Building a new home or renovating an older one means that there are many, many decisions to be made. Beyond the architectural drawings, there are all of the surface selections that need to be made – the wall color, the cabinet shape and color, the countertop material and the flooring types and colors. Selecting flooring is a crucial step in the design or re-design of any space. The materials you select for underfoot need to be reflective of the space you are creating and they need to be functional and practical.
Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of different options to consider in your space. Armed with a sensibility of the look you are trying to achieve as well as the durability of the materials available, you will be on your way to making an informed choice. To help you begin your flooring search, consider the following:
The function of the space. What activities will occur in this space? If it is an entry area, you will need to think about the impact of shoes, mud and moisture as well as items that will be placed on this surface. It is common for an entry area to be floored in a ceramic, porcelain, stone or hardwood. All of these choices are easily moped up, although they are not equal in terms of wear and tear. In a family room, you may want to select a carpet to add a sense of warmth or you may opt for a hardwood – in this case you need to determine the use and feel of the room. Kitchens are open to many flooring options. It is not uncommon to see hardwood run through an entire floor, yet many people are still opting to select a floor of tile, stone or linoleum.
Traffic. If you have ever noticed an older carpet, you would probably notice a definite traffic path worn into the broadloom. The greatest wear on any floor usually occurs in the center of the hallway or on the center of stairs. These areas should be considered as places that need a quality product that will allow your home to remain beautiful long after the renovation dust has settled. Check with the flooring specialists and ask for thorough information about the warranty and expectations before you make your final selection.
Maintenance. I can remember my mom raking the rug in the living room and then forbidding my brother and I to enter until the guests arrived. This probably makes most of us laugh to think about this as we are much more demanding as consumers to have products that are easy to look after. Even still, there are some floors that do require more maintenance and care. Some stone products need to be sealed, others buffed. Some carpets are easily cleaned while others tend to not be as resilient to stains. Hardwood is hard, but never immune to scratches and dents.
Outside of practicality and function is esthetics. To make your home beautiful, select flooring choices that you find beautiful and select flooring choices that work with the mood and tone of your home. When I am consulting on such issues, I always try to counsel my clients to try to limit the number of flooring types in their home. Anytime we have a flooring change, we have created a different area and have stopped the flow of the space. Where you do have a flooring change, ensure that the two products are complementary to one another and look great side by side.
Don’t be floored selecting flooring. To make the best choices, ask the right questions, get all of the answers and look carefully at the color and style options that are available to you. Flooring is not a permanent decorating decision, but it is generally not an item in design that we consider changing immediately if we feel we have made a mistake. A bad paint color can easily be fixed, but money and practicality limit how often we remove and change our floors. Step out to begin your research and then step onto your beautiful new floors.