It began in earnest in the 1950s, when home decorators moved away from hardwood floors to the "luxury" of wall-to-wall carpeting. Brooms and dustpans were passe, vacuum cleaners were the rage. With your Electrolux vacuum, anything was possible keeping a home neat and clean. Now, half a century later, many homes are still featuring wall-to-wall carpeting.
In that half century, many have come to the conclusion wall-to-wall carpeting may not be the best choice for every home. In warm climate areas, wall-to-wall carpeting doesn't offer the soothing feeling of cool tiles or hardwood floors. In an era of lots of pets, wall-to-wall carpeting acts as a magnet for pet hair and cat dander, absorbing the hair and dander, plus the pet odor.
Here in the second decade of the 21st Century, many have come to the conclusion that what's old is new, and hardwood floors are a virtue, not a problem. It's as if someone woke up one day and discovered, "what could be more beautiful than the natural look of a hardwood floor? How did we ever think carpet as far as the eye can see was wonderful?"
There are several ways of working with hardwood floors, all of which are easy for the particular "look" in a room or home you desire.
You can have bare hardwood floors, beautifully stained just the right shade and keep the floor polished to maintain the desired look. Or, you can "mix and match" hardwood floors with accent rugs or accent tiles to break the monotony or highlight certain areas.
Everything looks different with hardwood floors; furniture which may have "popped out" to the eye with wall-to-wall carpet suddenly may blend in with hardwood floors. Hardwood floors also make wall colors and wall coverings look different, too.
You have to think of your hardwood floors as a "base" color, which everything else is measured against. While it's relatively easy to change carpet colors, it's not so easy to change the colors of hardwood floors. Therefore, good planning is necessary, to make sure any furniture you may be using with carpet will remain compatible with hardwood floors.
No matter what your reason for switching from carpet to hardwood floors, well installed and well maintained hardwood floors can last for decades - even centuries - versus carpet which may have a 10 year or less useful life.
Investing in quality materials is never a bad investment.