Time for A New Wood Floor - Which Sample Is Your Favourite?

Houston, we have a problem. We need a new wood floor. It's not a decision to take lightly - but sadly, ours has bitten the dust! When we moved in over 12 years ago, our open-plan living room featured a dark oak floor throughout. It's a really dark room, so we decided to lighten it up by sanding down the floor and then applying a whitewash. It was only then that we realised that the owners before us had laid a laminate oak wood floor -  and the actual oak element was only a couple of millimetres thick. It looked beautiful to begin with, but over time, cracks started to appear, and the edges of the laminate started to furl. You can catch a glimpse in the picture above as well as the close-ups below! 

It had been bothering us for a while, since a tired looking floor can really bring the entire look of a room down. But the final straw came on New Year's Eve when we had a bit of a raucous party which resulted in a dance-off until 4am (remember those days before the - whisper it - 'C' word?). It was great fun, but our poor floor was not up to it - and great lengths of laminate became dislodged. It was definitely time to get a new wood floor! 

Where to start?!  
Living in Scandinavia, a wood flooring is the obvious choice - and thankfully we don't have a dog so   we're confident that the right wood floor would be a great, sustainable, long lasting option. The natural material helps to draw nature indoors and add warmth and depth top a room. There is an overwhelming array of options out there, but I already knew I wanted one of two looks: herringbone parquet or a wide plank. 

Herringbone Parquet

It's no secret that I've always loved a parquet floor (see my 'all hail the parquet floor' feature) - aren't they stunning?! The herringbone parquet floor in particular is hugely popular in Sweden and many turn-of-the-century homes are blessed with original versions, in all their creaky glory. This particular Boden oak with a matt finish in 'extra white' is absolutely stunning, the only thing is, our townhouse is modern (it was built in 2001 which incidentally makes it 20 years old this year - time for another party?!) so we felt we needed something a little more contemporary. 

Wide plank oak

I've been fan of wide plank floors for a long time. There's something really clean and contemporary about them and yet they still add a lot of warmth to a space (this one is the wide plank SVANSHALL in hardened oak - isn't it beautiful?).  Are you a fan too? Per and I agreed that this option would be the best one for our open-plan living space. 

The brand
Bjelin - one of Europe's largest floor manufacturers - was an obvious choice for us. Their wide plank wood floors are produced not far up the coast and since we're planning to lay the floor ourselves - we like that their planks click together without glue or nails. They also have a great sustainable approach: maximising the use of every log, reusing waste as filler or energy and sourcing raw materials from responsibly managed forests. And finally, they sell beautiful wide plank flooring made from cured the wood, which is super strong (roll on New Year's Eve!). Yay! 

It's one thing looking at the pictures on a website, it's another thing entirely testing out samples. We approached Bjelin and tested out as many samples as we could. We wanted to make sure that the wood had more of a grey tint (and not a yellow or beige note that might get more pronounced as time goes on). We also wanted to make sure that the wood wasn't too dark and fitted the design of the room (it's amazing how much a wood floor can change a space!). Here are a few of the wood floors we tested: 

Clockwise from left to right: Loarp, Lyby, Torekov, Arild, Hittarp

Do you have a favourite? 

I'd love to hear about your favourite wood floor style - and any tips and advice you might have from laying a wood floor in your home! Feeling a little nervous!

I promise to update you soon! 


PS Stop by tomorrow to take a peek around a breath-taking Danish summer cottage, it'll have you dreaming of a summer in Scandinavia all weekend! 

Photo 1: My Scandinavian Home. All other photos: Bjelin

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Choosing a Wood Floor For our Tiny Cabin, From Light to Dark

Disclosure: Norrlands Trä have kindly agreed to collaborate with us on this project

Hejsan! A cabin update is long overdue! We're still nutting out the interior details and lately we've been focused on the floor. Living in Scandinavia, it was a no brainer to go for a wood floor - I love the warmth, the softness underfoot and how it ages over time. We were specifically looking for a wood floor with a simple and traditional look and that comes from a sustainable source. We headed to Norrlands Trä - the Swedish company from whom we got our wall panelling (and only use FSC certifiable wood from the forests of North Sweden) to pick up some samples from dark to light. Here are some of the variations we considered - and the wood floor we eventually chose.

Blond tones
Nothing says Scandinavian like 'blond' wood, don't you think? The light touch is great for brightening up a space, while still adding warmth. But there can be massive variations in light wood - from almost white to dark blond (it's starting to sound like a trip to the hairdressers!), and don't get me started on the subtle nuances: from cold to warm tones, and how the colour changes over time. It's a minefield! 

Lightest shade
Save from painting the floor white, the brushed pine (Borstat Furugolv) in 'ultra protect white' is the lightest in the Norrlands Trä range. It's close to white and has a wonderful, ridged patina with the grain showing through. Pine can be incredibly soft, and so I like that the surface has been gently teased away with a brush, making it a more durable choice. 

