What Is The Best Wood Flooring For Living Room? [5 Options Explored!]

Have you ever imagined sliding across the living room floor wearing socks while your favorite song plays in the background? Wood flooring in the living room can achieve this slidable surface. But, in reality, wood adds so much more to the look and feel of a living room. So, which wood flooring is best? We’ve researched living room flooring options to find the best woods for you to choose. 

Make a statement with wood flooring in the living room! Consider any of these wood varieties when installing a wood floor in your living room:

  1. Oak wood
  2. Maple wood
  3. Hickory wood
  4. Brazilian cherry wood
  5. Engineered wood

As wood flooring is a long-term investment, you should consider the options wisely. Certain factors may influence your decision. Such factors include the wood’s Janka score/durability, style, staining/color, and cost. Also, how wood is curated affects the ease of installation. Keep reading to see examples of the aforementioned wood flooring options and how to factor in these considerations for the best fit for your living room floor.

living room with exposed wood chairs and hardwood flooring. What Is The Best Wood Flooring For Living Room [5 Options Explored!]

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

The Janka Score Matters for a Durable Wood Floor

First, let’s talk about the Janka score. In order to test the durability or hardness of wood, the Janka Hardness Test is commonly performed. This test measures the force of a steel ball against the wood, which can only be as strong as the tree that it grew from.

If you’re planning to keep your wood floor investment for several years, then this test matters. Don’t worry; you don’t have to perform the test yourself! All you have to do is check the Janka score. Typically Janka scores range from 350 least durable to 4380 most durable

Before perusing the many different flooring options, consider the Janka score first. If the wood is not durable enough, then it might not be worth the investment. Usually, the living room is the first place that guests enter your home. Hence, it’s one of the rooms with the most foot traffic. 

Best Wood Flooring for the Living Room

1. Oak 

You can’t go wrong with oak wood flooring. In truth, this type is one of the most popular wood floorings. Typically, oak floors have great Janka scores. For example, Northern Red Oak wood flooring has a Janka score of 1290. Most oak hardwood floors aim for this score or higher.

Children, pets, and busy households may require durable floorings. This is an ideal choice if you need something resistant to spills, especially since a lot of time is often spent in the living room. Additionally, oak wood flooring elevates the style of the living room. 

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Wine spill on hardwood floor

Color choice influences the overall look, and oak gives you a variety of options. White oak and red oak are the most popular flooring colors. See how white oak brightens the room in the example below.


Red oak is also beautiful with its blushing undertones, as seen in the room featured below.

[PIN id=”25332816643108575″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


Another key selling point of oak word flooring is its affordability–it’s generally the least expensive type. If installed on your own, you can expect to pay $3 to $7 per square foot. If professionally installed, it costs $8 to $12 per square foot. This price can jump up to $20 per square foot. 

2. Maple

Another wood flooring high on the popularity list is maple wood. Do you need something a little stronger than oak floorings for your living room area? Maple wood’s Janka score comes in at 1450. Since there aren’t as many grains in maple flooring, there is a less busy look in the wood. Thus, it looks smooth and effortless. It looks so cozy in the living room below.


Maple floorings come in light natural shades. Unfortunately, it is difficult to stain the wood because of its type of wood grain. On the plus side, light colors are in these days! Why stain it?

Increased durability does not come without increased expense, however. Professional installment will cost you $7 to $10 per square foot. Beware that this price can escalate to $15 for highly valued maple products. The price rises higher for those with unique patterns— an astonishing $15 to $20 per square foot. If you have the time, you should try to do it yourself at half the cost; it costs $3 to $5 per square foot.

3. Hickory 

If you’re looking for a rustic appeal, then hickory wood flooring might be the best choice for your living room. It looks grainy and natural. The Janka score is a nice average in the middle at 1820

As a versatile option, hickory wood flooring comes in both light and dark colors. A light-colored option is ideal for open-concept living rooms with plenty of light.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

A dark-colored option would look perfect in a cabin in the woods.

