Wondering How to Choose Flooring? We Have Tips!

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Wondering How to Choose Flooring? We Have Tips!

One of the big ticket items in any remodel, especially if you are working with an open plan house, is flooring.

Flooring can use up a large chunk of your budget, so you don’t want to make a mistake. Design-wise, it affects finishes in many rooms.

I’m offering up 5 tips here, to keep in mind if you are thinking of investing in new flooring for your open plan house.

Note: This post is specifically for a typical suburban home where the intent of the open plan is so the home will look more spacious and one space flows freely into the next.

1) WOOD FLOORING IS KING.

In all my years of working on home interiors, the one material that has held up as consistently retaining it’s value and style, has been wood flooring. Even if you go with a look that is trendy, the material itself will remain something of value since it can be refinished and take a color change if there is any kind of wear layer to the floor.

This is one of those items where you see real estate advertised with “hardwood flooring throughout” on the sale of the home. It is more appealing to future buyers than any other type of flooring.

2) TRY TO USE AS MUCH OF ONE MATERIAL AS POSSIBLE IN OPEN AREAS.

I’ve worked in houses, my own included, where there was a tiled entry, wood flooring in the study and dining room, tile in the kitchen, and carpet in the family room. It was a patchwork of flooring!

I’ve even worked on homes where there was a “path” of a hard surface material and then carpet or even wood in the same room.

Make your flooring as continuous as possible.

And please, run it all the same direction. I get so many questions about what direction to run wood flooring. People are constantly asking me about changing direction to go down hallways or as you move into different rooms.

While there can be special circumstances and conditions, usually having your flooring run all the same way looks the most continuous and helps cement the concept of the open plan.

3) MINIMIZE THE VISUAL TRANSITION OF FLOORING MATERIAL

There may be instances where you need the durability of a porcelain tile floor or other type of material. In that case, there a few recommendations for transitioning that you can note here.

Where there are cased openings or if it really feels like you are leaving one space and moving to another room, it is okay to switch materials. If the openings are big, like 8' + across, it is likely the space will still read as one big open room. It's usually best not to transition if you want to keep your spaces flowing together like an open plan house.

One of the big questions here typically comes with a kitchen / family room.

People love wood flooring in all the living spaces, but are nervous about wood flooring in the kitchen, so they want to opt for another, more durable, material.

If you are changing floors, try to make the transition as visibly unnoticeable as possible. Create low contrast between materials, so that the flooring visually flows from one area to the next.

4) WOOD FLOOR VS. WOOD “LOOK” PRODUCT

Are you tempted to go with wood look tile throughout to solve your durability issues and still have the look of wood?

This is certainly an option. I’ve used this on a few projects before, projects where homeowners had young children and pets that really dictated the need for a super durable flooring.

However, I think wood look tile might be a bit of a trend that is moving past its prime here in 2020 and beyond.

I think it’s still a great option for commercial properties, it adds warmth and durability to building lobbies and public restrooms. It gives a totally new look to restaurant and retail floors.

For homes, unless you have a real need for an indestructible floor, I’m not seeing the demand trending here as much any more.

Why? Because putting tile of any kind down is so incredibly permanent. Once tile is down it is a real pain and a major cost to take up.

That’s why everyone is trying to live with all their travertine floors now these days. Travertine was popular back 15-20 years ago, in lieu of wood flooring, especially in warm climates where a cool touch material is more appreciated.

5) WHERE TO USE TILE FLOORING IN AN OPEN PLAN HOUSE

I still love some natural stone flooring like black slate, marble, limestone, etc. I also feel like in warmer climates that tile floors, including porcelain, have value and are appreciated for the cool touch and durability of the material.

So, how much tile is too much in an open plan house?

Where do you stop and start it? If you want a tiled look or a natural stone tile floor look over the majority of your open plan home, how far do you go with it?

Typically, when I’ve used tile over a big area in a home, we’ve restricted it to the kitchen, breakfast room, family room (if open to kitchen) and areas like laundry rooms, pantries, or back hallways.

Of course, bathrooms really are entities unto themselves. The tile there is rarely the same used elsewhere, it usually is designed to work with it’s adjacent bedroom or as a special enclosed area like a powder room.

I usually go back to wood in formal areas like dining rooms, home offices and definitely bedrooms.

People are really getting away from carpet because of dust, allergies, pets, etc. Especially in a downstairs open space, the only time I see carpet these days is when people are ready to take it up!