Design Shopper

What Type Of Flooring?

20th March 2012
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Choosing the right flooring is one of the most expensive decorating decisions you will have to make. You need to think about maintenance, traffic and durability as well as both the look and feel, and how it will co-ordinate with everything else. Here are some pros and cons about the different types of flooring.



Never go out of fashion as you can change the look of a room with rugs and even giant floor stickers which look like rugs. They are warm to walk on but beware if you live in a flat or want to use them upstairs room as they are noisy.

floor sticker from

If yours aren’t up to scratch consider painting them. In fact, the rougher they are the better they can look painted as it will add character to a room. It can also contrast well with modern furniture. White looks great, but if that makes you feel a bit faint consider grey which goes with pretty much every other colour and will hide the dirt and scuff marks that little bit better.

from by Rachel Smith

Boards are also good for asthmatics who can’t cope with dust as well as families with small children as they are easy to clean.


Carpets and their underlays are often made of synthetic material. But they are easy to lay, keep the noise down, are warm and if your floors aren’t completely even they can cover up a multitude of bumpy sins. Stripes are fashionable. I love spots. (; 01264 335111). If you have plain walls and sofas then a bit of pattern, and no we are NOT talking about swirls and pubs here, are a good way to add a bit of wow to a room. Visit for details on different piles, cleaning tips and local fitters.

A good rule of thumb is 80/20, that’s wool to nylon, but I have used a nylon carpet in my spare room, mainly because it was the only one I could find in the right colour and pattern and it just happened to be nylon. However, it wasn’t big enough so I had the edges bound in bright pink (to match the fireplace) and turned it into a rug. Cost around £200 instead of nearer £1,000.

Dotty from



Usually means either seagrass, jute, sisal or coir. The colours tend to be neutral but the differences are in the weave and feel. Seagrass can be hard to clean, coir can be hard underfoot. Sisal is usually regarded as the softest and can work well in a bedroom. Visit for tips on cleaning specific stains.

Seagrass from And dog.



There are thousands of different shapes and styles to choose from and it’s down to your personal taste in the end. Instead of porcelain tiles though, do consider using natural slate. It’s often cheaper than tiles and the dark colours mean that it really doesn’t show the dirt. The Slate company (; 020 8371 1485) stocks slate in shades of green and pink as well as the more usual black and grey. My last kitchen had a pinky tiled floor which was really practical and a little less austere than the black version.

From Lots of cleaning tips here


Surprisingly practical as it’s easy to clean, is very hardwearing and soft to walk on. Perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. It’s also good for stairs as it’s nonslip and environmentally friendly. The Rubber Flooring Company ( have lots of choice, and will deliver samples and full orders the next day.

Black rubber flooring in our shower room


 It’s expensive – expect to pay around £275 for supply and fitting – but it’s warm, surprisingly durable and, as it develops a patina with use, is the one surface that will actually improve with age. However, it’s not suitable with underfloor heating. Visit (020 7439 0925) for further ideas. I once met someone who had made a stair runner out of strips of leather. She said it was beautifully non-slip, ageing well and looked cool. She had just used a staple gun to attach it.



No. Just no. Did you hear me? No! Surveys have found it can knock thousands off the value of your house. There’s nothing more to say on the subject. And there will be no pictures either.

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  • sam 30th December 2012 at 9:23 am

    hi Kate did you then varnish the boards once you had painted them? I love this paint and may be able to swing a tin or two but do you think Crown or Dulux may have something i could use to achieve the same effect? it’s such a drag having to watch every penny….. not sure what I would do without you hon x

  • sam 7th October 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I am so glad I have found you. I am out of my depth renovating our 4 bed vic terrace untouched since the seventies and your blog is such a help with ideas. did you sand your fab floorboards prior to painting them? what colour paint did you use? thanks so much

    • Kate 8th October 2012 at 7:17 am

      Hello, I’m so glad you’re finding the blog useful, it sounds like a massive job, but it will be worth it in the end. Yes, the boards were sanded before painting. Just a very light sand – it helps the paint to stick better and gives a much better finish. There is one room where we didn’t (the library) and the finish really isn’t as good so we have covered it with a large rug. It is worth the effort of sanding I’m afraid! The paint we used, throughout the whole house, is Farrow & Ball’s Wimbourne White. It’s a lovely chalky white. We tried Pointing first but in this house, perhaps because of the light, it came out a little too yellow. Good luck with your renovation. Do come back again.

      • sam 8th October 2012 at 11:43 am

        thanks Kate. I will try not to stalk you……

  • Jessica 11th May 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Where did you get the rug edges bound? At the carpet shop?

    • Kate 11th May 2012 at 4:51 pm

      The carpet fitter said he knew someone who did it and he arranged it all for us and then brought it over when it was done. I can’t remember what it cost but I really think it wasn’t expensive. I will dig out the information and update this reply for you. Most carpet shops will know someone who does this work.

      • Jessica 11th May 2012 at 4:59 pm

        Thanks, that would be helpful. I had the idea of doing this to make an off-cut of my stair carpet into a doormat, but didn’t know how to fix the edges so it is currently looking a bit tatty!

        • Kate 14th May 2012 at 11:41 am

          Hi Jessy, I think we paid about £100 to have the carpet bound but it’s about 4m by 5m in size, so for a doormat it shouldn’t be more than about £20 I wouldn’t have thought. Your carpet fitter should know someone who will do it for you.

  • Pernilla 20th April 2012 at 11:06 am

    Great post! – and I totally agree, no laminate flooring please 😉

    • Kate 20th April 2012 at 11:24 am

      Glad you liked the post and so happy you agree with me!

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