Click here to see it on Amazon. 

Hickory wood flooring has a fairly wide cost range. It costs $5 to $15 per square foot. The lower end might be worth it for the living room in a simple, quaint cabin in the woods. The higher-end might be better for renting out the guesthouse during the summer — check out this look. 

[PIN id=”844493668228777″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


4. Brazilian cherry

Although it is not as popular as the above wood floorings, Brazilian cherry also called jatoba, demonstrates a Janka score of 3190, which is a happy medium between oak flooring and maple flooring. This indicates that it is highly scratch-resistant. Although the color options are limited to a rich red, anyone can admire and appreciate this flooring.

Click here to see it on Amazon. 

Sadly, this wood is not as timeless as the others; it’s simply outdated. Remember the early 2000s? That’s how long it’s been since it was popular! Nevertheless, it’s lushly sophisticated. 

[PIN id=”2744449763665137″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


Sophistication does not come without a price. However, it’s still less expensive than maple flooring. It costs $4 to $5 per square foot. 

5. Engineered Wood 

Engineered wood is considered easier to install than solid hardwood. Solid hardwood requires nails hammered into a tongue-and-groove indention. This might be difficult to do on your own at home. It’s a lot of work. In contrast, engineered hardwood may have click-lock edges that are easier to manipulate. Sometimes it requires nails, and other times it does not. 

Typically engineered wood costs $7 to $15 to install. Solid hardwood is more expensive. It costs $7 to $20 per square foot. 

What Is The Most Scratch-Resistant Wood Floor?

Generally, the higher the Janka score means the more scratch-resistant the wood flooring is. For example, snakewood is very scratch-resistant because its Janka score is 10 times higher than Aspen wood. Regardless, the wood finishing matters. Unpolished wood can scratch no matter how high its Janka score is. 

[PIN id=”10977592819765203″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


Of course, unstained planks are more expensive than stained planks because they are easier for contractors to install. This is true for all wood types. It’s not necessary for the contractors to stain, re-stain, and repeat. Thus, this saves you some time and money!

Should Wood Floors Match Throughout The House?

While it’s not absolutely necessary, matching hardwood floors will help create an effortless flow throughout the house. Take a look at this living room example below.


It’s up to you! Do you want the rooms to flow together, or would you rather have a clear separation between rooms? A tiled kitchen floor still looks great with a hardwood floor living room. 

[PIN id=”2674081017797297″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


What Color Hardwood Floor Is Best For Resale?

Consider the color in regard to resale value. Lightly colored wood flooring was popular in 2020, and its popularity is still going strong into 2021. Lately, people have been drawn to such colors as white, beige, blonde, and grey. 

Typically, this trend is seen in many newer apartment buildings. Lighter floors create an inviting atmosphere that people are drawn to. Also, they tend to create a roomier feel. Therefore, lightly colored wood floors are the best for resale. 

What Color Hardwood Floor Is Easiest To Clean?

Although light colors are the most popular, they also tend to show the most dirt. Depending on the product instructions, hardwood floors need to be cleaned at least once weekly. More frequent cleanings may be needed if they become visibly soiled. An easy-to-use squirt bottle cleaning agent is an excellent choice.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Interestingly enough, there is a new light color that might be an ideal choice for invoking a clean appearance. The color is known as greige, a blend between beige and grey. Greige wood flooring hides dirt and grime while also portraying a light, roomy living area to entertain guests. 

[PIN id=”140456082119269882″ description=”hide” size=”large”]


Final Thoughts

In summary, your living room has a few great hardwood floor options, such as oak, maple, hickory, Brazilian cherry, and engineered wood. Consider your options wisely because it is an important, long-term investment. Ultimately it’s up to you! Enjoy shopping for your new hardwood flooring!

By the way, do you need rugs for your new hardwood floor? Click here to find out more.

Also, the color scheme of your furniture matters when it comes to light-colored floors. Click here to find out more. 

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Share with a friend -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *