What is replacing wooden floors? These are the trending alternatives designers are using instead

From hexagonal tiles to antique brick, this is what's replacing wooden floors for a modern, fresh appeal

neutral bedroom with large tree and hexagonal tile flooring by Sarah Sherman Samuel
(Image credit: Sarahh Sherman Samuel/Nicole Franzen)

Wooden flooring will always be a classic, with an on-trend yet timeless appeal. 

But, if you're looking for a different aesthetic and are wondering what's replacing wooden floors, you only need to look at what flooring trends the top interior designers are choosing for their projects to help you make the right choice for your own home.

Switching up your flooring ideas can bring a fresh allure to any space and adding something like a hexagonal tile to a space that may more commonly be home to wood flooring can give off a more design-led vibe.

What is replacing wooden floors?

From concrete to antique brick, discover what's replacing wooden floors according to design experts below.

1. Concrete

industrial style kitchen with concrete floor by Colleen Healey

(Image credit: Colleen Healey Architecture)

Once seen as a little cold for interiors, concrete is slowly segueing its way into the modern interior design consciousness, swaying people towards its industrial style and low-maintenance charms.

'Concrete floors are still unexpected in most residential homes and are just as easy to keep clean as porcelain tile (but with less grout joints!),' says Colleen Healey, Principal, Colleen Healey Architecture. 

'If concrete floors are heated via radiant tubes instead of electric, they are one of the most comfortable and efficient ways to heat a room. 

'Currently we are using micro-toppers as well as full thickness slabs on our projects. A full thickness slab, when used at grade, is more cost effective than micro-toppers.' 

Concrete floors are particularly successful in industrial kitchen ideas (as seen above), but are extremely versatile and can work in any space.

modern kitchen with concrete floor by Colleen Healey

(Image credit: Colleen Healey Architecture)

2. Checkerboard tiles

entryway with checkerboard flooring and round table by Marie Flanigan

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

Spotted in the entryway of Gwyneth Paltrow's Montecito home, designed by Brigette Romanek of Romanek Design Studio, a checkerboard tiled floor is a classic that's enjoying a modern revival.

And Gwyneth's not the only fan. Top designer Marie Flanigan, of Marie Flanigan Interiors, says it's a chic choice that makes a statement. 

She comments: 'I absolutely love the statement that a checkerboard pattern makes in an entryway. This French limestone flooring was the perfect addition to the home as it offered an old-world patina in an elevated approach. 

'Further, limestone is incredibly durable which makes it a wonderful option for any home.'

The checkerboard tile is a bold look, and 'embracing boldness' is also one way to make an entryway look more expensive. Pair yours with a round table, as above, and you're really channeling the entryway trends designers are loving.

3. Antique brick

antique brick flooring in white pantry by Marie Flanigan Interiors

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

Antique brick is a characterful flooring choice that works wonderfully in a kitchen, entryway or pantry particularly. 

'Antique brick is one of my favorite flooring options,' says Marie Flanigan. 'I love the inherent character and colors that the bricks add to a space. 

'What's more, the durability is perfect for entryways and support spaces.'

4. Large-format tiles

White living room with grey sofa and dining nook by Marie Flanigan

(Image credit: Marie Flanigan Interiors/Julie Soefer)

Large-format tiles are an increasingly popular option for living spaces, including open plan homes, living rooms and kitchens.

They work to create an expansive, airier feel and are also super-durable, whether they're stone or porcelain.

In terms of color palettes, neutrals like cream and soft gray are ideal, or go darker towards charcoal for another on-trend hue.

Speaking about the living room above, Marie Flanigan says: 'We used a tumbled stone in this space, laid in a linear brick pattern. This stone is incredibly versatile as we chose it for this more modern dining area, but also continued it through the more traditional kitchen and downstairs living areas. 

The stone has a chameleon effect in that it beautifully adapts to multiple aesthetics.'

If you like the look of concrete but want to use large-format tiles with a seamless look, try laying them in a stacked format instead.

A large cream tile, meanwhile, will help to make a room look bigger, more expansive and can be used throughout the entire home, from the kitchen and living room through to the bedroom, bathroom and home office; and that's precisely what interior designer Sarah Sherman Samuel did for This Is Us star Mandy Moore in her mid-century Californian home (below). She also added subtle interest, depth and warmth by choosing a soft terrazzo flooring pattern - another trend that is ideal for stylish flooring.

Sarah says: For an open and airy feeling I use terrazzo; there is a variety of color choices and the aggregate themselves lends a unique touch. The upkeep is minimal and overtime with use the material becomes more polished and more resilient.'

white dining room with large-format terrazzo tile by Sarah Sherman Samuel

(Image credit: Sarah Sherman Samuel/Trevor tondro/Tessa Neustadt)

5. Hexagonal tiles

neutral bedroom with large tree and hexagonal tile flooring by Sarah Sherman Samuel

(Image credit: Sarahh Sherman Samuel/Nicole Franzen)

Hexagonal tiles aren't just for bathrooms (though they do look good in there). Try using them in place of wood floors somewhere less expected for a design-driven aesthetic that delights and impresses.

When placed in a master bedroom, as seen above in the space by Sarah Sherman Samuel, the cool factor is immediately upped. You can add an area rug, just as you can over wooden flooring, for a cozy feel underfoot.

Sarah comments: 'Hexagon tiles are timeless and can be placed in any room. They create beautiful lines, promote a clean feeling AND add texture to a space.'

Ruth Doherty is a lifestyle journalist based in London. An experienced freelance digital writer and editor, she is known for covering everything from travel and interiors to fashion and beauty. She regularly contributes to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, as well as titles like Prima and Red. Outside of work, her biggest loves are endless cups of tea, almond croissants, shopping for clothes she doesn’t need, and booking holidays she does.