When you redecorate or renovate a property, it’s easy to repaint the walls if you don’t like the colour or it dates suddenly. With your flooring, however, it’s not quite so easy, so it’s important to get it right first time.
Here’s what you need to consider when you’re making your decision – take your time before heading to your local discount flooring depot.
The floor’s usage
Think about the dominant use of the room. If you’re re-flooring a bathroom, there will be water! Exposed wood and carpets just won’t do, so you need tile, vinyl or rubber – laid well and treated right, these surfaces will last for years and look great.
In high traffic areas – hallways and kitchens – you’ll need a durable surface that won’t scuff or discolour with repeated cleaning. Tiles are great, especially if you’re in a warmer area or have underfloor heating. If not, then top-notch laminate or engineered wood might be a better selection. Wood does cost more, but the investment will pay off as it never dates.
If you have pets, carpets will soon feel their – ahem – enthusiasm, so utility or boot rooms will need tiles to cope with muddy paws and wellies.
Work out your budget
Flooring is never going to be cheap, especially if you want a durable solution that you won’t have to replace or repair within a few years. Of course, tiles and engineered wood floors are the most versatile and durable, but they can also be the most expensive. If you can afford it, go for it. However, if you’re not quite so flush, then look at the many vinyl floors that are available. They’re also hard-wearing and good-looking, as well as waterproof and warm underfoot.
If you’re not a vinyl fan, then a good-quality laminate might suit you better. With laminates, however, you need to avoid the cheaper end of the market as you’ll soon regret it, with splitting and warping being a big risk.
What impact do you want to make?
Your choice of flooring has a huge effect not just on the look and ambience of a space, it also has a physical impact. If you‘ve chosen wood, and you’re a bit of a minimalist rug-denier, you’ll be creating your own echo chamber. You might like this, but some will find it unwelcoming and noisy. If you’re after a bit of cosiness, a vinyl floor might be a better idea.
If you really fancy wood, then you might have to compromise and put down a rug or two, or use some drapes or big thick curtains to absorb some of the sound and add warmth.
Floors have a surprising amount of influence on the light within your home. For example, if you have a south-facing room with big windows, the amount of sunlight coming in means you can get away with a dark floor. A north-facing room will just feel smaller and claustrophobic with a dark floor, so you’ll need a lighter shade to reflect any available light. If you do want darker wood in a small, northerly room, then it’s also time for new lighting!
You also need to think about the function of the room and the feeling you want to create. White tiles in a kitchen or bathroom enhance the feeling of cleanliness and precision, but you might want to be able to relax more in your bedrooms and living spaces.