Light pine
We were also drawn to the pine floor (Putsat furugolv) in ultra protect white which has been primed and then sandpapered giving a soft, smooth result (a treat for the feet!). We love that it has a traditional and rustic feel which is so synonymous with the Swedish summer cottage. One thing to be mindful of - the softer finish does require some extra work over the years to maintain it. However, it is made from solid wood so you can sand it down as often as you like - or leave it as it is and appreciate the patina as it ages.  I'm guessing we'd do the latter!

Darker wood floor tones
You might have noticed that darker wood floors have been making a comeback lately. The deep hue is great for adding contrast, grounding a space and creating a cosy ambience. 

Grey finish
This brushed pine floor (Borstat Furugolv) has a lovely rustic feel - and we liked the stone grey finish. Given all the windows in our cabin we could definitely get away with a darker floor like this one too. 

Dark finish
And finally, we looked at going completely over to the dark side with a brushed pine floor ((Borstat Furugolv) in ultra protect brown. The rich tone gives a wonderful atmospheric feel and adds a whole level of cosiness. It's perfect for creating that dark cabin feel. 

A note on wood ageing over time
Wood is a natural substance that darkens over time - especially when exposed to lots of light. Some wood gets more of a grey tint, whereas others can appear more yellow. Check with your wood floor supplier before purchasing to find out about each individual wood floor. Also, be mindful that rugs block the sunlight which can leave permanent marks on your wood floor. If the room gets a lot of light, think about removing them periodically.  

Our choice of floor
Edited: originally I wrote that we went for the primed pine floor in ultra protect white but this was an error - we actually chose the primed parquet pine floor in ultra protect white. This has an extremely similar look and feel, but the parquet is a more practical choice for us since it simply clicks into place making it easier to install, where as the solid wood needs to be nailed into place. Also, it's thinner which works better with the lower ceiling height in the loft. Overall, it has a lovely summery feel and during the winter it will help to brighten up the darkness! 

We tested the sample up at the cabin. 

Welcome inside my humble home! 

The panelling on the walls and ceiling is now in place and looks so beautiful! And the wood floor is a perfect fit! 

Below is the simple material and colour mood board we have decided to work with. The stone and white tile will be installed in the bathroom and the dark sand is for the kitchen cabinets. It feels like it reflects the surrounding coast and forest in a beautiful way - what do you think?  

It feels like things are really starting to happen now and it's the cabin is moving from an empty shell into a home! Exciting! 

What type of floor do you have in your home? Do you have a favourite out of these different looks? or perhaps you have gone for tiles, like my sister who has a dog. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below! 


Credits: 1. Lifestyle photo courtesy of Norrlands Trä, styled by Lotta Agaton. 2 - 6 Lifestyle photos courtesy of Norrlands Trä. 7+ photos snapped with my iPhone by Per and myself this weekend! 

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Per's Best Tips On Laying Hardwood Flooring Yourself

A few weeks ago I mentioned we needed a new wood floor in our open-plan living, kitchen and dining room. Thank you so much to everyone who shared their thoughts on which floor to go for - we loved reading all your comments, they were so helpful! After much deliberation, we decided to go for the Cured Oak LYBY wide plank (28 cm), with a rustic, white matte lacquer finish from Swedish brand Bjelin. We felt the wide plank fitted well with our modern townhouse and loved the light tone with a subtle yet lively, natural rustic touch (being a naturally dark room we were keen to brighten it up as much as possible). The cured wood is also known for being incredibly strong and hard wearing - perfect with the crazies around! Here's a close-up:

Rather than get someone in to install the floor professionally, we (or perhaps I should say Per!) decided it would be more fun to do it ourselves. With the work well underway, I thought it could be interesting to ask Per a little more about the workings of a wood floor, how difficult they are to lay and whether he'd recommend it!

Have you ever laid a wood floor before?
Yes, which actually made me hesitate to do it again as it was pretty difficult to get it right (*laughs*)

Why's that?
I started at one end but left a small gap, which made it tricky to lay the next row and so on. A small error at the beginning meant it took me way longer than it should have done. But the end result was good, which gave me the confidence to give it another go! 

Why would you prefer to lay a wood floor yourself than get someone in professionally? 
I think it's a nice feeling to know you've done it yourself: there's a certain pride in it. Of course, you save money in the process too, which is also a bonus!

Could anyone lay a wood floor?
I would say that anyone could lay a wood floor like this one. This time it was much easier because Bjelin floors have a special locking system which means the planks click into place without the need to use glue or nails. The only time it can get a little fiddly is around places like the radiators - but there's always a solution!

Are there any useful sources if you get stuck? 
Our wood floor came with a step-by-step installation instruction sheet. I also find YouTube tutorials helpful - especially when dealing with trickier areas.

