flooring underpins everything, and it is not as easy to change as other elements in a room.'

Living room wood floor ideas

Solid wood flooring is perfect for living rooms as it's hardwearing, practical and full of authenticity. There's an array of wood types to choose from and layouts too, and if you can't source real wood, there's engineered options too that give a similar look but with a more practical application. 

'It’s a common misconception that engineered wood flooring isn’t real wood flooring,' says Tim Huffadine, marketing executive at Chaunceys Timber Flooring. 'Our engineered wood is made using real timber: think of it as thin planks of solid oak laminated onto high-grade birch plywood. Very often, thin overlay floorboards would have been used in properties, but these are trickier to fit than engineered planks, and they need a wooden subdeck.

'However, with modern high-quality engineered wood flooring we have an all-in-one solution by pre-laminating the wood to the ply base, and then applying the finest tooling to make a structurally sound floorboard that fits together precisely for easy, efficient installation. It’s the best of all worlds!'

headshot of Tim Huffadine
Tim Huffadine

Tim Huffadine is Marketing Executive at Chaunceys Timber Flooring. Tim joined the company in January 2020. Chaunceys has been supplying sustainable, high-quality timber flooring to homeowners, award-winning architects, design and build companies, and renowned interior designers since 1988.

1. Get the Scandi look with a limed finish

living room wood floor ideas, Scandi style living room with wood flooring, blue sofa, wood and rattan armchair, textured rug, plant, basket, shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you're after living room wood floor ideas that are softer on the eye rather than too dark, then consider a limed look. You can apply lime wax yourself or have the finish added professionally. 

Its light and airy nature lends itself to the Scandi home decor trend whilst adding a layer of protection. Pale blond wood furniture blends well with it, as do blue and grey shades. 

2. Choose wide planks for impact

living room wood floor ideas, barn farmhouse style living room with beams, wide floor boards, Perspex coffee table, rug, vintage side board, artwork, plants

(Image credit: UK Hardwoods)

The beauty of solid wood flooring is that you can choose the width of your boards to suit your space. This is invaluable as they can really change your overall look and make a room feel larger and more spacious – similar to choosing different widths of striped wallpaper for example. 

'It's worth considering the widths of the boards you're wanting – wide boards are very luxurious adding quiet luxury to your floor, whereas narrower boards can be easily found in many flooring brands,' explains Polly Bedford, director, UK Hardwoods.

'We have some beautiful homegrown timbers in this country, so if you can buy from the UK, do. Imported timber needs to be checked for its ethical approach and usually it comes with a much higher carbon footprint, so it's always worth buying UK grown where you can.'

headshot of Polly Bedford
Polly Bedford

Polly runs UK Hardwoods, together with her husband, Tom. Moving away from a successful surveying career in London, Polly found her keen eye for details lends well to working with natural raw materials, preparing flooring orders, and spotting new and exciting opportunities for the sawmill. In 2019, she helped relaunch the website and took over online communications with customers.

3. Add character with solid oak herringbone blocks

living room wood floor ideas, living room with herringbone solid wood flooring, rug, leather footstool, blue painted bespoke shelving in alcoves, fireplace, decorative fire guard

(Image credit: Chaunceys/Anouska Tamony Designs)

When choosing solid wood floor you'll have a choice of layouts and colour. For warmth and a decorative element consider herringbone blocks in a warm finish. Real wood flooring companies will have a variety of sheens to choose from too like ultra matt to gloss. 

'We supply some lovely solid oak herringbone blocks. These are popular for their traditional parquet aesthetic, and due to their size and interlocking pattern are a more stable solid wood option,' says Tim. 

'There is a market for reclaimed solid timber flooring. This is a great way of extending the service life of old solid hardwood boards and can be worth exploring for clients who want solid wood floors. Original floorboards of reclaimed wide oak planks are rare though, and therefore expensive. Most reclaimed floorboards are made from old beams. These are a great source of longer and wider material, which, if sliced correctly, have a brilliant natural aged patina. The mass engineered flooring market attempts to replicate this effect, but nothing beats the real thing.'

4. Celebrate bare floor boards

living room wood floor ideas, living room with tactile sheepskin style armchairs, rattan rug, natural floor boards, side tables, log burner, bookcases

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Nothing beats that moment when you've moved into a new home and peeled back that tatty carpet to reveal original floorboards! 

There's beauty in seeing the weathered patinas and of course the history that's inevitably attached to wood flooring that's potentially been there for a hundred years or so. It tells a story and you'll see signs of where walls have been moved and old tiles that could be combined with layouts from the past.

It's always good to get original floorboard checked over for wood worm and to get them future proofed with a sand and seal. 

5. Give solid wood a modern spin

living room wood floor ideas, living room floor with rug, view through crittall doors to kitchen, shelving

(Image credit: Ted Todd)

Always versatile, wood flooring has the ability of working in both traditional and contemporary spaces. 

You can use the same flooring throughout so you get a cohesive flow moving from space to space, or, define rooms by having a different surface in each area. A mid-toned wood will add warmth to an all white scheme, use black as an accent for a contemporary feel. 

Although wood flooring is hard, some wood types are softer than others so rugs can offer a touch of protection to high traffic areas. Caring for your wood flooring is key, as Katie Hudghton, head of marketing at luxury wood flooring specialists, Ted Todd explains:

'To care for a wooden floor, sweep it regularly and gently with a soft bristle brush to avoid any scratching and place a rug around the sofa to lessen the effect of high traffic in well-used areas in your lounge. Blinds or linen drapes are a great way to disperse hot summer light coming through living room windows that, if exposed for long periods of time, could fade the floor if not cared for properly, and where possible, swap outdoor or heeled shoes for slippers or soft soled shoes.' 

