Thursday, 22 February 2018

Flooring Options for a Family Home

Title Text on a Wood Floor Background
I have a dilemma. We really need to update our home interior, which includes replacing our downstairs carpet, but we can't decide what with, and it's getting more and more threadbare by the day. I would love to try wood flooring, as I am fed up with trying to keep the thoroughfare between the kitchen and the dining table clean, but the husband isn't keen. I wondered if other people have this issue too, so thought I would set out the pros and cons of different flooring types, to try to help me decide, and maybe help out anyone else who's undecided too. So here it is, my guide to modern flooring for a family home and what I like about them all!

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Wood Flooring

The obvious advantage of wood flooring is outlined above. It's very easy to keep clean and I think it always looks smart. You don't have to worry about wayward drinks, or other spills and I would love that aspect of it. We currently have a dark red carpet, which looked lovely when it was new, but it shows up every last crumb and you simply cannot vacuum often enough! I have always felt that homes with wooden flooring look neater and The only real downside is that it can seem a little cold underfoot, especially if you are used to carpet. I think this is easily remedied with hallway runners and rugs, which will retain the cosy feel, but are much cheaper and easier to replace than carpet, if they fall foul of a terminal spillage. Many pet owners love it for helping to keep fluff and fur under control, not to mention any unfortunate 'accidents', but it's worth remembering that if you have a dog and then change from carpet to wood floor, the dog might find it hard to get used to. The shiny surface can see them ice skating for a little while, but they can adapt, given time.


For generations, this was the first choice for millions of homes. The practicality of wood flooring has taken over a bit, but people still choose carpet for its warmth and 'homely' feel. When I've been on holiday, or stayed in hospital, carpet has been the thing I missed most, so I don't think I could let it go completely. I think what I really want is a separate dining area, so that the lounge can be less of a canteen and I could have carpet in there, without worrying about the endless food and drink spills. As it is, having a lounge/diner means I have a choice to make. At the moment, we have carpet, and I do think I would miss it, but because we eat in the lounge, carpet will always have a more limited lifespan, because it's not really designed for constant cleaning. When you consider what an upheaval it is having new flooring, it would be really good to get something that is going to last a bit longer. If your carpet is in a high footfall, or high spillage area, the upkeep will definitely be more expensive than hard floors, but, if you really love your home comforts, a big rug might not be enough.

A King Charles Spaniel asleep on a beige carpet.


Up until recently, vinyl was limited to kitchens and bathrooms, but recent advancements mean that now you can have vinyl flooring that looks like tiles, or wood, or even marble, and it's surprisingly realistic. The big advantage being that it's a lot cheaper than the flooring it's imitating and very easy to fit. You can get vinyl tiles too, which are even more versatile. It's a lot warmer underfoot than tiles and not everything breaks as soon as you drop it, either! I think this is a great option if you are just starting out, or have young children and are decorating a home on a budget. Personally, I think it would bother me that I would know it was the poor man's tiles, even if no one else did and it would still feel like vinyl in bare feet! It's come such a long way though, since the days when everyone had the black and white pattern you see on the Flash advert, that it probably won't be long before they've solved those issues too. 


If you find the look of wood flooring a bit 'samey', one block colour throughout, you can liven things up with tiled flooring. This gives a lot more option for colour and patterns, so you get a bit more versatility, while still retaining an easy care surface. I have seen some beautiful examples of tiled floors and think it's especially appropriate for a hallway, where carpet tends to wear out quicker, due to the constant footfall. The disadvantages are it is really expensive, this is largely because it's very hard-wearing and will last forever, and it's also really, really cold underfoot. Much more so than wooden flooring. I'm not sure if this would have a bearing on heating bills but I think rooms with tiles feel colder in general, just because of the hardness of the material. You could use runners and rugs to offset this a bit, but you would need to consider the impact on the heating bill, if you were considering this option.

An arrangement of coloured floor tiles


This is a cheaper version of wood flooring, which looks pretty similar but the give away is, it's usually much shinier and is sure to send an unsuspecting pooch into a spin! Brilliant for children's rooms, or anywhere where you know it's going to get a lot of abuse and will probably have to be replaced in a few years. Personally, I don't like the look of it for living areas, I think, where you could argue that wooden flooring looks a bit like floorboards and so it has a certain rustic charm, laminate looks like laminate and the shininess would put me off! If you're going to get a big rug anyway, though, you could save a lot of money by going down the laminate route. We got it for the children's rooms, on the basis that by the time you had a bed, wardrobe and rug in the middle, there was hardly any floor on view anyway!


This is a bit more of an unusual suggestion, but we had it in our bathroom a long time ago and, whilst retaining all the useful properties of vinyl, it felt really warm underfoot! These days, they are available in a range of colours, and could provide a unique aspect to your home. They are eco-friendly, renewable and sustainable, and the harvesting has minimal impact on the environment, so they are the perfect choice for the sustainable home. There is still a pretty limited choice of colours,  though, which might put some people off.

And the decision is... 

I still haven't made one! It's such a big decision, and there's so much to consider. The idea of moving all the furniture and everything else that goes with changing your flooring, makes me think I need to be pretty sure this is the last time I'm going to do it or a while. At the moment it's just too hard, I might just have to hang on to my terrible carpet for a bit longer!



  1. As much as i love the look of a real wood floor or tiles there is something homely and comforting about carpet!

  2. We live in a rented flat.The place has wooden floors in every room accept the bedrooms. It's definitely more easier to keep cleaner than the carpets are.

  3. We have laminated flooring in our dining room, but carpet in our living room. The laminated flooring is so easy to keep clean, but the carpet is really homely. We have friends who have underfloor heating and think slabs in their hallway, which looks amazing. They live in a beautiful barn conversion though, so not sure this would like quite right out of that setting.

  4. In the old part of our wooden Swedish home we have stained white wooden floorboards which we adore (a rug by the bed to hop out onto though in the cold mornings!). The newer part of the house where the children's bedrooms are has carpets with underfloor heating and works a treat as their play noise is then muffled!!!

  5. I like tiles in the kitchen, bathroom and ground floor but carpets everywhere else.

  6. I am in the same place as you at the minute. I would love tiles or wooden flooring in the room and hallway but so much to consider. We have a dog and she love to play ball in the hallway, I can see her hurting herself when she runs if we get tiles but I could imagine sh would ruin the wooden floor as she love to chew wood and if she can find a way to get to it,she will. We are keeping our carpet a little longer too.

  7. We had laminate flooring in our house in Wales and it was great with the dogs. Tiles are the flooring of choice here in Portugal but I'm dreading if there are tiles in whatever house we buy as I just know they're going to be cold in winter!

  8. We have lino that looks like wood downstairs and its perfect for us. Carpet upstairs as hard floor is too noisy (and cold)

  9. Personally I love wood flooring I just think it looks so stylish but it does cost a lot more generally!

  10. There is such a wide range of options isn't there? We absolutely LOVE wood flooring and our entire house has wood flooring. I must admit though, I wish we had carpet in the bedrooms. We've filled the bedrooms with rugs though to try and counteract the coldness of the floor and how loud it is walking around at night.


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