Flooring for Interior Design and home decorating has more options today than it ever has had. Considering that flooring is in every room of your home, this is one area where you have to do your homework, keeping in mind your budget and specific wants and needs. There are a few categories such as carpeting, hard surfaces like hardwood flooring, laminate flooring, reclaimed or recycled flooring, Eco-friendly flooring, area rugs and tile flooring. As with the rest of our busy lives, technology has entered the flooring world as well and its amazing what features and qualities you will find for you to consider. Don’t let the choices overwhelm you, do your due diligence and investigate what really works for you interior design and lifestyle, but most of all just have FUN!
When looking at flooring it’s easiest to start with the footprint of your home. Walk through your home, taking notes as to the size of the areas, the kind of use that particular room or space will have, and keeping in mind your lifestyle. Not all of us are neat and tidy and love doing housework on a regular basis, so probably easy maintenance flooring would be best. If your lifestyle is more formal and doesn’t receive as much traffic then upgrading the material choices in those areas can be considered.
The main categories for flooring choices are: Carpeting, Vinyl, Ceramic Tile, Natural Stone, Hardwood, Laminates, and Concrete. There are numerous colour choices and there will be something for everyone no matter what colour scheme you may have. My sister always responded when I asked what colour carpeting she was selecting by saying she wanted something that matched with dirt, considering she had children at home she was for the most part pretty successful in doing that. But who knew dirt came in so many shades, that is the marvellous thing about flooring materials today, you will find your perfect match.
I’ll give a brief overview of the main flooring products on the market today. Starting with Carpeting: It’s been a staple for many decades and improvements are always being made. Carpeting always has made a room feel cozy and warm, especially underfoot and complemented any decor. The texture of carpeting is important to consider because the style in which the fibres have been woven will either work well for you or not.
For example a shorter pile or loop is best if you have pets or a high traffic area. A denser pile cut, which is called Saxony, is better in a more plush or formal setting. Carpeting is either natural or a synthetic product. Wool is a natural fibre and can be used in conjunction with cottons or other natural fibres, often found in a variety of area rugs. The major synthetics fibres are nylon, acrylic, polyester and olefin. Wool can look and feel rich but is higher in maintenance. From the synthetic fibres nylon is the strongest, most durable and most stain resistant. It is great from high traffic areas and easy to maintain. Olefin would be next in the strength category, it is resistant to moisture, pilling and staining. Polyester is not as durable as nylon but holds up well in the wear and tear factor. It is considered to be non-allergenic and repels moisture and mildew.
Don’t forget the Padding or Underlay as it is just as important as the carpeting. I usually recommend purchasing the best underlay in particular if you’ve chosen a slightly cheaper flooring material, the underlay will make a big difference here. Carpet Tiles and Squares are fairly new on the market and have been made to be user friendly and easy to install. There are a variety of colours, textures and patterns so you can mix and match to suit your decor. Area Rugs are perfect for accenting a new or old floor. They provide excellent coverage to a floor that has seen better days perhaps, and a wonderful splash of colour to a room where you want to highlight not only the flooring but a fabulous area rug as well.
Remember when Vinyl flooring was a mish mash of wild colours, checkerboards and spots. Well vinyl flooring no longer has a budget look to it, but it does fit into most everyone’s budget. Vinyl is frequently used in the wet areas of a home such as a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room or basement. With today’s technologies vinyl flooring has come a long way and has been reproduced with realistic coverings such as brick, wood, marble and stone. Vinyl remains popular today because of the cushioning effect you have underfoot even when the pattern could simulate a hard surface.
The wearing of vinyl has three types which are no-wax, urethane and enhanced urethane and the enhanced urethane is considered to be the best quality and longest lasting. Vinyl flooring also comes in stick on tiles as well. These are great for small projects where you are trying to give a quick facelift, or for a project that you want to keep the budget in check or easy enough for a do it yourself project. You can’t go wrong with a vinyl floor selection.
