Many people believe that designing their dream home will be a difficult task, given how many different options are available; from flooring to furnishings, and lighting to accessories, there are a whole host of decisions to be made. This is why we ask our clients to think about their home in a practical sense, as opposed to viewing it as a show home for guests to admire – that will come naturally once you’re happy in your space.
Flooring is the base layer of your rooms. You’ll walk across it a hundred times daily, as will your children, your pets, your friends and relatives. Bearing this in mind, it’s important that your chosen flooring is durable and able to withstand the traumas of daily life, whilst still looking good for years to come.
We’ve put together a brief guide to the flooring options available for different areas of your home, in the hope that we can help build your dream designs from the ground up. If you have any questions or would like to know more about how we could bring your home to life, please do get in touch today.
Every room in your house has a different purpose, and it is vital that your flooring can withstand this. For example, bathrooms and kitchens typically experience higher moisture levels than other rooms, meaning the flooring materials you choose must be able to cope with this.
It’s a well-known fact that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and whether you’re an avid cook or more of a takeaway person, you’re likely to spend a lot of time there, particularly when entertaining guests. This is why we ask our clients to think carefully about how they design their kitchens, including the flooring.
Due to the sometimes-messy nature of this room (steamy saucepans, spilled drinks, and crumbs galore), we recommend opting for an easily maintained, wipe-clean flooring material. This will make your life much easier in the long run, leaving you more time to spend on the things you enjoy.
Waterproofing and durability are also key considerations for kitchen flooring materials. Opting for a non-slip surface will reduce the chances of any unfortunate accidents, and a highly durable material will fare well under frequent footfall.
The same thing goes for bathrooms. They may not be the most exciting room in the house, but they are certainly an important one. Knowing the regularity of bathroom use and the hygiene issues that could arise here, it’s best to fit your bathroom out with a good quality flooring material that’s been purpose built for this environment.
Take a look at the following materials to find one that’s right for your kitchen or bathroom:
This material is warm and water-resistant, and offers a cost-effective alternative to hardwood whilst still looking good. Whilst laminate is not traditionally waterproof, there are some new versions on the market that offer this feature, but this of course comes at an extra cost.
You should also be aware that regardless of how water-resistant or waterproof this material is said to be, it’s woodchip-based underneath. If this part comes into contact with water, it will expand; this damage is irreparable and the whole floor would need to be pulled up. It is however relatively easy to install and can be cleaned easily.
Cost-effective and solid, ceramic tile flooring comes in a variety of colours and styles, allowing you to pick a design that suits your home’s aesthetic. Porcelain is a specific type of ceramic tile, and has a particularly low absorption rate, meaning that it’s almost entirely waterproof. The tiles are easy to clean and don’t stain, but the grout can, so it’s still important to clean up spillages quickly. Another drawback of ceramic tiles is how cold and slippery they can be. Opting for a textured finish and including underfloor heating would reduce these risks.
There are a variety of natural stone flooring options, but the most common are marble, granite, and limestone. These are stunning to look at, especially when used in large spaces, but can suit smaller rooms too. They are also extremely durable, however natural stone is expensive and can be difficult to install. It can also be slippery if you don’t opt for a textured surface.
Vinyl flooring has been a popular choice for decades and isn’t going anywhere any time soon! It’s extremely durable and very practical: boasting the useful features of simple installation and removal, being easy to clean, and cost-effective, it’s a solid choice. Vinyl is also 100% waterproof, making it a great flooring choice for your bathroom or kitchen.
However, if your floor surface is uneven, any lumps and bumps are likely to show through vinyl. There are a variety of style options available though, so you may be able to counteract this by choosing a textured or patterned material.
If you’re set on a wood-finish flooring, there are two options depending on the room you’re planning to decorate:
For kitchens, you’ll want to go for hardwood. This is durable and water-resistant, but can be slippery – opting for a textured finish will resolve this issue. There’s also a variety of colours and textures available, and wood can be laid in different patterns dependant on your preference and needs. For the environmentally conscious, there’s the option for reclaimed, recycled, and sustainable – hardwood.
For bathrooms on the other hand, engineered wood is the most appropriate material. This has a plywood base and is finished with a wooden veneer on top, meaning that it really looks like real wood. It stands up to moisture far better than hardwood, offering the waterproofing required for bathroom environments. Unfortunately, this material can be expensive.
If you’re looking for a softer finish in the flooring department, carpet is your best bet. Once again, there’s a variety of materials to choose from, but all carpets are split into two groups: synthetic fibres or natural fibres, which are either plant or animal-based products. For clients who choose to lead a vegan lifestyle, animal-based fibres such as wool and silk are typically not realistic options. However, plant-based fibres such as cotton and jute may appeal.
Many natural fibres have been replaced with synthetic versions now, such as nylon, acrylic, and polyester fibres. All have their pros and cons, but of course the best way to really know which material you prefer is to physically touch and walk on them. We have samples available for you to look at if this is something you would like to do.
Carpets are typically used in living spaces and bedrooms. We don’t advise installing them in kitchens or bathrooms due to the high levels of moisture in those rooms; carpets can take a long time to dry, and don’t cope well with spillages.
For families with young children, or elderly clients, carpet can make a great choice. It has the warming benefit of insulating your home, as well as providing high levels of friction to reduce falls. For moments when accidents do happen, carpet will keep you well cushioned. They are also quiet to walk on, so you don’t need to worry about your late-night glass of water waking up the entire house. For allergy sufferers, carpet can be a great health-related choice too. Carpets have the fascinating ability of trapping dust and pet hairs, thereby alleviating tickly throats and noses.
Everything does have its disadvantages, and carpet is no different. They stain easily, and can be difficult to clean, so we always advise clients with young children to keep crafts and sticky drinks to a more manageable area of the home. For the same reason, carpets may be an unwise choice for pet-owners whose furry friends are getting on a bit and may have trouble managing their toileting habits.
This is why it’s so important to consider your lifestyle as well as aesthetics when deciding which flooring material to buy: you don’t want to regret it later.
Flooring is typically the interior design feature that is altered least often. This is largely due to the labour and time involved in pulling up your old version and replacing it with a new one, as well as the hassle of moving all your furniture elsewhere whilst the work takes place.
For people who get bored easily or like to regularly redesign their homes, this could pose a problem. In this situation, we advise clients to opt for a timeless, plain flooring, and then accessorise using rugs.
Rugs offer fantastic flexibility in your home, as you can swap them for different designs, patterns, textures, and sizes whenever the mood takes you. They also allow for seasonal changes – for example, a fluffy rug on a hardwood floor can be a great comfort to cold feet on a winter’s morning.