What tools do you need to lay a wood floor?
The only power tool I used was a jigsaw but it would also have been good to have used a circular saw to cut the planks to the right size. You should also wear an eye mask and preferably a work bench and clamp to cut the wood planks too!

Side note: as with any work environment, you should also wear good, protective clothing - such as proper shoes (something I will think about for next time!). Thank you for the 'unknown' for pointing this out in the comment section, very good point and very important! 

How do you prep a room before laying the floor?  
1. Remove the furniture from the room (since ours is quite a large area, we shifted the furniture over to one side and then shifted it back once we had finished the section)
2. Remove the skirting boards and mark the back of them with a pencil so you know exactly where they were (it can be tricky to remember otherwise which can be time consuming later on).
3. Remove old flooring
4. If you're lucky there'll be an underlay already in place, if not you'll need to lay one.
5. Give the surface a clean.

Do you have any advice for anyone laying a wood floor for the first time?
Choose a good quality floor, preferably with a locking system like Bjelin's and dare to throw yourself at the task. Planning things in advance like which side of the room to start and plotting any tricky areas will save time later. If in doubt, get advice from your dealer. Also, measure up to five times before you cut any wood- a stitch in time saves nine! 

Did you make any errors this time? 
Not really. A professional floor layer would probably have made a cleaner job around the radiators, but I found that a special filler matching the tone of the wood did wonders to cover up any imperfections!

How long did it take for you to lay the floor?
Around 3-4 days in total. And no doubt 3-4 years to finish the details (like repainting the skirting boards etc!).

Did you learn anything for next time?
Next time? Are you plotting something Niki?

Might be...!
After removing the skirting boards and old floor, I'd give the walls and ceilings a fresh lick of paint before I lay the new floor.

Any final words to anyone considering laying a wood floor? 
Laying a wood floor yourself may sound daunting, but if you have the time and energy, it's a surprisingly easy task and you'll feel really proud knowing you did yourself!


What do you reckon, do you recognise this from laying your own wood floor? If so, perhaps you have some more tips to share with us. If you're about to get a new wood floor and considering laying it yourself, I hope this has given you the confidence to dive in!

I can't wait to show you the final results next Sunday!


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A Dutch Home Infused with Warmth and Harmony

Hello Monday! I hope you had a great weekend? It was midsummer here so we're all nursing slight schnapps hangovers (lethal stuff that!). Nothing a double shot of coffee and a beautiful home tour can't fix though, thankfully! And have I got a charming home for you this bright, sunny Monday! Located in Monster (amazing name!), close to the Hague in The Netherlands, Tinta Luhrman's abode has a tremendously calm and harmonic feel thanks to the touches of beautifully crafted wood throughout. It's little wonder the owners have turned woodwork into a successful online business. I caught up with Tinta to find out more about interior design, her love of 'brown' tones and working with wood.

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Who do you live with?
I live with the most special man, Rutger, the most beautiful girl Dieuwertje and the best dog ever, Paxi!

Selenelion Moon print by Stella Marie Baer, Olly Wood Surf Board

What do you do for a living?
My husband and I design and make furniture and also have a webshop selling handmade products. I am an interior designer and Rutger is a carpenter. After years of working independently, we decided to combine forces and start working together.

What is the essence of Woodchuck? 
Simplicity and natural materials are at the heart of our business. We live and breathe wood, literally ;-). From early on, I was drawn to the colours, smell and look and feel of wood and Rutger loves to work with his hands. Woodchuck is a concept that is 100% us. Everything we sell is created by us and passes through our hands. We love this old school way of working and believe putting that extra bit of love into a product gives it something special - both for us and the clients.

"Design is an ongoing process that keeps growing until it's finished. Nothing is so subject to change as wood and a creative mind."

Mobile by Laine Maison Makes, Art by Lily Nichols

You have a beautifully unique interior, how has this evolved?
Since I was little I have always surrounded myself with natural materials. I've always been into Scandinavian and Japanese style. I don’t follow trends, I've always stayed true to myself. I have a penchant for vintage items but also new designs. Every house needs a uniqueness. I always start with a white canvas and then I let the interior evolve. Every room has a different light and feeling so I use this as my base. The same goes for the colors I use.

"Everyone has his of her own color: brown is mine. It's a hue that brings me a sense of calm and happiness. And I eat chocolate every day ;)" 


Do you have any tips for anyone looking to introduce more wood into their home?
I think wood gives your home warmth and the combination of using different kind of wood enhances this. But not every one loves it. Choose the wood you like the most to create your own look.

Do you have any general interior styling tips?
Decorate your home in a way that feels good to you and dare to be different. Stay true to yourself. Surround yourself with beauty and try to have less storage space so you don’t buy a lot of things you don’t use. That’s why we have an open kitchen: we only have things in our kitchen that we use, not a pantry full of things we don’t.

