Flooring Ideas and Considerations
The floor is one of the largest planes of a room and the foundation of the whole scheme. It
can be tempting to make decisions about flooring before anything else, but I always advise
against it. You want to know the colours and textures of your furniture, walls and soft
furnishings first, and then tie it all together with a floor treatment that fits.
Choose something that has lasting appeal. The latest trend will date quickly and replacing any kind of flooring is costly and disruptive. Your floor should be functional and practical. Its job is to support the space, not dominate it.
I love to create an extra layer of textural contrast and interest with juxtaposed floor
treatments, but I never make them the star of the show.
Here are some flooring ideas and things to consider:
Stone, wood, concrete, brick and even glass offer a plethora of colour, pattern and texture
choices. Your options will depend on the mood and look that you want to create and the
maintenance requirements. You wouldn’t choose a cream deep pile carpet for a high-traffic
area, for example. Also, think about how you want your flooring to feel under bare feet.
Brick looks wonderfully rich, warm and rustic but feels rough. A silk carpet, on the other
hand, will indulgently caress your feet with every step.
A stone floor is both durable and luxurious. It’s the perfect partner for a minimalist interior.
Stone is cold underfoot but with underfloor heating installed it offers a sumptuous warmth that radiates trapped heat. Be mindful that stone is absorbent and can stain easily. It must
be sealed well, especially in rooms where spillages are likely.
A natural wood floor is practical, warm, versatile and provides a more laid-back alternative
to stone. It’s different to many other treatment options in that renovation is easy. You can
change its look more than once by:
• Sanding and oiling or varnishing it to enhance its natural beauty
• Staining it to change its tone and character
• Painting it to compliment your scheme
Soft flooring can completely transform the look of a room and it’s often less expensive than
hard flooring. There are so many piles, textures, weaves and materials to have fun with.
Natural fibre matting, such as coir and seagrass provide a beautifully textured backdrop to
almost any room or style. Jute and sisal can achieve a similar feel to wood with a smaller
Carpet went out of fashion for a while, but it is enjoying a renaissance. Bedrooms, in
particular, benefit from its sensuality and cosiness. A luxurious silk or velvet carpet, for
example, exudes glamour and feels scrumptious underfoot. If you want to ground a space
with comfort and deaden noise, opt for a deep woollen shag pile. For a more architectural
look that’s Art Deco in style, go for something smooth.
Although expensive to install, leather ages beautifully and is wonderfully tactile. It scratches and marks easily but that’s also part of its charm. There’s nothing more unique than the natural patina of leather as it matures and wears.
Mixing It Up
If you want to build character and interest, introduce both hard and soft elements into your
flooring scheme. With such a large plane to play with, there is room to create drama with
juxtaposing colours and textures. A word of caution though, put practicality ahead of
making grand statements. The wrong statement can destroy your scheme
Borders, runners and panels
You can add accents of pattern or colour and striking textural contrast to a scheme with
borders, runners and panels. They also help with zoning a room and place emphasis on the
grid. Runners draw your eye to follow a path while panels, like a rug, can create a focal
There’s no end to the possible mix of materials, textures and colours that you can combine
to create panels and runners. Here are a few combinations that I have used with clients over the years:
To create a focal space:
• A cream-ribbed silk and linen carpet bordered with red embossed leather floating on
stone tiles or masculine black wooden boards.
• A pebble resin panel inlayed within dense polished basalt tiles.
• White-lacquered timber set in a natural wooden floor.
To pave the way:
• A runner of black reclaimed boards set within polished limestone or old stone tiles.
• A bathroom with white marble tiles and a Villi-glass inlay that draws you to a deep
and luxurious bath.
The Perfect Finish
One critical thing to factor in when installing a new floor, especially when mixing materials,
is the skills and experience of your installation team. Always ask to see a portfolio of similar
work before entering into a contract. The cuts and finish must be perfect, or your eye will be drawn to the poor craftsmanship rather than the beauty of your intended flooring scheme.