If the hallway in your home is like that in most others, it is one busy place – and probably the busiest, next to your kitchen. As people come and go and plunk bags, purses and briefcases in their wake, your hallway takes a pounding. And if you have kids or dogs? They compound the activity and stress on your floor.

In calmer moments, your hallway offers two prime opportunities: to give guests a warm, inviting feeling as they enter and a last chance to look around and revel in your home's ambiance as they leave.

If you want to give your hallway a makeover, your choice of flooring has to achieve many goals at once. So what type of flooring can champion the cause? Without a doubt: hardwood flooring.

Consider the many advantages hardwood floors offer:

  • They exude unrivaled warmth and beauty. With a large variety of colors, grains, designs and patterns to choose from, your only difficulty may be settling on only one that appeals to you. Unlike other flooring options, hardwood floors never go out of style.

  • They complement any decor. From traditional to contemporary and from classic to shabby-chic, hardwood floors are at home anywhere. And they'll stand out, even if you choose to soften them with area rugs.

  • They are profoundly strong and durable, making them ideal for high-traffic areas.

  • Even when the very worst happens – hardwood floors gets scraped or dented – the damaged area can be safely sanded, smoothed and refinished. You won't face a wholesale replacement, like with other types of flooring.

  • They are blissfully low-maintenance – requiring only regular sweeping or vacuuming and no more than a damp mop to keep them looking lustrous. And because hardwood floors don't trap dust, pollen, allergens and airborne particles like carpet, they're an especially healthy choice for allergy and asthma sufferers.

  • They result in better, more uniform acoustics and fewer sound vibrations in a home.

  • They're a wise investment; they will instantly increase the value of your home. No one quibbles over the value of hardwood flooring. (And who would dare after adding up all these benefits?)