The Ultimate Guide To Choose Your Flooring

Let your flooring define you


What look and feel are you seeking with your flooring choice? Formal or informal? Utilitarian or luxurious? Old world or modern? Different options will create different moods. Bamboo flooring has a very different feel from brick or stone flooring. Carpeting, linoleum and tile are quite different from each other too. The pattern can be busy or soothing, expanding or reducing; a square flooring will have a very different affect than a slate flooring pattern. Will you go with the elegance of hardwood or the functionality and ease of vinyl flooring?


Choosing flooring for your home can update your home and entirely change its look. Trying to decide between hardwood, laminate, vinyl tile, linoleum, stone (like slate, stone, and marble) or carpet can be somewhat difficult and overwhelming. At the end of the day, you want to go back to your home and every brick in it should make you feel right at home. A flooring design that looks good in one place may not fit your home. it is all about preferences and choices that define you. What better ways than letting your flooring do the talking?


Making the right flooring choice


Flooring is a major choice that directly affects the whole feel of your home. That is why it is a decision that needs to be made carefully.


Deciding on the right flooring for the style of your home depends upon several different factors.


  1. What kind of traffic does that room get? For example, a formal dining room may not see as much traffic. On the other hand, a play room or even the kitchen see a lot of footfall, day in day out.
  2. What kind of function does the room serve? Will it be used sparingly, or will it be a room frequented often?
  3. Will the floor flow with the rest of the house? Will you need to redecorate so the floor will go with the room?
  4. How much time are you willing to devote to maintenance? Lets face it, nobody wants to take leave from work just so that they can do the maintenance of the home. If given the chance, they would prefer installing the flooring and forgetting it completely. Frequent repair and maintenance are a headache that most people prefer to avoid.


After you answer these questions, you will be able to make an informed decision about the kind of flooring style that you need and want for your home.


Factors that decide the flooring option


The amount  of  traffic in the room that you are purchasing flooring for impacts your purchase decision. For example, if you are buying flooring for the kitchen then you want to purchase flooring that is durable enough for all of the traffic that moves through the kitchen each day and that you will not slip on. In the living room, you want flooring that can hold up to lots of traffic, but you also want a floor that is attractive since it is a focal point in the house and many people use it. Bathrooms need waterproof flooring that is easy to clean and is non-slip. Determine how much traffic that goes through the room and then try to find a flooring style that will be durable enough for the traffic in that room. High traffic rooms include the living room, family room, kitchen, mud room, and foyer.


The function of a room has great bearing on your flooring style choice too. For the kitchen, you want a flooring style that is easy to clean and take care of because of spills and splatters from cooking. A bedroom floor is not as likely to be spilled on as other rooms so it can have a different kind of flooring. Bathroom floors need to be water resistant, non-slip and easy to clean. If you family room is used often, you want to have flooring that is easy to clean and durable. On the other hand, if you have a formal living room that is not used very often, you can go with flooring that is more for the décor of the room than the function. Think about how the room is used and then make your flooring choice accordingly.


Choosing a flooring design


How the flooring you choose flows with the rest of the home is another consideration. If your home has an open floor plan, then this makes it even more important to find flooring that flows well. If your kitchen floor is a sandstone tile, then you want to consider how the hardwood color will go with the sandstone color. Not paying attention to the flow of the house and how the flooring choices work together will make you unhappy. Also, if you don’t want to redecorate the entire room, make sure that the flooring you choose goes with existing décor. A lot of people do the mistake of considering flooring and home renovation as entirely different things. Thus, they choose one plan for the flooring and a totally different one for the home. What eventually results is a home that may look great in parts, but overall looks confusing at best. You need to avoid this conundrum at all costs and the only possible solution is to choose uniform floor plans.


Consider how patterned walls go with patterned flooring — it may be too much. Try a few samples until you find flooring that looks great with your existing flooring styles, color scheme and existing decor!


Maintenance is a crucial factor


Flooring maintenance on most floors these days is pretty simple. Read the directions on the flooring style that you are considering to understand what maintenance that the manufacturer recommends. This will help you to decide if that flooring is the right choice for you. There will be lots of intricate flooring designs that will look great, but is difficult to install and need frequent maintenance. If you are someone who has the time and budget to invest on the maintenance cycle, then there is nothing stopping you from going for it. On the other hand, you cannot afford that versatility, your best bet would be to go with a flooring option that is attractive to begin with and entails minimum maintenance in the long run.


The flooring style that you choose can make a huge impact on your entire home. It can help your home feel warm and inviting or can make your home feel cold and unfeeling. Choose flooring that meets the needs and function of the room that you need flooring for and you are sure to find flooring that you will love! Do not hesitate to put in the required time and effort until you find exactly what you need. Do not go blindly by the recommendations of others or even the local store owner. Be clear as to what you want, and if you are not able to get that, go for the next best thing. Talk to experts, friends and neighbors and at the end of it all, you are sure to get a flooring that will define you in the most elegant of ways.

9 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide To Choose Your Flooring”

  1. My husband’s asthma has been growing steadily worse, and we’ve decided to do away with all our carpeting. I have a few issues, though, that are making it hard for me to figure out what flooring we should go with!
    1. We actually like the wood-look laminate in our great room and in our entry way, so we’d love to be able to keep it. But it would need to look good with the new floor. I’m concerned that no other hard flooring type would look right next to the laminate — that it would look patch-workish.
    2. We have had nightmare moisture issues in past houses, so we do not want anything in the baths that is iffy — our ideal choice would be tile. But that brings up the patchwork issue again — do we want to have one hard floor (the laminate) in our great room, tile in the baths, and then a third type of hard floor in the hallways, bedrooms, etc.?
    3. We have stairs (a split level), and I’m not sure what floors work on stairs.
    4. Budget!
    I hope you can help. :) Thanks!

