Choosing the Right Flooring
Which type of flooring?
Floors take a lot of punishment: feet tramp across, bringing in wet, mud and grit from outside; fidgety feet scuff the same patch in front of chairs or sofas; tracks are worn where there is only one possible route across a room. There is nothing worse than spending time and effort laying a floor, to find it looks scruffy after a few months or requires tremendous upkeep.
There are three basic types of flooring:
Hard – this includes stone, wood and ceramic tiles.
Resilient – such as vinyl, linoleum and rubber.
Soft – which includes both carpets and rugs and ‘natural’ coverings, such as sisal.
The different types of flooring are explored in more detail further on, but before you commit yourself to stripping old floorboards or laying a marvellous expanse of marble, consider objectively the look you want, what demands you will put on the floor and how much you can afford.
• How much wear and tear will the floor receive? Floors that get a lot of heavy use or through-traffic will need to be hard-wearing.
• Does it need to be washable? Halls, bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms all need to be easy to clean and resistant to dirt and stains.
• Do you want a permanent flooring — a wise choice for kitchens,and halls — or something that will not be too difficult to change?
• Do you need a type of flooring that you can lay yourself, or is there enough in the budget to pay for it to be fitted? Large pieces of sheet material or rolls of carpet can be quite difficult to handle if you are inexperienced.
• The flooring needs to relate to the style of the room or area. It is a significant proportion of the room’s surface decoration, so it will not go unnoticed.
• Strong colours and bold patterns may appear to hit you in the eye, so avoid these where you want to create a relaxing mood.
• Where much of the floor is covered up with furniture or equipment, it may be a waste of effort to design a patterned floor that will not be appreciated. Interesting patterns often look best in halls, kitchens, corridors and large, sparse rooms.
• Consider the size of any pattern in relation to the scale of the room. Pale colours and small patterns can look disappointing on a large floor.
• When planning a patterned floor, whether in tiles or as a painted design on wood, think about how the pattern relates to the room’s configuration. There is nothing worse than an awkward ‘break’ in the design at a doorway, or in front of a fireplace. Working out the design on a scale plan is always helpful.
• Collect samples and look at them in the room where you propose to use them, to gauge their effect in situ.