Choosing Hardwood Flooring for Your Historic Home

Design Trends

Choosing Hardwood Flooring for Your Historic Home

Perhaps you’ve just bought an older home, or maybe you’re remodeling one you have lived in for some time.  You know that there is nothing that beats the beauty of that old, original hardwood flooring.  Except maybe the beauty of the new hardwood flooring that will complement a new addition or replace dingy tile or linoleum.

If you want to preserve the beauty and historic charm of your space, how should you select a new flooring to complement the old?  The answer will depend on your style, the style of the hardwood flooring at the time the house was built, and the pre-existing finishes in the home.  However, there are some common features found in different historical styles.

This guide is not meant to be exhaustive, but it should provide some basic guidelines for matching historic hardwood in your home.


The farmhouse style has a long history, from early settler homes to more recent country abodes.  If you’ve bought an old farmhouse, you’ll likely notice that the original wood floors have a wide plank, with either a natural or painted finish.  The floors will also likely have a good bit of character from small dents and scratches, and maybe a few stains left over the years.

To find a flooring that complements the original aesthetic, look for a wider plank, some distressing, and perhaps even an unfinished flooring that can be painted and finished with a unique historical color or stain.  For a refined farmhouse aesthetic, shop our Wexford collection.


Victorian styles vary widely, from the whimsy of Queen Anne to the grandeur of the Second Empire.  Elegant Victorian homes often feature delicate parquet flooring patterns with different colors of wood to add depth and intrigue to the borders of the room.

To translate Victorian sensibilities into a modern setting, consider using narrower planks in different colors to create a unique pattern on your floor.  Depending on whether the original trims and moldings were shellacked or painted, you might choose either a darker finish or a natural color to complement your home.  Shop our narrow plank collections.

Early 20th Century

While Victorian styles were on their way out by the early 1900s, the new styles of the 20s and 30s made use of similar dark wood finishes, simplified somewhat from the excesses of the Victorian period.  From Tudor Revivals to Colonials to Craftsman Bungalows and more, original hardwood features are the highlight of these homes.

Like Victorian styles, early 20th century homes often have narrower planks.  Unlike Victorian styles, they rarely feature delicate carvings and parquetry, instead favoring bolder and more streamlined built-ins, mantlepieces, and floorings.  Most often, the hardwood is a beautiful medium-brown color.  Shop our medium brown stain collections.

Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modern styles feature a streamlined look that combines modern shapes with natural finishes and materials.  The homes are often constructed to allow natural light to fill the space, providing a great opportunity to highlight the rich grain and natural depth of hardwood flooring.

Depending on your space, a warm brown natural finish might complement your period furnishings, a lighter natural finish could provide contrast for darker furnishings or walls, and a variegated natural coloring could really make the floors stand out in a well-lit space.  To find the right fit for your mid-century modern home, shop our natural finishes.

Each historic home is unique, and the right choice will depend on the individual home.  Whatever your needs, Mullican offers a wide range of finishes, plank widths, and styles to complement the original flooring.

Bring beauty into your space.

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