hardwood floors offer a handsome contrast to a mostly white kitchen
Photo: Nathan Kirkman
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Hardwood Flooring

Rich, dark hardwood—like the stained oak in this kitchen—offers a handsome contrast in a mostly white kitchen. And with all the choices out there, getting the look doesn't have to be your costliest upgrade. The price difference between prefinished solid wood (about $5 to $16, uninstalled) and engineered wood (about $2 to $11, uninstalled) is often mere dollars per square foot. The latter requires less install time—and time is money, if you're hiring out—and is also more DIY-friendly. But the boards won't withstand as much refinishing down the line. Cheaper laminate about (about $4 to $8, installed) and vinyl about (about $3 to $7, installed) can provide the right color contrast and, in some cases, a decent (waterproof) stand-in for the look of dark-stained wood, if not the feel.
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