When Less Sheen Is More

Rod Lorenz

Low-sheen hardwood flooring looks casual and hides wear and tear.Most people like things that are shiny.

Shiny new cars. Shiny jewelry. Shiny smiles.

But what about shiny hardwood floors?

Well, many people do like shiny, glossy hardwood floors, or what we call “floors with high sheen.” But shiny isn’t for everyone, and there’s undeniably a trend toward low-sheen matte finishes.

The increasing popularity of floors finished with natural oils has something to do with that. A natural oil finish has a very warm, natural appearance, with no “shine.” 

But the use of natural oils isn’t the only reason that low-sheen finishes have become so stylish. The low-sheen appearance is in tune with the broad trend toward natural-looking flooring, and even people selecting traditional finishes are going low-sheen.

It’s all a matter of personal taste, but some people want hardwood floors that are more casual than formal, and the formality created by a glossy sheen just isn’t for them.

Practical concerns also play a role. High-gloss and even semi-gloss floors will show wear and tear more than low-sheen floors. That’s because high-sheen floors look so elegant and “shiny” that any little scrape, ding, or dent will draw the eye, similar to the first scratch on a new car.

That’s no problem for hardwood floors that see little traffic. But a high-sheen floor in a heavily trafficked area will begin to look worn in the areas that see the heavy traffic. You’ll be able to see where people walk the most, such as by the front or back door (or the path to the kitchen!).

For people with children and/or indoor pets, a low-sheen finish is particularly appealing because the wear and tear they cause blends in so much better than it does with high-sheen floors. That means they can enjoy their flooring longer without having to refinish it!

To compare the “shininess” of various finishes, stop by our showroom. We’re not going to push low-sheen over high-sheen—they both have their place, and high-sheen floors can be absolutely gorgeous. But you will be able to compare and see the possibilities.

Whether for stylistic or practical reasons, low-sheen hardwood floors might be exactly the look you’re after.

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