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wood flooring

Making Sense of Wood Flooring

Making Sense of Wood Flooring


by Jonathan Sapir, managing director of Real wood is a versatile flooring material, which is the perfect backdrop to many interiors. Should you decide to venture in the direction of wood flooring, you will soon come across technical and industry buzzwords that may sound confusing at first. In this visual guide we aim to explain your options.

Solid and Engineered Natural Wood Floors There are two options when it comes to the floorboard construction. One made entirely of solid wood, while an alternative that is made from solid wood and artificial materials. Your first decision is choosing one type over the other, but don’t worry it is easier than it seems.

Solid Wood – Each floorboard is made from 100% natural hardwood. Species vary from the common European Oak to the exotic African Teak. Solid wood floors are suitable in most parts of your interior, with the one exclusion of wet or humid areas.

Engineered Wood – Each floorboard is made from 3mm to 6mm layer of natural hardwood. Underneath this layer you will find MDF, Plywood and softwood. The use of hardwood externally and artificial materials internally ensures that the floorboard retains the look of real wood. The big difference is that engineered wood can be fitted across the entire project, even in humid or wet areas such as the bathroom and kitchen.

Natural Wood Floors Grade The visual appearance of the floorboard is heavily influenced by the grade. Natural wood includes features such as Sapwood, Knots, grain markings and colour fluctuations. How many of these features are visibly present in the floorboard is measured and cataloged as grade. Grade has no bearing on quality, merely a visual indication.

Prime and Select Grades – These are the two premium grades in which the floorboards benefit from a uniform look. Sapwood and knots are minimal, while colour is persistent across the entire length of the board.


Natural and Rustic Grades – These are the two basic grades where sapwood and knots are randomly visible. Furthermore, colour fluctuations are to be expected and overall the abundance of these features makes the natural and rustic grades more affordable.


Natural Wood Floors Colours  Natural hardwoods are available in shades of honey golden colour. The species of hardwood whether it is Oak, Walnut or any other hardwood will determine the precise shade. The problem is that golden honey isn’t suitable in every interior, which is why there are many colour techniques nowadays that can change the natural colour of wood. Here are a few examples.

White Wood Flooring – Perfect in making your interior appear bigger and brighter by spreading natural light around. Ideal for dark rooms that receive very little natural light.


Dark Wood Flooring – Perfect for making your floor the focal point by creating a contrast against white or off white fixtures. Can also enhance a rustic interior using bulky and chunky furniture.


Grey Wood Flooring – Perfect for creating sophisticated and modern interior and avoiding color clash against dark fixtures, which can happen in the case of dark wood flooring.


Natural Wood Floors Finish The very last consideration is your choice of finish. This refers to the clear chemical layer that is applied onto the floorboard. It is meant to offer basics protection from common causes of damage and comes in the form of oil or lacquer.

Oil Finish – Oil will often result in a matt finish. This can be enhanced by coating the floorboard in several coats of oil, or lessened by using only one coat.


Lacquered Finish - Lacquer will often result in a semi-gloss (satin) or glossy finish. Again it can be enhanced or lessened depending on the number of applications.


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Swedish Interior Design Style

"Gustavian inspired, Swedish interior design is light and sophisticated."

A bit of history....

Sweedish Interior Design style is characterized by a look that is light,airy and elegant. Whether classic in emphasis, country or contemporary in direction, this style underscores an elegant and refreshing atmosphere.

Despite originating centuries ago, the Swedish Gustavian style is a look that is still popular today. It usually features white painted, neo-classical furnishings – often displaying the patina of age – set against a very light, interior background.

Gustavian style is named for King Gustav III who ruled Sweden in the late 18th century. He had a passion for the neo-classical styles prominent at that time in continental Europe – such as the Louis XVI style in France, for example. Gustav combined elements of these styles in his own royal palaces in Sweden. (I must say the man had good taste.)

Over time, the Gustavian interpretation of a neo-classical interior spread throughout the broader Swedish society and has been recognized as a distinct interior style in its own right.

Gustavian style is versatile enough to feature classical and contemporary elements together and still look great! With that said, there are some style fundamentals to follow.

Creating the look ....

If you are going for the Swedish interior look I have one word for you – white! Okay, maybe not literally everything white – that might get pretty boring. But keeping the supporting hues light is really important. Very soft blues, grays and greens are typical of this style, but the overall finished look should be very light and airy.

For a Gustavian inspired interior, choose white painted furniture that features a classic silhouette. Time worn or distressed edges will further emphasize the look and is a very desirable attribute. Wall moldings and furniture with raised detail will add greater visual interest in this largely white environment.

A touch of gold gilding is important as an accent. Hints of it can be brought in through the raised details of furnishings and by your choice of lighting elements, picture and mirror framing, for example.


Your walls and trim should be painted white (or a very soft gray, blue or green). Alternately, you might choose a wallpaper pattern. If you go with wallpaper, consider a neo-classic style with a very open and subdued pattern in soft colors on a white background. A common Swedish design motif is floral swags with ribbons and bows.

When it comes to floors, wood looks best with a Swedish interior design style. Consider layering your wood floor with woven rugs or runners to enhance the Swedish aura.

Now let’s talk windows. If you have attractive window moldings you might not want to use draperies at all but perhaps opt for simple sheers or fabric blinds like inside-mounted roman shades. If you choose draperies instead, try something that doesn't not contrast too sharply with the light colored walls. Your window treatment should complement the subtle yet sophisticated overall effect.

Consider natural fabrics for your Swedish interior design style. Linen, cotton and silk are some possibilities.

Finally, add a bit of bling to your look in the form of crystal lighting. This could be a classic, crystal chandelier (it’s been said that every Gustavian interior has one) or similar wall sconces, for example. The crystals will reflect the light in the airy space and be the crown jewel of your inspired Swedish interior design.


Style Tips:

- Soft blue and white is a common Swedish color scheme. Consider accenting your interior with classic, blue and white porcelain pieces. Also, pastels mixed with white  create a very Gustavian look.

- For a distinctive Swedish look in your bedroom of royal repose, install a half-moon shaped corona with an attached, sheer canopy over the head of the bed. It’s classic Gustavian!

- Round out your look with that distinctive piece of Swedish furniture – a painted, curvaceous, floor clock.

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