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While ceilings and walls get a lot of credit, the floor is frequently the forgotten part of the room. Can you think of a famous floor? In the way that a wall might wail or a ceiling is worth travelling to see from the other side of the globe? Admired they might be, but famed they are not.
However, floors are worthy of thought because they play several fundamental roles in the room.
Floors can look good. A marble entrance has serious wow factor. A slate floored boot room looks hardy, trustworthy even. A glorious rug can be the centrepiece for an entire room. Sisal looks rustic, silk carpets shine, flat weave has pattern, wood planks look sleek.
The colour of the flooring is also vital. You might be focusing on a cohesive look – something suitable for every room on the floor or you might want something distinctive for that space. If you’re going to be brave I’d suggest a rug first before you put tartan throughout the house. Colours on the floor can also help zone different parts of the room – a rug can define the sitting area for example.
What look are you trying to achieve? Don’t leave floor thoughts until the last minute because sometimes it’s worth thinking ‘floor’ first. Could it be the starting point for the next room?
One of my favourite carpets is Solitaire from Natural Elements Flooring. The colours are very contemporary and the look is very glamorous and luxurious. I love it.
Frequently forgotten, texture can have great impact in a room. Think beyond cushions and throws and look to the floor. Coir and other natural materials have a textured feel of their own, bamboo makes an amazingly soft and lustred carpet and choosing between looped and cut pile can make a difference to the feel of the room. If you’re sticking with neutral colours then an abundance of texture is a must.
Do you own a dog? Do you have a no-shoe policy? Do your kids pay any attention to it? Do you enjoy gardening or outdoor sports? You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?… Do you trail bucket loads of dirt and mud through your home? And is it you who cleans up afterwards?
Scrubbing carpets and panicking about carpets, is not fun.
On the other hand, carpets keep your feet warm. They help with acoustics (did you read that blog?) They come in every colour and texture imagineable and they add to the warmth, depth and richness of a room. Wood, tiles and concrete may look sleek but when you get out of bed in the middle of the night, I bet your feet wish you’d opted for carpet.
It’s brave to opt for a patterned floor. Bold carpet patterns work well in a commercial space but can be overwhelming at home. The patterns created by tiles also need to be thought through. Are you looking for a contemporary look with giant tiles laid in straight symmetry? Or do you fancy something rustic – where the tiles appear to be random (though are obviously carefully placed to do so!). Parquet is a classic pattern that can add a sense of authenticity to a room – even if the building is brand new, parquet can make a space seem established.
If your floor thinking feels a bit flawed and you’re after some advice please do email me. I’m happy to send advice if you post an image on my Facebook page too.
Photography by Clare West