With most things in life, bigger is better, and now that trend has come to hardwood flooring. In both hardwood and laminate flooring, we’re seeing a continuing trend toward longer, wider planks that give a homey, authentic feel and hearken back to pioneer days. Why is this style so popular?

The long, clean lines are closer to the actual tree, which gives it a more natural look that’s definitely in style these days. That naturalistic look is enhanced by the fact that many long planks are distressed, with imperfections like knot holes, mineral streaks and so on. For many standard-length planks, these imperfections are milled out to give a uniform look. But today, many people know that these “flaws” are naturally beautiful and appreciate the length and character of these longer, wider offerings.

The other major way to get longer planks of natural hardwood is by using reclaimed wood. Because trees used to be allowed to grow taller before they were harvested, antique planks are often longer than today’s. By rescuing wood from old barns, houses or even logs from old swamps and rivers, you wind up with a longer plank and a uniqueness only age can provide. Reclaimed wood, while it is priced on the high end of the spectrum, is a favored by high-end architects and designers as much for its ecological advantages as for its timeworn appeal.

If you’re looking for a more consistent and polished look without sacrificing length or width, look to laminate flooring. This is also a fantastic option for controlling costs. Because laminate flooring is a photo-realistic picture of wood grain instead of organic wood, it can be manufactured to almost any length without having to worry about how tall or wide an actual tree is. And laminate flooring, though less expensive, is more scratch-resistant than natural hardwood flooring.

Long, wide planks are perfect for people trying to achieve a traditional, formal look to their home. It’s a pleasant throwback to simpler times. Alternatively, when used in a cutting-edge gray or silver stain, it can add a funky contemporary touch that makes rooms seem expansive.

However you decide to take advantage of the new longer, wider plank trend, you’ll be giving your home a special, rich design element that will last for years to come. Not sure if it’s right for you? Contact Tish Flooring, an Indianapolis hardwood company, and we’ll help point you in the right direction.