Accent Hardwood Floors: Types, Layouts and Benefits

Updated April 23, 2021
Accent Hardwood Floor

If you're looking for ways to accent hardwood floors in your home, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn there are a variety of techniques available. Whether you accent tone-on-tone with wood or you incorporate tile, there is a hardwood floor accent that can complement your home.

Why Accent Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are a beautiful addition to any home. Simply laying hardwood floors can immediately dress up any space. So why accent? There are a number of reasons why accenting your floors can be beneficial to the home.

  • Add subtle detail and interest to the floor.
  • Create a dramatic entry way, foyer or hallway.
  • Draw the eye to a section of the room.
  • Add color and life to the floor.
  • Lead a visitor into the home via strategically placed accents.

Choose Your Hardwood Flooring

To select just the right accent for your hardwood floors, you need to start by selecting the type of hardwood you'll be installing. Hardwood floors are available in a wide variety of colors, wood species and plank size. Wide, polished pine floor planks will take a very different style of accent than green design bamboo or a Brazilian cherry.

Begin by selecting the color and the wood species.

  • A wood that has a lot of character and grain, such as Teak or Brazilian cherry, will take a more subtle accent.
  • A light hardwood like maple can take a darker, bolder accent.
  • If you are looking for a decorative floor for an entryway, sunroom or family room, pay attention to the grain and color of the wood.
Baseboard and wooden floor

Hardwood Floor Layout

Before you add an accent to any hardwood floor, decide on the layout you wish to use. There are several ways to do this, and the layout can go hand-in-hand with the accent.

  • If you prefer a simple layout, the accent can be laid as a border. You can repeat this layout by outlining each room.
  • If you wish to draw attention to the center of the room, you can first lay the hardwood straight with several rows around the room and then add the border. To create a unique border, change the pattern or direction of your hardwood or inlay a second material.
  • If you wish to use the floor to draw you into the room, consider using a series of shapes that connect. For example, you can arrange the hardwood in a square pattern and then create an accent in the center. Continue laying squares of hardwood and the center accent, one after another, as you enter a hall or foyer to draw attention deeper into the home.
Classical old wooden parquet design

Hardwood Floor Accents

There are several types of accents available. To help you select an accent design, you can consider some of the more popular choices.

  • Inlay a second, darker color of hardwood as a border around the edges of each room, going in and out of doorways.
  • Inlay a second, darker color of hardwood as a border between two patterns of hardwood, such as a straight plank with a herringbone pattern in the center.
  • Use a tile and wood decorative border. Lay this border as a transition between two materials or as an accent anywhere in your hardwood.
  • Inlay a stone medallion, or water jet stone accents in the center of the floor. Coordinate the colors of the stone in the accent to highlight wall and furniture colors.
  • Lay sections of decorative marble inside a field of hardwood. Three or four sections of a rich marble like Elazig Cherry, or Sahara Gold approximately 36-inches x 60-inches surrounded by hardwood leading you through the house can have a striking appearance.
  • Alternate colors of wood in a pinwheel, target, or box pattern through the center of a room. Surround this with a straight laid field of a single color.

Cost of Hardwood Accents

Accent hardwood flooring should be installed at the same time the rest of the floor is put in. The installation cost should not be too much higher than the rest of the floor unless intricate patterns are created.

The cost of an accent can range from a slightly higher or lower priced wood for tone-on-tone looks, to a few thousand dollars for a custom stone medallion. Be sure to leave plenty of time for delivery of the accent, as some medallions and other accents can take up to 12 weeks to arrive.

You can expect to pay either by plank or by lineal foot. An average cost for a three feet long by six inches wide border plank can cost between $100 to $200, depending on the border design. When paying by the lineal foot, you can expect to pay between $36 to $500 per lineal foot. The cost for each pricing depends on the intricacy of the layout, types of woods used, and whether you purchase finished or unfinished wood.

Tile border

Dress Up Your Hardwood Floors

By choosing to accent hardwood floors in your home, you are creating an additional level of detail, design, and life to your floor. Whether your design is subtle or dramatic, a hardwood floor accent is sure to add interest to any space.

Accent Hardwood Floors: Types, Layouts and Benefits