Flooring is generally the first element to be decided on whether designing a room from scratch or re-decorating. They play a tremendous part in creating the style and mood of a room. Floors are one of the most expensive items that make up a rooms design, and because they are part of the architecture of the home, are the most difficult to change.
Beautiful wood covers all the public spaces

As important as flooring is, its role is to enhance the overall decorating scheme of the room without overpowering it. Floors can be a highlight. Flooring designs and materials exist in numerous varieties. They can provide most of the pattern and color for a room’s decorating scheme while the room’s remaining fabrics and colors that are incorporated are more subtle. Or, the flooring can take the subtle role and serve as background for furnishings, art, other design elements.

Be consistent with your flooring choices. Public spaces: foyers, living rooms, dining rooms, and dens look best with the same flooring material. Consistency opens a home, and enhances flow from room to room. This doesn’t mean that the flooring has to be identical. Variations of the same flooring material actually add interest and define different room functions.

Questions to consider in floor selection:
What is the room’s function?
Who uses the room?
Will the floor have light, average, or heavy traffic?
Is the room accessed directly from outside?
What rooms connect with this room?
How much and what kind of light does the room get? (natural outdoor light or artificial light from lighting fixtures)
Is there a concern about fading?
Is sound control a factor?
Are there budget restraints?

Types of flooring:

Wall to wall carpeting can be solid or patterned
Carpet (Wall to wall): Carpeting covering an entire room can enhance the size of the room, contribute to sound control, create a soft, cozy feeling. There are tremendous varieties of thickness, texture, color, content, and pattern. Carpeting is relatively easy to maintain, but are known to hold dust, allergens, and pet hair. Wall to wall carpeting adds warmth to rooms in cooler climates. In media rooms, it provides sound control. In bedrooms, carpeting provides a cozy atmosphere. Gaining in popularity over recent years, an alternative to wall carpeting is Sisal, a woven rug of natural fibers with wonderful borders, designs, and patterns. Sisal is also effective as an area rug. Be sure to have your sisal rug sealed; maintenance can be a big issue.

Wood: There are numerous options in wood flooring. In addition to plank widths, textures, types of wood, floors can be stained, bleached, painted, and stenciled. Finishes can be satin, low, medium, or high gloss. Borders around the perimeter of a room can be used to create divisions between rooms. Inlay designs in small areas like foyers, powder rooms, and landings add elegance. Wood can be laid end-to-end plank style, in parquet, chevron or herringbone patterns. Planks come in various lengths. My personal preference is flooring laid with 6ft planks. Shorter planks look overly engineered. I also prefer site sanding and staining rather than factory staining or ‘engineered’ wood. Although site finishing is a more expensive process, it looks great, and it’s worth it. If you’re working with an existing floor, speak with a professional to see if it can be salvaged and withstand sanding and your desired refinishing. Wood works in virtually any room that does not have water or moisture issues (basements for example). Because there is so much open concept construction, wood for kitchen floors is gaining in popularity if it is being used in other public spaces.

Bamboo and cork flooring have become a wonderful alternative to wood. Both are eco-friendly (self renewing). They are softer underfoot and easy to maintain.

Tile: There is ceramic tile, porcelain, terrazzo, mosaics. Tiled floors withstand water which is why we see them in bathrooms, mudrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens. A good rule of thumb is that the smaller the space, the smaller the tile, and the more subdued the design. Tile shapes, sizes, colors, designs, and patterns are almost unlimited.

Be creative with designs
Stone: Stone floors include slate, brick, marble, travertine and limestone, blue stone and slate. The choice of finishes can be shiny (polished) or honed (matte). Honed surfaces are less slippery. Be creative in the dimensions of the tile. Have your installer cut builder grade tiles for a more custom look. Instead of laying tiles end to end, try laying them on the diagonal. It’s more graceful. Take into account the thickness of stone and tiles; they will raise the level of the floor. Have your installer seal the floors to withstand staining. A popular design pattern incorporates alternating black and white marble squares – perfect for adding drama to an entry. A floor of solid polished travertine, marble, or limestone creates an elegant and neutral canvas for numerous decorating schemes. Stone is well suited to warm climates. Brick, blue stone, and slate are usually reserved for outdoors, but they do have limited interior applications.

Area rugs are easily cleaned
Area Rugs: The variety of area rugs is seemingly endless, from the small bathroom throw, to area rugs, and to rugs that almost cover an entire room. Benefits of area rugs are that they can be moved from home to home, and dust, allergens, and pet hair are kept to a minimum and can be easily cleaned. For anchoring a conversation or seating area, at least the front two feet of every piece of furniture should rest on the rug. More than one rug can be used in very large rooms. Area rugs look great on wood or stone flooring. For large room rugs, there should be a 12-24 inch border from the walls of the room to the beginning of the rug. High pile rugs can be tripped over, so it’s advisable to find a flat rug. Thick rugs can be inserted into a floor.

Some area rugs can be extremely costly, and therefore, are selected to be the anchor of a room’s design. As a highlight of a room, they contribute a great deal to the effect of a total design plan. The remaining elements of the room, furniture, window d├ęcor, accents, are chosen to coordinate the colors and style of the rug. The floor beneath the area rug also must be considered a design element, consistent with the rest of the room.
This silk rug is from Shanghai

Robin Lechner Designs can collaberate with you on any design need.
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Email Robin@robinlechnerdesigns.com

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