Flooring Design – Getting It Nailed Down

There are so many decisions to make when building or renovating a home! Get your flooring design nailed down early in the design process. It will make all the other design decisions a lot easier. Flooring – prefinished hardwood, laminate, linoleum, tile, carpet, etc. – are permanent features that will affect your color scheme. I just finalized the flooring design for our home and the drywall isn’t even up!

Ideally you’ll want to have one type of flooring throughout most of your home. This creates a “flow” throughout the home and gives it a sense of continuity.

Hardwood Flooring Design

Hardwood flooring is warm-looking, a good choice for people with allergies, and holds up well to traffic. However, it’s not a good choice for “wet areas” like bathrooms and laundry rooms.

There are different types of hardwood flooring: solid hardwood, prefinished solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Solid wood flooring is 100% hardwood milled from individual boards of lumber. It’s available unfinished and prefinished. Engineered hardwood flooring has been gaining popularity in recent years. It’s made up of multiple layers of wood with a hardwood (oak, hickory, maple, etc.) on top. It’s more resistant to moisture and heat plus a lot less expensive than solid hardwood.

Hardwood/engineered flooring is pretty neutral but the wood species and stain finish will have some undertones that can affect your design choices. For instance, mahogany can come off purplish/red and can clash with wood furniture. Likewise, oak can have a lot of orange in it (remember the 70’s?) and fight a neutral gray color scheme.

Flooring Design Since our house is a Spanish style, either hardwood or tile would be perfect for our flooring design. We chose to go with a hickory engineered hardwood because it’s less expensive than solid wood and we were able to get the rustic, reclaimed wood look we wanted. Isn’t it gorgeous?! If you look carefully, you’ll see the warm red and gold undertones. But that works with the fall color scheme of our decor.

Hardwood flooring also works well with our aging in place design. It allows for the easy use of wheelchairs and walkers, unlike carpet which impedes propulsion.

We’re going to use it all over the house except for the laundry room, master bath, upstairs bath, and media room. I love rugs – they add such great texture & pattern. I’ll definitely use them in the bedrooms, great room, and anywhere that needs a pop of color.

Tile Flooring Design

The choices in tile are staggering! Not only is there a humongous selection of colors and patterns, nowadays there are also tiles that look just like wood. Choosing tile can be particularly difficult because their undertones can wreak havoc with your decor. Read this article by Maria Killam to get a better understanding of undertones and how they affect your color choices.

Flooring DesignFor the 2 bathrooms, I wanted to maintain a consistency with the tile flooring design and went with an ivory travertine in the versailles pattern. Not only is it an inexpensive choice, it reminds me of old castle floors. I’ll be repeating the ivory travertine for the shower tiles and have chosen a complementary stone for the countertops.

NOTE: Keep in mind that tile floors can be slippery, especially in wet locations! Large polished tiles, while visually stunning, are dangerous. Smaller tiles with more grout lines and a honed finish is preferable over polished. Be sure to read the information about the tile and test a sample before committing to it.

Flooring DesignI wanted to be more adventurous in the laundry room. I love, love, love the trending encaustic or cement tiles. These have been used widely throughout Europe since the mid-1800’s and have recently gained popularity. But they are pricey!

I found an inexpensive (dare I say cheap?) ceramic version at Home Depot. They have a pretty good selection of these tiles in many patterns and colors.

When working with a bold patterned tile like this one, it’s important that all the wall tile and countertops be a complementary solid color. You don’t want anything competing with this bold statement!

Carpet Flooring Design

Flooring DesignThe only room in our home that’s going to have carpet is the media room. Carpeting or a large rug is a must in a theater room because it not only helps with the acoustics in the room, it also cuts down on the noise coming out of it.

I’m not a big fan of carpet because it’s hard to keep clean, especially if you have kids or pets. But I’ve always found that color and pattern hide a multitude of sins! This carpet was the first design decision for our media room. I knew we would have solid colored seating and wanted to add some visual excitement to the room. Even though the colors are not the primary colors in my decor, I am incorporating a lot of black accents throughout the house. The cream and taupe echo the travertine tile I’m using in the bathrooms. Plus it reminds me of the carpet used in those old glorious theaters!

Flooring design… nailed it!




Antoinette de Janasz Baxter