Room-by-room Guide to Choosing New Flooring for Your Home

How to choose new floors for your kitchen, living room, bathroom, dining room and basement

Credit: Flickr/artnoose

Consider traffic levels in each room before choosing flooring

New floors can instantly update and refresh the look of a room. Read on for a room-by-room guide to choosing new flooring

To choose the right flooring material for each space, first consider who uses it (children, pets, guests) and how they use it – especially the level of traffic. This will help determine the qualities you need to look for; water resistance or acoustics, for example, may be priorities.

Kitchen: Tile is the gold standard for high-traffic, moisture-prone areas like kitchens, being extremely durable, moisture-proof and long-lasting. It doesn’t need to be replaced often, and it’s scratch, stain, fire and water-resistant and allergen free. Textured ceramic tiles offer great traction, too; and there are a vast variety of colours, textures and finishes to suit every budget. Glass tile is stylish, but pricier. Linoleum – an affordable, patterned material available in sheets or tiles and laid down with adhesive – is also an option, though moisture can be an issue if it cracks or comes unstuck.

Bathroom: Ceramic, stone and other types of tile are perfect for bathrooms as well. Some varieties of linoleum work for bathrooms, but you’ll want to make sure they’re highly moisture- and mould-resistant. Marble tile and marble slab are becoming more popular for bathroom floors (they’re as tough and lovely on the floor as on your kitchen counters) although they can take the price of a new bathroom floor through the roof.

Dining Room: Dining areas generally have fewer issues with moisture, so almost any flooring material would work – though something firmer and less likely to suffer scuffs or dents from chairs and furniture is a good idea. A popular and very sensible choice is hardwood. Hardwood comes in narrow planks, wide planks or parquet tiles – and in a variety of grains and stains that fit any style. Hardwood adds value to a home; as such it can be pricy. Laminate – which replicates the look of wood with a combination of wood and synthetic materials – offers a budget-friendly alternative, though quality, durability and lifespan are lower.

Living Room and Bedrooms: Hardwood is every bit as beautiful in a living room or bedroom as a dining room, though some prefer the softness of carpet for adding warmth and texture, and dulling echoes. Carpet is extremely comfortable, and comes in a huge assortment of patterns and piles. It’s susceptible to stains, though, and can hold onto dust and other allergens – so it’s ideal for low-moisture areas. There are also anti-allergen and eco-friendly, recycled varieties available.

Basement: Carpet is a common sight in basements, but there are other options: cork, for example. Known for its durability and natural appearance, eco-friendly cork adds a bit of softness over a concrete under-floor, yet still looks sleek (especially the polished varieties). It comes from a renewable and sustainable resource; is impervious to pests and rotting; resists scuffs and stains; and reduces noise. Downsides? It’s susceptible to moisture damage and gouging – choose carpet, or polished/painted concrete if your basement is vulnerable to these.