Guide written by:
Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester
When it comes to flooring, your options are pretty much endless. From vinyl, laminate and hardwood flooring to floating floors, carpet and lino tiles, indoor floor coverings come in all materials. Follow our guide to learn more about each type of flooring to find the perfect solution for your interior.
Finding the right floor covering for your room
Your choice of flooring will depend on how the floor will be used and the type of footfall it has to withstand.
Entrances and corridors with heavy footfall
Go for a floor that's easy to clean, smooth and moisture-resistant. It will also have to be hard-wearing in order to cope with regular footfall.
Kitchens and living rooms
In these rooms, you'll want flooring that is easy to clean and able to cope with various types of dirt. Remember: kitchens are living spaces in their own right so don't skimp on quality!
Offices and adult bedrooms
Ideally, you should try to get a floor that offers good acoustic insulation and is pleasant to the touch. Muted tones are usually most popular.
The key words here are acoustics, comfort, hygiene and, of course, practicality! Pick a floor that can easily be cleaned for any budding artists that might mistake the floor for their colouring book!
Why choose hardwood floors?
Once present in just about every interior, hardwood is less popular today. That said, wood is a material that really lasts! With a bit of effort, it can be made to look brand new. What's more, there's really a finish out there to suit all needs:
- for a floor to make your own, go for a raw finish;
- for a hard-wearing floor that's easy to maintain, a varnish will be ideal;
- for a traditional matte look, an oiled finish works great but will need regular maintenance;
- a waxed floor will be perfect for fans of traditional interiors looking for a surface to slide around on!
Wooden floorboards come in all different formats to match every space. In fact, choosing the right type can help to make a room look bigger (wide boards) or smaller (narrow boards). In order to take care of your hardwood floor, you'll simply need a vacuum cleaner and potentially a slightly dampened microfibre mop. But be careful: do not use too much water when cleaning at the risk of seriously damaging your hardwood floor.
The advantages of laminate flooring
Laminate flooring is a great option if you love the look of wood but don't want any fuss in terms of installation and maintenance. Made from wood fibres coated with a photographic applique, laminate flooring can be made to closely resemble any type of wood. From visible wood grain to an aged wood or whitewashed effect, there's something for everyone. You can even find metal or concrete designs! Laminate flooring also comes in a range of formats. It can either by clipped or glued into place making it a particularly accessible option for even the least talented DIYers among us! It's also easy to care for: a mop, some diluted cleaning product and a bit of motivation will give it a good shine!
On-trend vinyl flooring
A big hit during the 1980s, vinyl flooring (also known as linoleum or lino) has swing right back into fashion with a range of faux-material effects. Easy to install and care for, vinyl flooring is currently a popular choice. Ideal for reno projects, lino allows you to freshen up your interior at a low price and doesn't require any particular skills to install. Vinyl flooring tends to come in rolls in different widths (usually 2 m, 3 m or 4 m). However, be sure to pay close attention to the thicknessof the wear layer, depending on the room in which you want to lay the flooring.
Wear layer according to room type
For an office or adult's bedroom, a wear layer of 0.12 mm to 0.20 mm is ideal. For living rooms and children's bedrooms, go for a wear layer of around 0.30 mm to 0.35 mm.
Caring for a vinyl floor
Vinyl floors have the same care requirements as laminate: water, cleaning product and a mop and you're done!
Choose comfort with carpet
Whether you go for synthetic or natural materials, carpeted floors are on the rise again. Carpets offer acoustic insulation to absorb noise and vibrations. A warm carpet is particularly pleasant to the touch and will make a room feel more comfortable. If you're still not convinced, it's worth noting that most modern carpets are anti-allergen and treated against dust mites. And if you're really worried, you can even choose a stain-proof material. What's more, it is estimated that a carpet retains around 10% of a room's heat that would otherwise be lost through smooth floor coverings. Nevertheless, despite all this progress, it's still not a good idea to lay carpet in areas that are subject to heavy footfall. In terms of care, it couldn't be easier: you simply need a vacuum cleaner. If you want to give it a good spring clean, a carpet shampoo or dry clean will do the trick.
Professional vacuum cleaners
Eco-friendly carpet materials: seagrass, coir and sisal
Something of a novelty, natural fibre floor coverings have been making their way into our homes in recent years. Featuring a range of different decorative weaves (straight, braided, chevron, etc.), these carpets are easy to clean using natural products. These materials are great alternatives for anyone looking to reduce their plastic consumption.
Natural fibre carpets
- Seagrass is the most common option; it is hard-wearing and stain-resistant.
- Sisal is popular for its wide range of shades and flat weave. It is also soft to the touch.
- Coir also comes in a range of natural tones and boasts a thickerfibre. It is very wear-resistant.
- Bamboo is ideal for areas with heavy footfall.
All these materials are rot-proof and are great at regulating moisture. They are also very good at absorbing impacts and offer good acoustic insulation. In terms of maintenance, a good vacuum cleaner is all you need!
Different techniques for installing flooring
All types of floor covering come with multiple installation solutions.
These floors are quick and easy to install. So there's no need to crack out the toolbox and call a friend for help! These floors can be installed directly on top of your existing floor, whether you've got a new floor or an old one. For better sound insulation, you can install an underlayment. There's just one condition: your surface must be perfectly flat, clean, stable, dry and in good condition.
This applies mainly to vinyl flooring, lino tiles and some types of carpet. These materials come with a basic double-sided tape or even Velcro strips for carpeting with a textile underside. This type of floor covering can be glued directly to the old flooring and cut to size with a blade knife. Bear in mind that you may have to apply a self-levelling compound to your current floor if it is not perfectly smooth.
Some types of vinyl floors, laminate or even carpet don't need to be glued down. As long as they are are used to cover an area measuring less than 30 m², you can simply roll out your vinyl floor. The same goes for heavy carpets.
Glue can be used for pretty much any type of floor covering, whether you are working on a new build or an older home. These days, adhesive is mainly used for hardwood floors. You just need to be sure to use the right type of glue to match your floor covering.
5 pro tips for choosing the right flooring
No matter what type of material you go for, keep in mind that the floor makes up 30% of our overall view in any space. It's therefore important not to rush your decision and to really think about the type of feel you want your room to have.
- If you want your space to feel bigger, avoid bold patterns and go for lighter tones.
- For a classic look, avoid bright floor coverings and instead opt for a textured effect.
- If you're looking to make a room feel cosier, be sure to pay attention to the feel of the floor covering – but keep carpet for the bedroom!
- Smooth patterns and metallic tones will provide an edgier feel.
- In order to make a narrow room feel wider choose thinner floorboards or lino tiles.
So there you have it: now you're armed with all the flooring info you need to let your imagination run wild!
Guide written by:
Julie, Interior Designer, Manchester, 24 guides
After years of DIY, renovation, designing, I decided to turn my passion into my career. Starting in 2006, in the South-West, I helped people with renovation or contruction projects. My expertise and my curiosity led me to look further into innovative ideas for myself and my clients. Indeed, to live your passion is also to transform the space you live in and the objects you use daily. My family love my creations and ideas that I bring into their lives! My favourite thing to do: use colour to brighten up interior space. But also tips to hide away clutter. Your home is just never big enough, is it? It is thus a great pleasure to share my tips with you, so that you also can take as much pleasure as I do when starting up your next project!