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.
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.
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. (www.alternativeflooring.com; 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 www.funonthefloor.com 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.
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 www.uniquecarpets.com for tips on cleaning specific stains.
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 (www.theslatecompany.net; 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.
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 (www.therubberflooringcompany.co.uk) have lots of choice, and will deliver samples and full orders the next day.
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 www.almahome.co.uk (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.