Though popularized during the 17th century, American Colonial-style architecture remains beloved with its simple yet stately appearance. With symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing features like shuttered windows, columns, dormers and chimneys, Colonial homes radiate elegance and historical charm.
However, more than the exterior contributes to their formal style. Many interior features — including flooring — are key to achieving a Colonial look and feel. Explore the fundamental traits and best flooring for Colonial homes with 50Floor.
What Is a Colonial-Style House?
The Colonial house style emerged during the 1600s when colonists settled in America, hence its name. Using available materials like wood, brick and stone, they built homes based on the architectural designs of the countries they came from. Colonial houses incorporate several different home styles like Federalist, Georgian, Spanish Colonial, Dutch Colonial and others.
While true Colonial-style houses were not constructed after the American Revolution, their signature framework remains incredibly popular in residential architecture. Over time, Colonial homes were modernized using new construction techniques, materials and technologies. By the late 1800s, they had developed into a style called “Colonial Revival” that can be seen in many of today’s homes.
Features of a Colonial-Style Home
Let’s look at some key features of Colonial-style architecture.
Colonial-style houses can be described as simple, rectangular and symmetrical. The central front door — which is often crowned by a columned portico or pediment — is located directly in the center of the home, flanked by straight rows of double-hung sash windows. This traditional home design was simple as can be, leaving room for additions and alterations.
2. Medium-Pitched Roofs
Colonial-style homes typically have medium-pitched, sloping gabled roofs with gutters and shingles. Older styles have double chimneys in the center of the roof, which lead down to two ground-floor fireplaces. Modern Colonial house styles may feature these double chimneys for aesthetics.
3. Spacious Interiors
Most Colonial revival homes have at least two stories and ample space to accommodate large families. Inside, you’ll likely find a central staircase with large ground-floor rooms on each side.
On the second story, a hallway usually connects at least four bedrooms and one bathroom. Roomy kitchens, living areas and finished basements provide additional space for hosting visitors. Details like formal entryways, upscale crown molding and intricate fireplaces give Colonial homes a sophisticated flair.
4. Neutral Colors
Early American homeowners were limited in paint color options, as imported pigments were expensive and scarce. Many used locally mined earth pigments for the trim and frame pieces only, leaving the masonry body exposed and untreated. These earth pigments produced colors like ochre, umber and sienna.
When Georgian architecture emerged during the 18th century, paint pigments imported from Europe resulted in more colorful exteriors like red, orange and Prussian blue. By the second half of the 18th century, however, vibrant hues would give way to more subdued shades like white and light grays and blues. White would eventually become the dominant shade seen in most modern Colonial-style homes.
Top Flooring Options for Colonial HomesSchedule an appointment
We’ve covered some defining features of Colonial-style houses, but what are the best flooring choices for this architectural style? Below are five lovely options to consider.
1. Best Carpet for Colonial-Style Homes
Because wall-to-wall carpet didn’t make its debut until the 1930s, it wasn’t found in traditional Colonial-style homes. However, you can still incorporate carpet into your modern Colonial interior if you prefer a plusher, comfier feel.
2. Best Hardwood for Colonial-Style Homes
Hardwood flooring is a staple for Colonial-style interiors. Its warm, oaky hues can beautifully complement neutral and light-colored accents. There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules regarding light, medium or dark-colored wood, so the stain color and brightness are ultimately your preference.
Just remember that light flooring can make a room feel larger and airier, while dark flooring tends to have the opposite effect. A medium tone achieves a good middle ground.
If historical accuracy is a priority, we recommend pine or oak wood flooring, as these were traditionally used in Colonial America. However, virtually any hardwood species can look stunning in a Colonial interior. You can also use engineered hardwood to create the appearance of Colonial wood flooring.
3. Best Tile for Colonial-Style Homes
LVT is gaining popularity among today’s Colonial-style homeowners for its many benefits over traditional tile materials like ceramic and porcelain. This flooring option is easier to install, simpler to maintain and more affordable than most conventional materials, and it also offers impressive performance and quality.
Technology advancements have enabled manufacturers to create LVT in almost any color or pattern imaginable. This flooring’s versatility makes it a highly functional option in any room, making it ideal for Colonial house styles. Additionally, LVT’s four-layer construction means it is much softer to walk on than the hard surfaces of traditional tile, and it is waterproof.
4. Best Laminate for Colonial-Style Homes
Laminate flooring can imitate authentic hardwood at a fraction of the price. Additionally, its scratch-resistant nature makes it an excellent option if you have pets or children but still desire the timeless look of an American Colonial-style home.
There are many design and color options available, but pine or oak wood laminate are especially great picks for a classic Colonial interior. If you have children or pets, we recommend choosing a medium-tone floor stain. This can help conceal everyday dirt, pet hair and debris while complementing any light accents in your Colonial decor.
5. Best Luxury Vinyl for Colonial-Style Homes
Finally, luxury vinyl flooring can achieve a hardwood look at a more economical price, along with added durability. Its high water- and scratch-resistant qualities make it ideal for homes with pets and young children as well.
Luxury vinyl planks can mimic a warm wood look, while luxury vinyl tiles can imitate stone or slate tiles. Like hardwood and laminate, there are many stain colors to choose from with luxury vinyl, but a medium tone is always a lovely and versatile option.
Choose the Right Flooring for Your Colonial Home With 50Floor
Are you looking for the best flooring for Colonial homes? 50Floor can help! With our convenient in-home flooring shopping, one of our flooring consultants will bring a variety of samples to your home and help you select a material and color that fits your space, budget and lifestyle.
Once you’ve purchased the ideal hardwood, carpet, luxury vinyl or laminate flooring for your Colonial-style space, we will proceed with the ordering and flooring installation process to turn your interior vision into a stunning reality.
Enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience from the comfort of your home with 50Floor. Schedule your appointment for a free in-home consultation today!