How Do I Choose the Right Flooring for My Room?

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Answered by: Nikki, An Expert in the Interior Decorating - General Category
Most individuals understand that it is not the best option to put carpet in a kitchen or bathroom due to the amount of water spills and soiling that occurs, but choosing the right flooring for your space goes somewhat deeper than that basic concept.

Many homeowners only use two steps in the decision process, 1) Does it need to be a hard surface or carpet and 2) Do I like the design? There are in fact several more steps to the process, each of which can be as in depth as one wishes to delve. Following is a high level overview of the steps involved in flooring selection.

1)     Function - How the space will function (activities that will occur in the space) is the first aspect that you must consider. A few examples of functions are food preparation (kitchen), bathing and grooming (bathroom), sleeping and rejuvenation (bedroom), and communing (family room). Once the function has been determined, you can move on to the type of flooring.

2)     Type - After the functions have been identified, the type of flooring can be determined. The type refers to hard or soft surface, which is broken further into what type of hard or soft surface. Hard surfaces exist as ceramic or stone tiles, hardwoods, laminates, vinyl, linoleum, cork flooring and concrete. Soft surface flooring refers to carpet. The type of hard surface flooring or carpet is not chosen at this stage. It is not until Step 4 that this can be determined.

3)     Maintenance - It is at this step where your sales professional is indispensible. Once you determine how much (or how little) time you are willing to devote to the maintenance of the flooring (in combination with identified functions), the sales professional can help direct you to the most suitable options (types of flooring available). For example, more maintenance will occur with a hardwood floor than with a laminate or linoleum floor. This step can be completed in conjunction with the next step.

4)     Cost - The price of the product in combination with the cost of installation can help in deciding between what type of hard surface or carpet, as well as the grade (quality) of the selected type. It is important to have your room measurements when speaking with the sales representative so that they can give you a more accurate estimate. If you are not already working with a professional, they may require that someone from their showroom come to your residence to verify the measurements before ordering the product. Once all of this has been determined – function, type, maintenance level, and cost – the exciting step can transpire.

5)     Design/Style - Although many may believe that this is the most important step, it is actually just the last step in a proven process, no more or less important than any of the other steps. At this point, the specific type of flooring has been determined (e.g. ceramic tile, hardwood, loop pile carpet, etc.), so now you must decide which style you like the most. The design style and color scheme (that should have already been chosen before this process began) for the space will help in narrowing that selection. It is a good idea to choose at least three to four selections that you like and work from there. Once the selections have been narrowed, it is just a matter of choosing what you like.

Since purchasing new flooring for a space can be a time consuming and expensive process, it is important to make informed decisions. Following this process allows you to choose the right flooring using the same process utilized by professional designers (in a simplified form).

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