Where to make important investments in your cheap renovation (hint: flooring!)

It feels like our “quick and easy” renovation with the goal to be in our new house within a month (ha!) is going as slow as molasses so I am celebrating every little step forward. Last week we got one wall patched up and ready and this week we are making decisions on flooring. As one who loves color and pattern and has a hard time with the idea of commitment (the same thing forever?!??!) I’ve been through every scenario–it’s a classic devil’s advocate situation. Do we go cheap just so that we can move in fast? Or do we invest in the long term. I’ll go through it all below, but I’ll give a major spoiler–we are partnering with Stuga

on some hardwood floors and I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Is there such thing as a quick and cheap renovation?

Here’s the thing–when we were first planning our “quick and cheap” renovation, I was literally going to put the ugliest, cheapest carpet on the market EVERYWHERE in the house. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to get invested in it. I wanted to take the decision making out of everything and go cheap and quick. I spotted some carpet scraps at ReStore and was ready to move forward. End of discussion.

And, though I run a DIY blog, my husband and I are not, how do we say, “handy” people. I mean, like I can nail things into a wall and screw in lightbulbs and such and Paul is really good (talented even) at lifting heavy objects, but ummm, we are definitely not getting a show on HGTV anytime soon. I’m more of a lightweight in the home improvement arena. And Paul is good at cooking.

But…we were going to attempt to do it ourselves. Ugh. I cringe just thinking about it! I don’t know how to put carpet in. But they make it look SO easy on YouTube!

And THEN, you realize ok, if we’re spending even just a “little” bit on ugly carpeting, well, that’s $—- on something when it could be applied to something nice and then it avalanches from there. PLUS, it’s such a waste in general to put in stuff you’ll just be taking out.

This is what I had resolved to do:

You see where I’m going here.

So then we decide, well, maybe flooring is the one spot we should invest in since it’s really the foundation for the whole house. And it’s so bare now and would have to do a lot of work to rip it back up again…

I went on the hunt for some beautiful flooring and came across Stuga and I was smitten. And maybe you can see why: Stuga works directly with Scandinavia’s most innovative manufacturers to curate a selection of sustainably harvested, crafted, and engineered floors that you can easily browse, sample, and buy online.

So, first they roped me in with their Scandinavian angle. Having lived in Denmark for the first few years of our marriage with my Danish husband, this was big a bonus because I know that Scandinavia does floors excellently. They are hardwood fanatics. PLUS, they believed in sustainability long before it became a buzzword and designed their products to preserve forests. They also removed all solvents and toxic glues found in other engineered floors. Plus, they’re beautiful!

I first spotted them over at Chris Loves Julia and I LOVE how it turned out. So beautiful! I especially loved the treatment to the stairs. So I requested a number of samples:

Lighting is always the curse that comes with seeing examples of flooring online, well, in person too for that matter. Here’s what we are considering and I’d LOVE your feedback on which one you would choose. I’ll be walking you through it over on Instastories too.

A few things to note about our preferences: I tend to gravitate towards warmer tones. And though I love wide plank, I feel like our traditional home needs to be slightly more narrow.

Perhaps I’m going too much into the little details. I know most people like a good before and after, and we’ll get there at some point, but because this is such a big project for us and there is so much $$$$ and time and investment on the line, we are going into the nitty gritty. You can tell me when it gets boring, capeesh?

This post is sponsored by Stuga but all opinions are my own.


  1. Since you said thinner planks I would go with Tivoli or Mead. I think the warmer “browner” town is more classic with staying power over the gray-ish trends. I also love Louisiana and Lucia, but they are wider.

    And I love every little detail!! Let us live vicariously even through the good and the bad!!

  2. I agree with Bethany. To oil and Mead can play well with warmer colors and with cool ones. They’re a good middle of the road option that can be easily worked into accessory color changes later.

  3. Curve ball – vote for Louisiana here! I like the variant in the wood, I feel like you might get more texture rather than an overall look? But TBH they all look rad. And even as writing this, I’m starting to vibe on moonlight…

  4. Hi!
    I might be a little late but I think Shell color amongst all of the other ones is the most “neutral” and potentially “flexible”… Not to cool (as Sunbather or Moonlinght), not too grey (Ingrid, Ficca) but not too warm either as most of the other ones. It all depends on what you prefer but I think Shell is the perfect dose of neutral with a tiny of warmth at the same time, maybe along with with Mead. So that’s seems to be a good base to play with colour, texture and so on when you’ll decorate the place 🙂

  5. Hello! I come here hoping to be educated because I love the look of Stuga floors and had been planning on purchasing them for our reno. But the 1.5 mm wear layer on Stuga’s very popular Ingrid is one of the thinnest on the market (although the $8.39 sf price is higher than, for example, nearly all of ADM’s 4 mm wear layer options — not to mention that ADM also offers some *really* wide planks, like 10.25 in compared to Ingrid’s less than 7.5 in). Is there something about Stuga flooring that makes it really high quality despite its exceptionally thin wear layer? Stuga says Ingrid can be sanded twice but This Old House says “Floors with a wear layer less than 2 mm can tolerate a light scuff-sanding with a buffer,” which is consistent with everything else I’ve read during my research. “You can’t refinish 2 mm” to “Maybe a light scuff-sanding with a buffer” is a far cry from Stuga’s statement that their 1.5 mm wear layer will tolerate two sandings. I have to be missing something, and I’d appreciate any light you can shed. Thank you!

  6. Welp, if I could delete my previous comment, I certainly would 🥴 I had apparently forgotten how to make math 🤓 Stuga’s 1/8-in wear layer is not 2 mm, it’s 3.175 mm—which is a totally acceptable wear layer and definitely able to be refinished twice. I’m an idiot and Stuga floors are as great as everyone already knows they are. Sorry about that! Pay no mind!


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