Design Dilemma: Choosing A Floor
Wood. Linoleum. Tile. Carpet.
When it comes to choosing floor coverings, the options are many, and growing all the time. Ever considered cork, seagrass, poured resinsÂ or engineered woods? You should.
So if it’s time to choose a floor covering for your home and you find yourself stuck,Â here areÂ 10 options:
1.) Solid Wood.
A classic choice, wood is hardwearing and practical but feels high-end too. One of the best things about wood is that it can stand up to kids and pets, and needs to be refinished only every few years. Although it is more expensive to install than carpet, the value is much higher because it will never need to be replaced. If you want a narrow room to appear wider, choose narrow boards. For a large room, wide boards help provide balance. Choose wood with knots and color variations for a rustic feel. Trend tip: The hottest look has moved away from the dark woods and finishes of the last few years back to blonde woods.
2.) Carpet. Because carpet is often the cheapest choice in floor coverings, a lot of people look down on it. Yet, carpet can be appropriate in many settings, especially in low-traffic areas like bedrooms. The big advantage: carpet provides sound insulation, helps with energy conservation and it doesn’t necessarily require a level surface for installation. And although there is a certain “ick” factor in carpets that are only cleaned rarely, carpets can trap allergens and dust which can be vacuumed up regularly. When choosing carpet, look for a loop or twist pile ofÂ 80 percent wool/20 percent nylon blend for the best look and durability.Â Trend tip: More and more people using carpet in stairways and halls are going for stripes.
3.) Poured resin. Looking for an extremely modern look that isn’t concrete? Consider poured resin (pictured above), which is decidedly warmer than concrete but still waterproof and hygienic. Poured resin can be poured into very large spaces without visible joints or seams and works well in kitchens and bathroom. Trend tip: Although white is always in style, the hot look in poured resin is vividly-colored lacquers.
4). Porcelain Tiles. Harder wearing than ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles are virtually maintenance free. They cost more than ceramic tiles and usually need to be installed by a professional since they need to be properly bedded and spaced, as they can expand and contract. Trend tip: Latest looks come in metallic finishes, modern weaves and wood effects.
5.) Bamboo. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly floor choice, bamboo is the way to go, since it can be harvested every 3 to 5 years, unlike the 15 to 25 years for most wood. It wears well and comes in many color choices. Trend tip: Glossy, almost black bamboo is hot, especially in rooms with an East Asian feel.
6.) Concrete. The big advantage of concrete is its durability and industrial chic factor. It can also be poured onto an existing floor with no need for leveling and needs resealing only every seven years. The down side is that concrete is cold, and can feel a little bit too stark in cold climates. Concrete can look especially good in indoor/outdoor settings where an outdoor patio adjoins an indoor living space. Trend tip: Wax concrete floors for a high-sheen finish. Color choices also range far beyond just the standard grey.
7.) Cork. If you’re looking for an anti-slip floor, you can’t do better than cork, which can help impede falls and is a natural fire retardant. It is also a great choice for those looking for sound and energy insulation but who don’t want to go the carpet route. Trend tip: Pale shades, greys, dark browns and metallics are gaining favor over the traditional light brown.
8.) Laminate. Laminate floors were trendier a few years ago than they are now. Perhaps that’s because too many people bought cheap laminate floors that bubbled and warped. These days, high-quality laminates are the norm and are perfect for high-traffic areas. They should not be used in areas like bathrooms or kitchens where water will encourage laminates to warp. Trend tip: Look for laminates with a textured surface for a more realistic finish.
9) Stone. Widely-used in mediterranean countries, marble, limestone, granite and basalt floors are classic and elegant. The advantage is that they are perfect for high-traffic areas and generally can last a lifetime or two. The disadvantages is that stone is porous and can stain and must be protected with a sealant. Stone can also feel very cold in cold-weather climes. Trend tip: The most modern look is large-scale matte tiles.
10.) Natural flooring. If you’re looking for something softer than stone or wood but you’re not quite ready for carpet, natural fiber floors may be your best choice. Floors of jute, seagrass, coir and sisal can be hard-wearing in high-traffic areas and classier-looking than carpet. The down side of natural flooring: it can be slippery and scratchy on bare feet. Trend tip: Like with most other flooring options, the color ranges are far broader than before. Coir, for example, come in back, grey, chocolate and a stripe mix.
Image: Mark C. O’Flaherty