When it comes to styling rooms, we love the opportunity to start from scratch.  A blank canvas gives endless opportunities without being locked into a style or a colour palate dictated by existing carpets, drapes or even furniture.  

The reality is there are items that most of us just simply can’t afford to replace and often don’t consider replacing until wear and tear leaves us without choice.  For this reason, we want to zoom in on furnishing choices that are here for the long haul and impact everything else going on in a room.

So, before we consider the furniture, window treatments and the beautiful layers that can be created, lets think about flooring, be it carpets, tiles, timber or whatever you fancy.  The first thing we generally consider is the aesthetic, however the focus should start with the use for the space and the traffic the floor must handle.  

Carpet is often the most affordable option, however in high traffic areas it can show signs of wear, needing replacement way sooner than hard flooring, as otherwise it will have a negative impact on the entire space.  Our personal preference is for carpet in bedrooms for the soft underfoot feeling, creating a sense of warmth and comfort, and it works out well as bedrooms are low traffic areas.  

Carpet colour choice is not just about your colour palette, it must be functional too. We have unsuccessfully carpeted apartments in very pale colours more than once and should have learnt the first time. It looked great, for a moment! You won’t no need to worry about wear and tear, pale carpet in living areas will look terrible way before it shows wear. Also, think about the light and other colours in the room. Colour in the store might look different when laid in your room at home. Remember colour is reflected light, so it might change in situ.

Think about the pile you want, long, short, textured, and the underlay you will need. Again, consider function and room use first.  

When it comes to timber or engineered timber flooring there is a lot to consider.  It’s not all about aesthetics, and generally, but not always, the higher priced options will be longer lasting with the benefit of being able to be sanded and re-stained.  Engineered timber can be installed as a floating floor or nailed or glued, but personally from our experience, when it’s installed floating, it never feels as solid under foot. However, if you live in an apartment, you may not have any choice, so check your strata requirements.

Remember that timber floors and water are enemies. Avoid timber flooring in areas that are likely to get wet.  We used a laminated timber look floor in a little beach pad a few years back based on it being durable, scratch resistant and less likely to be damaged by wet people coming in off the beach.  It stood up well, looked good and did all we expected of it, but it wasn’t timber, and we knew it.  You will also need to ensure the floor is level before installation and might need to use one of the self-leveling products available. This adds costs.

Tiles are without a doubt the most durable flooring surface.  Ceramic and Porcelain tiles are probably the longest lasting, requiring little maintenance and importantly are moisture resistant, so are a no brainer for wet areas.  Some stone tiles and some of the most prestigious handmade tiles can be porous, so do your research into the durability before falling in love with your choice.    

Tiles and stone flooring have not been on trend for some time, other than for wet areas, however we believe tiles will come back and if you want to be a leader, they could seriously make a space fabulous if worked well.

Oh, and let’s not forget, underfloor heating, if you’re in a cooler climate location, it is seriously amazing, and can be surprisingly affordable depending on your choice.  

No matter your preference, do a load of research into what works best for you, how long it needs to last, considering what looks good that you won’t tire of – this years’ most hip flooring trend may be hard to live with in ten years’ time.

June 15, 2022 — Mark McKie

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