3 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wood Flooring

4 Aug 2021

Choosing your wood flooring can be a daunting task. With modern finishing techniques, there are a plethora of colours, shapes and sizes out on the market, meaning you can very easily become overwhelmed by choice.

Our in-house Interior Design Specialist, Simone, takes us through the top 3 things to consider when choosing your timber flooring and why, so you can feel confident in your final selection.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Timber Flooring

So, you’ve decided that you’re choosing a timber floor for your renovation. Fantastic! But now you’re wondering how to actually go ahead and choose the right timber for your project.

You’re not alone! We hear this question a lot from our customers at Havwoods, and we know that there are many aspects to consider when selecting your ideal timber floor. The process can feel daunting and often overwhelming, especially if you don’t have the right resources on hand to help inform your decision. 

That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to the three most important design questions to ask yourself when deciding on your new timber floor.  And to get you the most accurate answers, we’ve asked Interior Design Specialist, Simone Tually (located at our Sydney showroom) to elaborate on what makes the best timber flooring.

Read on or watch the video to narrow down your search for the perfect timber floor, and ensure it stands the test of time by being suitable for your requirements.

1. What pattern should I use for my timber floor?

There are a handful of things you should consider when selecting the pattern for your timber floor.


Is your room large? Narrow? Short and wide? Would you like to make the space appear smaller, or are you looking to make it appear bigger? Are you thinking of long, thin planks, or wide planks?


Is your flooring the focal point of your room design, or is it just there to enhance the space? Have you chosen a particular style of design you want to follow, or are you able to experiment with the elements in your room?


Do you have a lot of furniture, or any big rugs that might cover the pattern of your timber? Does your room have odd angles, or any specific obstacles like floating benches or in-built bookshelves that might be awkward to work around?


Is this a high-traffic area, or a space where you and your family spend a lot of time in? Is it a room you use less frequently, or a space used for entertaining guests?

What Simone says: “Timber flooring is often laid in parallel lines using long straight planks. However, there are other patterns you may like to consider, such as herringbone, chevron or versailles. Different patterns affect the look and feel of your space and will likely make a difference to how expansive the space feels, or how much of a feature it becomes.”

2. What grade of timber should I choose?

Image: Flowerdale Residence | Havwoods timber product: RECM3040 Onslow used as wall cladding

Visual grading simply means the way we sort timber based on its size, and number of features present in the boards. Timber boards with fewer and smaller features are sorted into one grade, while those with more frequent and larger features are sorted into another. 

Each grade has specific criteria and is given a name which might line-up with the Australian Standard AS 2796, or with a manufacturer grade (where unique grading rules are developed by an individual manufacturer in order to grade their own flooring). 

Here are the four main grading criteria for Australian timber boards:

Prime Grade

• The highest grade available in timber flooring

• Cut from the centre of the tree

• Uniform with far fewer knots & imperfections

• Low sap content (usually no more than 5%) 

• Minimal features

Select/Classic Grade

• Contains slightly more knots

• Often be larger in size

• Knots should be no bigger than 20mm

• Can contain up to 10% sap content in each plank

• Varied colours

Character Grade

• Contains more knots 

• Knots can be as big as 50mm in diameter

• Often need wood filler or “putty” to fill in the larger knots

• More features and character

Rustic/Natural Grade

• Rustic timber appearance

• Greatest colour and grain variation

• Knots up to 50mm in size

• Wood fillers for an even finish

• Widest variance between planks 

• Natural appearance

What Simone says: “If you are seeking a modern sleek and contemporary aesthetic, prime, select grade may suit you best. If you want more of the beautiful, natural characteristics of timber to be present, then character rustic grades may be for you. Knowing which grades you would like will help narrow your search down to suitable boards.”

3. What colour tone should I select?

Image: HW16002 Pallido Herringbone | North Steyne Home, design by Your Beautiful Home. Read more about this project.

When it comes to colour, you might want to choose timber that contrasts and complements the existing hues and furniture in your space. Select a colour that can functionally match your countertops, or other built-in surfaces that you can’t change down-the-track. 

Exact colour matches can make a room feel flat, boring, or bland (a bit too “same-same”), which is why it can help to go for a timber that’s complementary, rather than identical.

Depending on the space, white floors might make your room brighter, but darker floors can work if you have a lot of natural light, or a bright wall colour.

What Simone says: “Modern finishing techniques means that timber flooring doesn't only come in brown tones. Timber flooring colours range from almost white, through beautiful blondes, multiple tones of brown, through to gorgeous greys, and even black. Colour influences not only the overall vibe, but also the perception of space in the room. Lighter colours tend to open up the room, and darker colours tend to create a cosy, luxe feel.”

Where do I go from here?

With Simone’s help, we’ve covered three of the most important questions to ask when considering the choice for your new timber floor. 

If you are looking for more in-depth guidance, or you’re hoping to have your own list of questions answered by a professional, contacting a Havwoods expert is the best way to get the ball rolling.

We can assist you in narrowing down your flooring selection by either visiting one of our showrooms and having an interior design consultation, or jumping on our online chat so we can personally guide you through this process. With our extensive range, we’re confident that we can find a timber product to suit your design aspirations.

If you’d like answers for any additional questions you might have, book a complimentary interior design consultation, or reach out to one of our other experts, and you'll be heading home to your perfect wood flooring in no time!

Need help with your timber flooring product selection?

Our friendly experts are available in our Sydney, Newcastle or Melbourne showrooms, or via video call. Contact us for more info or to book a free consult, tailored to your project requirements.