  2. People mix hard surface flooring all the time; I’m guessing it’s something you just aren’t used to. You mix and match soft- and hard-flooring and are comfortable with it. I bet you’ll get comfortable with mixing your hard surfaces too. The main issue I think you need to pay attention to is making sure the colors are complimentary.
    The water issues you’ve had in the past were from leaks or just daily use? Tile, stone and stained concrete are probably the most impervious to water issues. But I think installing stained concrete at this point would be hard.
    I personally like the look of stone tiles and wood together very much. Would that work for you with your house style? Stone works well on stairs and in all of the rooms you are talking about.
    You can also consider cork tiles (not the floating type) with a water-based polyurethane finish. You’ll want to build up the floor because of the height difference between the laminate and the cork, but that’s not a big deal.
    Mixing decorative tile and wood can create a beautiful look too. You really have lots of options.
    Of course I haven’t considered your budget at all, but I bet if you get to pricing various flooring options you’ll find lots of things that suit you and your budget.
    When shopping, take a sample of the laminate floor and paint chips of your interior walls/trims/ceiling and use them to help narrow your selection before you take samples home. It’s a great way to help you find viable options.

  3. Thank you for the great ideas! I am leaning toward either all tile, or tile in the bathrooms and cork elsewhere. I’m wondering what my cats would do to the cork, though — perhaps I can bring home a cork tile and see if they think it’s fun to scratch!
    It never occurred to me to try stone on the stairs. That sounds really nice, too. Our house is sort of cabin-ish (we live in a forest), so I think stone could be really lovely.
    Thank you again for your help. I just have a hard time making big money decisions!

  4. You’re most welcome.
    The cork has a hard finish to it — not the kind that will attract your cats. If it were “raw” cork with no sealant I’m sure they’d have fun scratching it, but it’s just like a wood floor surface.
    I do urge you to apply at least one other coat of sealant on it though. Based on my experience with it, at least with Natural Cork’s floating cork tiles, the surface can be gouged and scratched. Before NC got fancy with its finishes polyurethane could be applied, making a durable surface. See if you can find a company that has a finish you can apply polyurethane to for extra protection.

  5. Flooring Lady, I really like what you mentioned in regards to choosing the right flooring your project. I just wrote about this recently on my blog and came to very similar conclusions with a couple of tips that may help people get a little more comfortable with the shopping process when it comes to flooring. If anyone would like other suggestions I’ll be happy to help as much as I can. Our team has over 50 years of experience in the flooring industry and there is nothing we haven’t run into somewhere along the line…

  6. Dear Flooring Lady,
    We don’t know what to do! Twenty-five years ago we put in solid oak flooring in our kitchen to match existing hardwood flooring. Because my husband liked peg and groove, we had it done throughout the old part of the house (2/4 & 8″ widths), but the kitchen was placed in 3/5 & 7″ planks (pegged and grooved, as well). The kitchen runs directly into our family room which we carpeted. Since the family room has heavy traffic into the kitchen and bedroom areas, we finally decided to rip out the carpet and match the hardwood floors.
    The problem arose when the flooring salesman pointed out the peg and groove was outdated, and that matching our existing hardwood (as well as some necessary patching due to water damage) would not look as good as simply doing over the whole kitchen/family room area with engineered wood (making the whole job less expensive and updating the look of the house at the same time). We really like a maple, distressed, heavy chatter sample that we feel tones down the overall look of oak-oak-oak in our home since our kitchen cabinets are also oak.
    The maple looks great, but are we making a mistake going with such a different look when the hallway and bedrooms are going to remain peg and grooved oak. And is the engineered wood going to hold up as well as our old oak in such heavy traffic areas?
    Thanks for your input,

  7. Hi Paula,
    Engineered harwood holds up rather well, but will never match the quality of solid hardwood – my opinion only and I’m sure some others would disagree with me. The thing I don’t like about engineered hardwood is that most is prefinished and there have been many complaints with the material that companies used to finish it. If you decide you want more sealer/polish to protect higher traffic areas – you can’t (it won’t work and you void your warranty on top of that). You can totally strip it, and then go on from there, but you void your warranty. I would recommend an unfinished hardwood that you can stain & seal/finish yourself or the solid hardwood.
    It’s going to be nearly impossible to match your wood because your old wood has 25 years of age & love, but if you can get pretty close I think you’d still be pretty satisfied. It won’t be pegged & grooved, but tongue & groove. which is still ok too.
    You may find that the engineered wood is just the ticket for you, but I would recommend using a search engine (such as to do more research what others have to say about their experience with having it in their home. If nothing else, I’d really recommend unfinished engineered flooring so you can have the freedom to finish it with the products that would best suit you.

  8. hi there ,
    we are in a process of building a new house,we’ll soon have to choose the floors . we are planning to install hardwood in entery , fromal living n dining and a huge family room …which iam ok with but my husband wants hardwood flooring in the nook as well as in the kitchen. now iam kind of confused as to shall we go with hardwood in the kitchen n nook or no? after reading that wood floors need a lot of proper cleaning n manteinance. i have 3 small kids n husband . i have had tile floors in the kitchen before and i was fine with it . please suggest what will be the right choice for our kitchen tile or wood ..thanks


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