For many years, hardwood flooring represented the default option for most middle-class residences. By the mid-twentieth century, however, a more cosmopolitan look had come into favor, and hardwood floors came to be seen as rustic and outmoded. In most newly-built residential homes, hardwoods were replaced with wall-to-wall carpet as the default flooring option by the mid-1960s.
In the 1990s and 2000s, however, the increasing popularity of the spare, streamlined contemporary style has led to a resurgence in popularity of the look of hardwoods. In addition, innovations such as increasingly realistic wood-look laminate have extended the trend by making the style more compatible with busy lifestyles. Most mid-range to higher quality laminates are as hard-wearing, durable, and washable as vinyl, and typically much more appealing to the eye.