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Choosing Flooring for the Home

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 14 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Flooring Home Tiles Carpet Rooms

It is good common sense to consider the function of rooms first and foremost when choosing flooring for your home and indeed, this is probably the best and most important criteria for selection. However, appearance is very important as well and should not be neglected if the house is to truly realise its potential, both in terms of aesthetics, comfort and value.

Function vs. Style

Even if rooms are intended for very different functions and therefore, with flooring types adapted to reflect this, it would be wise to remember that a house is not just a random group of separate rooms but actually needs to make up a coherent whole, i.e. a home. It is essential that your flooring choices blend with the style of your home and match the themes observed in your interior décor, furniture and accessories. For example, trendy black graphite would hardly suit an elegant Victorian maisonette with period features, whilst a rustic timber floor would look very odd in a minimalist modern apartment. This may seem to be obvious but with the wealth of choices on offer, it is easy to become focused on the functional benefits of a flooring type, without giving much thought to its look and style and how it matches the rest of your home.

Bedrooms

There are some traditional expectations, of course. For example, bedrooms tend to be places of sanctuary, where you seek peace and harmony away from the day’s troubles and where you expect to be warm and comfortable. Thus, thick, plush Carpet in pastel or ‘natural’ shades are a popular choice, due to its insulating and sound muffling-properties as well the feeling of softness and luxury that is hard to achieve with any other type of flooring. And the colours and styles chosen tend to be gentle and soothing – it is rare to find a bedroom dominated by a strong geometric floor pattern or a garishly bright neon carpet.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms, are areas of high wear & tear and also high moisture, as a result most are often fitted with Tiles or Vinyl, but the choice of style and colour can make a huge difference to the overall look of the room. The range of options available is enormous these days and so it should be easy to find a style to suit the room and ultimately, the house, without sacrificing any functional benefits. Especially in families, kitchens tend to be busy, cluttered places so it might be preferable to choose a flooring style which is not too “busy” with too many patterns and colours but instead one which provides a neutral (and calming!) backdrop to the chaos.

On the other hand, a kitchen might be a key entertaining space for a younger childless couple or a retired one and as such, needs to provide the right combination of practical style and warm invitation. Bathrooms – whether with ornate antique fixtures or contemporary chrome styling - should look clean and calming. Nowadays, many people are viewing their bathrooms not just as functional equipment to help in washing and preparing their appearance but also as a place to relax and unwind, maybe even with a spa-like ambience. The colours and styles chosen for flooring are very important in achieving the overall tranquil effect. There is a reason why ‘cool’, calming colours such as blues and greens are very popular in bathrooms (and spas!)

Mix it Up

While these traditional pairings may be obvious, that is not to say that you cannot mix-and-match, according to your own personal style and to achieve a custom-made look. For example, you may choose to have hard wood or even tiles on your bedroom floor, softened by well-placed and luxurious rugs. Done well, these combinations can give the home a unique, one-of-a-kind flavour and add substantially to the value of the home – for example, by mixing flooring materials or combining tiles of different sizes or even an array of textures. This can even help in defining any space functions and in smoothing transitions from one room to the next, particularly if many rooms in the house have different types of flooring.

Ultimately, the appearance of flooring must come second to its functional needs. However, it is certainly something to keep in mind doing flooring selection as it can substantially alter the overall look of the home and even affect its value. A house where the rooms flow easily from one to the other and where everything blends to achieve a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts is the ideal to be aimed for.

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