Insider Solutions

Function is the Basis of a Wise Flooring Choice

Q: I am building a new home and have started looking at floor covering. The choices are overwhelming. How do I decide what I want to live with?

A: When selecting flooring, the two top considerations are: How does it look and how does it feel?

Hard surfaces are more dramatic. Carpet may offer more impact, depending on the color you choose. Hard surfaces look and feel cooler, whereas carpet looks and feels warmer (a consideration for our climate). Generally, all surfaces come in a range of colors and textures. When choosing a material, consider practicality – which material will work best for your family.

Once you decide the look you prefer, decide how you want the floor covering to feel physically. Do you like to walk barefoot? Do babies crawl on the floor? What do you like to feel under foot?

Your choices:

  • Carpet is a softer and warmer look. Today, threads are combined to add interest; they can be a variation of loop and berber - although traditional pile is still used. The delustered yarns have taken the shine out of carpet, which gives nylon carpet the look of wool. Shag is back, in thin and short threads to very long and thick threads. Thick shag threads most likely would be used as an area rug - it would be too difficult to walk on if used in an entire room.
  • Area rugs create focal points in a room. An interesting area rug can stimulate creativity and set the whole tone of the design. I often suggest starting with an area rug, from which you can pull colors and shapes for the rest of the room.
  • Wood is hard and warm. The choices are more varied than ever. Today, you can find recovered wood lost under water for years that has been dried and treated to give an aged look. Bamboo has become popular and can be used instead of wood for a similar look.
  • Vinyl tile and sheet goods are hard and cool. They come in many colors and textures and have come a long way. The look has become more sophisticated and authentic for higher-end uses. Especially in contemporary design, it has become much more sought after. The Pergo-type products look like wood but wear like vinyl, and the cost is similar to the price of real wood.
  • Ceramic tile is hard and cool and comes in many styles, textures and colors. Tile keeps our homes feeling cooler and cleaner. It also creates a more open feeling if it is carried throughout the house.

Combining materials can create fabulous looks. You can use wood and ceramic tile together. Wood with ceramic tile and vinyl set into it, or wood or ceramic with metal tiles as accent - this is a spectacular look.

  • Leather is now used for flooring for that "surprise - you can top this look!
  • Glass is used when you want to put in a floor that just about no one has. It can be in different colors and lit from underneath.

Aside from the amount of wall space, flooring is the second most important feature in your home, and can make the greatest visual impact, so choose what you want to see the most. And remember, "Floors have no feelings, YOU DO!

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