Planning Your Flooring Purchase
How important is selecting the right floor covering?
Don’t leave selecting your new floor until the last minute. Designers will advise you to start your décor selection with the floor, at least in terms of making a fashion choice.
First, your flooring will be one of the most significant investments you make in your home‘s interior design. So, designers say, it should be factored in to your overall design scheme right from the start. Top designers actually start here, knowing the floor can be either a backdrop or foundation for design, or it can be a truly custom focal point.
Second, a well-selected floor featuring top-quality materials and installed professionally actually can save you money in the long run. Why? Because you can redesign your room many times, from simple seasonal changes with accessories like pillows and area rugs to complete makeovers without having to re-do your floor. This goes for any floor.
What do I need to keep in mind when selecting a new floor?
The same things you would if you were selecting a new wardrobe. In fact, manufacturers actually get inspiration from the world’s fashion runways. Because you are “dressing your home,” initially you’ll think color, texture and style.
Color sets the mood of the environment you want to create, as it reflects your personal design styling goals: cool, warm or neutral.
Texture comes next. We define texture in two ways: actual or visual. An example of actual texture might be a hand-sculpted hardwood, while visual texture might be a printed pattern carpet.
Style is the look you want to adopt or achieve. Each décor piece in a room contributes to style. Is your style contemporary, Colonial, Old World? Every flooring type projects its own style, from the relaxed look of wide-plank wood to the formal look of a color-rich carpet to inviting nature into your home with stone, ceramic or laminate. Each contributes distinctly to your overall style or theme.
What do I need to know about color and my floor?
Every floor has color. Carpet and rugs are the most obvious because they are essentially textiles and offer the most options in colors and color combinations. Every flooring type has color, even natural wood and wood fashions like laminate. (Though we think of a wood floor as shades of brown, wood floors these days actually present many color opportunities. Browns can range from toffee to espresso, from butter creams to light lemon.) With the arrival of exotic wood species, natural stone plus ceramic and porcelain tile from around the world, you’ll find a very wide range of shades, tones or hues to work with. Set the mood with cool-feeling colors like yellows and blues, warm shades in oranges and reds and neutral tones of umber.
What do I need to know about texture and my floor?
Texture increases interest in a design. It creates character. In flooring it is expressed in two ways: visual texture and actual texture. It is expressed in every flooring type. Visual texture is the pattern you see, from the scrollwork of a carpet or colors and graphics in area rugs, to the grain of a hardwood. Actual texture is expressed in the nubby or sculpted surface of a carpet or the hand-scraped finish or beveled edge of a wood or laminate floor. Installation plays a role, too, combining both visual and actual textures, as in a simple carpet installation featuring a contrasting or coordinated border (even a wood border), or a relatively simple but dramatic herringbone wood installation design.
What do I need to know about style and my floor?
This is where shopping for flooring gets to be truly fun and quite interesting! Style is all about who you are and how you live. Designers say step one in the process is to look at your lifestyle and the traffic in your home. Are you casual, family oriented with pets? Are you contemporary and “uptown?” Are you formal, Colonial, New Age or Old World? Are you conservative or expressive?
Answers to questions like these will help determine your personal living style and then the flooring products and fashions that fit best. You’ll know that maybe a white wool rug or carpet may not be the best for an active soccer family or that rustic wood may not be the best for your new custom-built modernistic home. Or you’ll know that a stain and odor-fighting carpet in colors for today and tomorrow will be perfect for the family room and that laminate makes the best fashion and practical sense for the kitchen, nursery or space for those who are elderly or who have disabilities or allergies.
Bottom line? Don’t go it alone. Ask our flooring professionals about practical as well as design sensibilities to help solve your lifestyle and style questions before you purchase your floor.