6. Play with scale

living room wood floor ideas, living room with hardwood floor, rug, two yellow sofas, chair, retro cushion, orange curtains, view to garden, tv, media unit

(Image credit: Future PLC)

We've mentioned using wider planks, but what about narrow ones? If your living room is on the large side and you want to make it cosier than narrow planks will do the trick. 

If your ceiling is low then a darker stain on them will help to draw your eye down and 'ground' the space, then keep the walls pale and let your wood floor be the star of the show. 

7. Go for a dark finish

living room wood floor ideas, living room with original wood flooring, green sofa, large glass vase, bright artwork, rug, colourful cushions, view to kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Original flooring that's got a herringbone parquet design are second to none. Rich in history and tone, they provide a fabulous starting point for the rest of your living room scheme. 

Dark finishes offer elegance and depth and it pays to keep your planks well looked after if they are authentic. Sealants offer protection and allow you to darken the wood for a more dramatic look.

They provide a depth of colour that works with bright colours too – so if you love a bold look embrace it! 

8. Fake it with porcelain

living room wood floor ideas, living room with wood effect porcelain floor, matching armchairs, rug, pale green sofa, floor lamp

(Image credit: Lapicida)

If you love the look of solid wood but would rather have a floor that's easier to maintain, then consider wood effect porcelain. The technology is so good these days you need have a double look to check it's not real!

'Very much on-trend, Lapicida’s wood-effect porcelain offers the authenticity of genuine wood but with all the practicalities and ease of porcelain,' says Jason Cherrington, director of Lapicida. 'Thinner, more stable and more durable than real timber, it’s an ideal surface for high traffic areas throughout the home.'

The latest collection ‘Chianti’ is designed to replicate the look and feel of oak, bringing warmth and character to any space. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor floors and walls, it comes in textured planks and is available in four colourways - Castagno, Natural, Quercia and Rovere.(shown)

The tiles offer all the complex colour gradations of natural wood, making them suitable for both modern and classic settings.

9. For a fabulous quality finish, consider LVT

living room wood floor ideas, living room with green Chesterfield sofa, white and metal coffee table and LVT wood effect flooring

(Image credit: Amtico)

LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tiles is perhaps one of the most versatile materials for flooring these days. Covering all looks from concrete, stone and wood there's most definitely something for everyone. 

'Taking inspiration from everyday materials, Amtico flooring is designed to be hyper realistic,' says Sarah Escott, design manager at Amtico. 'The new wood collections demonstrate the innovative development of more realistic grains with an authentic timber feel.  Showing how the grains work together, it creates a homely, cosy palette within a space. This can be further enhanced through innovative laying patterns such as parquet or basket weave that can not only create a sense of movement throughout the home but be a luxurious, sophisticated focal point within a space. 

The one shown above is the Victorian Star Large York flooring that's a collaboration between Amtico Decor and National Trust. 

10. For underfloor heating, consider engineered wood

living room wood floor ideas, living room with engineered wood flooring in chevron pattern, basket, stripe sofa, lantern, large table lamp

(Image credit: Havwoods/Edward Datson)

Although beautiful, solid wood flooring can be a little problematic when it comes to fitting to underfloor heating. To get a similar real wood look, engineered flooring is the best alternative. 

So what actually is it? Made up of base layers of softwood or multi-layered plywood, it has a top layer of real wood, more often than not oak. The result is the feel of real wood but with the bonus of it being able to sit on top of underfloor heating. There are also size options of wide and long planks and different layout options. It's all put together using a quick-to-install 'click fit system'. Another bonus is that it's extremely hard-wearing without compromising on aesthetics. 

Which wooden flooring is best for living rooms?

This does depend on your needs as a family, and what you may already have – if real wood flooring is existing in your living room then embrace it as it's part of the bones of your house and will be special. 

If that's not an option and you're looking into other wood possibilities, then do consider engineered wood.

'As one of the most sociable rooms in the home, your flooring is challenged daily and will therefore require maintenance in order to keep it looking its best,' says Simon Myatt, brand ambassador, Havwoods

'Wood floors are quick and easy to clean and take care of, especially engineered wood flooring rather than solid wood which will naturally want to move, warp or crack. Engineered wood flooring has all the aesthetic beauty and charm of a wood floor, but its multi-layered structure ensures stability, minimal response to moisture and is cost effective too. This doesn't meant you have to play it safe though. Opt for an interesting pattern in an engaging design that will make a real difference to the space – like on-trend herringbone or chevron – which suit both traditional and contemporary properties.'

For a warmer feel underfoot and easy wipe ability if you have a young family, LVT could be your best bet:

'Offering all the aesthetic appeal of its natural counterpart, from white-washed woods to rich oaks and rustic timbers, LVT wood-effect flooring offers exceptional quality and value for money – whilst also being easy to maintain,' adds Sarah Escott, design manager at Amtico.

What colours go best with wood floors in a living room?

This can depend on what tone of wood flooring you have. As a general rule of thumb, pale wood flooring looks great with lighter colours, think whites, soft greys, pastel blues and greens and blush. 

If bold colour is more your bag then a darker wood floor can take them well. The depth of colour from wood tones like cherry and mahogany allow bright shades to look balanced visually as the flooring will ground the look. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events.