Q: My living room/dining room/kitchen area is all open. That works pretty well, except that there is light-colored tile floor in the kitchen and dark wood everywhere else. I like the wood floor, so can that go in the kitchen? My husband thinks the wood will wear out between all the traffic with our kiddos and two dogs, as we all pretty much live in the kitchen.
A: You both are right. It's common to see wood floors in kitchens, and they look terrific - when they are new. Floors in any kitchen need to hold up to splashing water, foot traffic, spilled food and dropped glasses, art supplies, pet accidents, and who knows what else. For your house, it just depends on how much of a distressed look you and your husband will accept.
Some wood floor products wear much better than others. How are your floors holding up in the other rooms, especially in the main traffic areas and near doors? This could give you a clue about how hard your kitchen floor needs to work. Does the wood still look great to both of you? If so, you might have a chance with the same wood in the kitchen with area rugs or mats in front of the sink and stove.
Another idea that could work, depending on your budget, is to redo the floors in all the rooms to get that cohesive look you want. Consider natural-looking stone or tiles that look like aged wood. Accenting with area rugs will help define the living spaces and soften the tile, especially at seating and dining areas.
Or choose a tile for the kitchen that coordinates with the existing wood. It'll be impossible to match the color, but consider a tone that is similar but a shade or two lighter or darker. A tile border or inset that is closer to the wood tone will help coordinate the flooring. And choose area rugs with tones similar to the kitchen tile for the living and dining spaces.
I hope these ideas help, and let me know how it goes.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.