Hm. Well, I have oak. But my house came with it. It's pretty. Many people like oak for it's character as you can really see the wood grain, knots, etc. You can also stain it different colors and it is considered durable. I have it in bathrooms and kitchens as well as living spaces. I do wipe up spills though. I think cost wise, it is economical.
Maple is denser and usually lighter in color with less grain. Our gym floor at school is maple.
Birch is ususally light colored and is known for character in its looks.
I'd go to a flooring store and discuss with someone there and look at samples side by side to choose.
If I am not to late for this, look at shredded bamboo. It is bonded back together and is harder and more scratch resistant than most other woods. I have big digs and in 3 years with them running through the house it looks good as new.
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