(Photo: McDonald Carpet One)

With large open spaces trending in homes, homeowners are finding that hardwood and Luxury Vinyl Plank give them the cohesive look they desire to update the main level.

“People don’t want the breakup of spaces anymore,” said Kelley McDonald, owner of McDonald Carpet One, a Boulder-based seller of carpet, hardwood, laminate, Luxury Vinyl Plank and rugs. “They want the same type of flooring throughout the main floor.”

Replacing old or outdated flooring with hardwood or Luxury Vinyl Plank, which can have a wood or tile look, is a way to “add value and beauty to your home,” McDonald said.

One way to get that value is to remove carpeting from living areas and vinyl from the kitchen—the vinyl can be replaced with materials like porcelain tile, which also is used in shower surrounds and backsplashes, McDonald said.

“It’s going to make it look more modern and refreshed,” McDonald said. “Old carpet flooring tends to get dirty and damaged.”

Opting for hardwood over other flooring types adds value to the home because of its luxurious look and the many benefits it offers, McDonald said.

Hardwood has a return on investment of up to 70% when selling a home, according to the National Association of Realtors, while Luxury Vinyl Plank, more affordable than wood, is still new on the market, McDonald said.

“(Wood) will hold its value more than other things,” McDonald said.

At the time of sale, a home’s value will increase by 6% on average if the floors are solid hardwood, according to local realtors, said Abbey Van Horn, owner of Meyer Skidmore & Company, Quality Hardwood Floors in Longmont.

“They’re wanted because of their longevity of them. They last longer than carpet and vinyl,” Van Horn said. “They will outlive you and your home versus any other product.”

(Photos: Meyer Skidmore & Co.)

Hardwood can be refinished several times and is easier to clean than carpet, plus it’s a natural, sustainable product, Van Horn said.

“In Colorado, people love that,” Van Horn said.

Wood comes in many types, has several levels of hardness, and can have multiple stain colors, styles and patterns. It can have character in it or be a clean grade, depending on how the tree is cut. And it can be used as a border to set off spaces like a dining room from the rest of the main floor.

Hard surfaces like wood and Luxury Vinyl Plank also are more durable and last longer than carpet and other surfaces, especially in heavily trafficked areas, and do not need to be replaced as often. In dry climates like Colorado’s, Luxury Vinyl Plank can hold up better than wood, since it needs less moisture for upkeep.

“It looks as good as wood and is more forgiving,” McDonald said. “Wood is going to dent, and it needs to be sanded and finished.”

Luxury Vinyl Plank also is optimal for basement flooring, since it won’t mold, is easy to clean and is “virtually indestructible,” Van Horn said. The material is more cost-effective than ceramic tile, though tile is good for water-prone areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms and mud rooms, she said.

Pre-engineered finished floor products are another affordable alternative to wood—they consist of a thin veneer layer of hardwood on top of a plank and come in different colors and textures.

(Photo: McDonald Carpet One).

“It’s becoming more and more popular,” Van Horn said. “There is less wait time to move into your home with a pre-engineered finished product.”

Van Horn recommends starting from the ground up when doing a remodeling project, selecting the flooring first, followed by paint and cabinet colors.

“When picking out the color for hardwood floors keep in mind how you will live on the floors,” Van Horn said, recommending that with kids or pets avoid black or dark stains that can show things like pet hair. “If it’s a smaller space, go lighter to open up that room.”

Other ways to increase luxury on the main floor is to add a new fireplace façade or a custom runner to hardwood stairs, “a small but impactful project,” McDonald said.

“A custom area rug or stair runners on hard surfaces as opposed to replacing the floor can add color and style,” McDonald said. “Both are affordable, and you’re not tearing out anything. You’re just adding.”

By Shelley Widhalm, AH Luxury