Thank you for welcoming us into your home Tinta. 

Anyone else tempted to add more wood to their home now? If you're looking for me today I'll be over on the Woodchuck website (or Tinta's instagram feed - looking for inspiration!), see you there?!
I also love the floor in the children's bedroom - I've got such a weakness for painted checks! Is there anything that struck you about this home? 
In case you're feeling inspired by all things wood you might also want to check out a Brooklyn home with reclaimed wood and the lovely home of ÉmilieDesjarlais (in case you missed it last week!) and also this guide to parquet floors.

Oh and this Dutch home features some lovely pieces from Woodchuck too.
Have a great start to the week!


All photography: Tinta Lurhman / Woodchuck

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12 Simple Style Tips For a Serene Scandinavian Home

Sometimes, when confronted with a completely blank sheet, it can feel completely overwhelming to decorate a home. Where to begin? How do you make sure it creates that ideal Scandinavian balance where form meets function? And what about the final touches? This serene Swedish home follows some simple rules which makes decorating feel completely effortless - and many of the ideas are incredibly budget friendly to boot. Here are 12 simple style suggestions to learn: 

1. Keep to a simple colour palette: if you're getting bogged down with colour, why not start with a simple palette. In this home a serene green-grey colour has been used on the walls to add interest and calm, while still keeping the look light. To find the right tone, seek out an excellent paint shop in your area, where experts will help you top find samples to obtain the feel you're looking for. make sure you test it on every wall and observe it in different light - morning, afternoon, evening etc to check it works in the space you have. 

2. Storage is key: some homes are blessed with plenty of built-in storage, while in others you need to work that much harder to add your own. IKEA Ivar units (see above) are ideal for hiding more functional items for a calm look. Also, I love how you can paint them whichever colour you like - or add a subtle whitewash so that the wood grain still shows through. 

3. A wood floor: most Scandinavians have a wood floor in their home - at least in the main living spaces (although they might prefer tiles in the hallway, bathroom, kitchen etc). I know that some of my UK based friends panic about having wood floors as it can be be nicked or pocked. The key? Try to have the mindset that wood gets better with age and any imperfections simply add to the warmth of your home! The beauty of wood is that the grain adds instant interest and texture to a space. If you're not sure about the colour of an existing wood floor, a good quality one can be lightened, darkened or painted over completely. 

4. Hooks are your friend: simple hooks can be placed everywhere - on the wall, backs doors, on the side of units - and they are ideal for adhoc items that you use frequently. Not only that, but they also help to add a relaxed feel to a space. 

5. Mix and match: try placing a mixed bunch of chairs around a table - and don't be afraid to combine pieces in different styles and from different eras. It will help add a relaxed, more personal touch. 

6. Add plenty of plants: brining in greenery is a great way to draw nature indoors and instantly lifts a space. Here, a plant fills what would have otherwise been an empty corner / wall space and adds height to the room. 

7. Install a lot of lamps: light plays a central role in the Scandinavian home. This is why you'll often see sheer curtains rather than solid ones! After dark, multiple forms of lighting help to create a warm, yet functional space. Mix it up and add wall lamps, floor lamps, table lamps and overhead lighting to ensure a lovely vibe at night. When chosen well, lighting can also add a decorative touch by day too! 

8. Curated displays: Think about created small, curated displays of items you love on top of side tables, shelves and other surfaces. By playing around with what you have and constantly changing it up, you'll appreciate what you have more and less likely feel the need to invest in something new. 

9. Seamless shelving:  whether you choose to load your shelves with books or use them for a more curated display of the items you love and want to look at - wall mounted or floor shelves painted the same colour as the walls help to create a seamless, serene look. 

10. Mix and match textures: if you decide to go for a simple palette in your home, make sure you add plenty of different rich textures to add visual interest. Think natural materials such as clay, wood, linen, rattan etc. 

11. Invest in long-lasting design: the beauty of Scandinavian design is that it's simple and timeless, which means you will never tire of it. Plus, if it's extremely well made, it will also a lifetime and more too. The wishbone chair (see above) for example, can be refurbished as time goes on so you can enjoy it for years to come. 

12. Round it up: in smaller rooms, rounded furniture is best as it is more space efficient. It also helps to add a soft touch to a 'boxy' shaped room. 

I hope these tips have helped a little if you're in a decorating conundrum and don't know where to start! 

Right now, I'm looking to give the walls in our home a fresh update. Getting the tone right can do wonders towards setting exactly the right feel. I'll keep you posted on what I decide! Perhaps you have some colour suggestions which you found to be spot on? If so, please do let us know in the comment below. 

Looking for more inspiration today? Here are some drool-worthy Scandi home tours to kick off the week in the right way:

Have a great start to the week! 


Photography courtesy of Stadshem, with thanks 

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