Monday, July 5, 2010

Color Banter: Choosing flooring for how you really live

There are so many decisions to be made when remodeling or building or house, and the choices can seem overwhelming. You not only have to consider materials, you have to consider the texture, quality, and color. When choosing color you need to look not only at the aesthetics, but also the practicality: how will it work with how you really live?

Wood Floors are the most popular choice for new homes and are sought after by house hunters. Although it might seem counter intuitive at first, dark wood floors will reflect light, so they will not darken a small space. The major drawback to dark wood floors is that although they look stunning and sophisticated when they are clean, every spec of dirt or pet hair will show, so you must be willing and able to clean them often. With dark floors, dark wood furniture goes best, and a light area rug can help to ground the furniture and keep the dark brown from becoming overwhelming. Also, birch or maple colored furniture with any orange tones may clash with the floors, so they are not as neutral as classic oak. 

Lighter wood floors, such as a yellow bamboo, look clean and contemporary, but are a very specific taste.

 Yes, these Midnight Black Bamboo Floors from Teragren are beautiful, but be prepared to spend a lot of time cleaning them, especially if you have pets.

 Lighter bamboo floors are a bold style choice, but will make any area look fresh and modern. Teragren Long Plank Bamboo Flooring in Vertical Grain Natural.

Slate tile with a few colors almost never looks dirty, but it is not exactly neutral. If you plan to go with slate, consider how your furniture and other schemes will work with it. Pay attention to whether it has a gray or brown undertone.

White tile porcelain or ceramic floors do show dirt and spots, but at least they can be easily cleaned with a low concentration of cleaner or vinegar and water, and shine up very nicely. However, I would not wish white or light colored vinyl floors with a smooth finish on my worst enemy. These are impossible to clean, and, who are we kidding, they will never look like real tile. If budget dictates that you must go with vinyl, choose darker colors, or if you want a light color, make sure it is textured. Great Floors flooring shown below.

Just say no to smooth white vinyl-unless you want to spend a lot of time on your hands and knees scrubbing.

If budget dictates that you must have vinyl (and as a professional designer, I am duty bound to recommend against this) go with a textured finish with many colors.

The color of your floors can be as important as the actual material, or even more so considering how the color can dictate the amount of time you spend cleaning and maintaining. Something may look fantastic in a magazine, but making the right choice for how you really live will be the best decision in the long run.

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