Natural stone is always a wonderful choice but you must consider it carefully before starting your project. Depending on the type of stone selected you want it to be comfortable for walking on, consider the costs involved because it will usually be more, the maintenance required, and the slipping factor. A brief overview list of natural stones is Limestone, Marble, Slate, Quartzite and Granite. Not all Natural stone is perfect for every room or application. You must consult with your retailer on the pros and con’s of which natural stone is best suited for your home. Limestone comes in both tiles and slabs, some are soft and porous and not suitable for a flooring tile while others are hard and can be used for high traffic areas.
Marble also comes in tiles or slabs and the colours and variations come in the traditional feathery veined marbles to some new ones that are being discovered throughout the world. Most household applications of marble are highly polished and therefore that is its appeal. Under the right circumstances marble can scratch. Slate can be used both indoors and out and in addition to being so versatile it is the most slip resistant of the natural stones. The appeal to a natural slate floor is the variation of the colouring in the stone. It is rich looking to the eye and can be to the budget as well. Natural Stone will accent and compliment any decor beautifully. It’s a luxury if your able to incorporate it into your home.
Hardwood is a wonderful addition to any home whether it’s a new installation or a refurbishing of an existing floor. Hardwood flooring is a time-honoured tradition for a lot of people that grew up with a hardwood floor only to have it all covered up in the seventies with shag carpeting. Well Hardwood flooring has definitely made a comeback and along with it a price tag to match. For some of us a true hardwood floor is all they might ever want, while others can compromise on the true part and opt for new laminate flooring. Hardwood flooring not only adds value to the look of your room but it definitely adds resale dollar value as well. The durability of hardwood far exceeds almost any other type of flooring material and when the time comes for a facelift it can be done simply by sanding and refinishing the floor to make it look new once again. Usually the appeal of hardwood flooring is the natural wood characteristics such as the grain, knots or other such markings. A visit to your local retailer will have you wanting this natural beauty in your home.
Laminate flooring has made a quick jump into the flooring market. It has allowed many of us to have what looks to be hardwood flooring but for a fraction of the cost. Laminates can mimic hardwood floors and can be dent, stain, and scuff resistant. Laminates can be used in most areas of the home, but probably not recommended for a bathroom or laundry room application because of the exposure to potential water, which could cause the flooring to swell and expand. Like most anything there are varying qualities to laminates, so you need to do your homework and get what is best suited for your application. Laminate flooring is a wood grain pattern on thin paper much like a photographic image and is put under a protective film that is glued and pressed into a backing board. Laminate flooring is user friendly and often requires no glue or nails but it has a snap together system. Maintenance is quick and easy as sweeping and mopping with the manufacturers recommended cleaning product and you’re done. You’ll enjoy many years ahead with your Laminate wood flooring.
Concrete….Who said it was just for driveways and sidewalks. Concrete has proven to be durable and a cost effective material when used in building. There has been a new popular increase in looking at concrete as a finished floor product. Today concrete can be treated with stains to create a variety of rich colours and textures. Stamped concrete also patterns itself to replicate natural surfaces such as wood or stone. Decorative finishes applied to concrete have gone from outdoors to indoors, from commercial space to residential and it’s a winner each and every time.
To create the decorative finishes there is chemical staining, which is the most versatile method of colouring concrete. Scoring concrete allows small cuts to be made in the concrete that can simulate grout lines, tiles, different shapes and patterns. This is great when your trying to create a border outline to a space or area with the smoother concrete to lie within. Concrete stamping is made by using a pattern to imprint the outline or texture, much like stamping that is popular in craft stores today. When the floor has been completed then a sealer or wax will be applied to bring out the depth of colour tones that were used and give a rich sheen to the patina’s or colour variations. Maintenance is simple with sweeping and an occasional mopping with a floor wax product. A concrete floor is indeed unique and one of a kind. That is Flooring for Interior Design tips.