When you’re shopping for hardwood floors, the salesman will probably ask you what species of wood you want. Do you like oak? Cherry? Maple? Perhaps something more exotic like Brazilian teak or zebra wood or tiger wood (all the really fun woods are named after animals)? Ultimately, you’re supposed to pick one. But if you’re having trouble deciding, maybe there are ways to integrate more than one species into your flooring outlook.
While you probably wouldn’t want to alternate boards, you could do something like the hardwood floor shown here. Different inlays highlight different species of wood. This is actually a flooring company’s showroom floor, but it demonstrates a bit of what you can do to create interesting contrast.
We’ve peeked at some of the carpet tiles from the Flor folks before (such as their outdoor carpet tiles used to create a patio rug), and they’ve got a growing variety of colors and designs. These floral lace tiles are available in black and white.
The fun thing about carpet tiles is you can mix and match them to create your own patterns. Get enough to do a whole room or just make a little throw rug.
“Use flor tiles to create your own modern carpeting, area rugs, runners – whatever floor covering you need. Featuring an adhesive backing, they’re easy to cut, install and remove. Plus, they are easier to maintain than traditional carpeting. Each tile stays smooth under traffic and vacuuming, and is easily spot cleaned. Best of all, each tile is removable for rinsing or, if necessary, replacing.”
The lace carpet tiles are $12 each from Chiasso
Pebbles can be used in interesting ways throughout the house, and we’ve looked at a few examples, such as standing pebble shower walls, decorative pebble rugs, and (for those who don’t mind faux pebbles) glass tiles that look like they’re made using pebbles.
Pebbles can also be integrated into indoor and outdoor flooring options. You can lay a whole room with pebbles, embedding them in thinset and applying grout to create the seams, or you could try something like the pebble tile borders shown here.
When interspersed with floor tiles, or laid as borders around room edges, pebbles definitely give a floor a custom look. And it’s a project a do-it-yourself type can handle in many cases.
The pebble tile borders shown here are made from materials from Big Sky Decorative Flooring, and you can get installation instructions on their site.
If the only memories you have of vinyl flooring are of the ugly patterned stuff you had on your kitchen floor as a kid, then you may not realize how far this practical material has come. Not only is it great in high traffic areas, but today it can look great too.
If you want the look of stone, hardwood, tile, or other expensive flooring materials, you can find it (and more exotic designs) in vinyl, which averages much less money per square foot, and it’s generally easier to install too.
This warm floor from Centiva is an example of vinyl that looks like it could be made from wood. It’s part of their Victory Series, “Magics” collection.
“With virtually endless color and texture combinations, any space can be transformed into a captivating and welcoming environment. Designs inspired by nature and adapted for your special vision create a harmonious and soothing retreat.”
Concrete flooring in the home isn’t all that new, and we’ve talked about it before (for example, there were the acid stained concrete floors, colorful concrete floor tiles, and those decorative concrete tiles from Ann Sacks), but here’s something new. You might not have seen artistic concrete floors featuring floral designs before; they totally take the masculine/industrial feel out of a traditionally cold material.
When you peruse the gallery of “Concrete Art” over at Transparent House, you’ll definitely rethink your perceptions of concrete flooring.
Not only does the material offer a lot of options when it comes to laying floors and working with it, but it’s easy to maintain, friendly to allergy-sufferers (no place for those dust mites and that pet dander to hide), and eco-friendly compared to flooring types that frequently use unhealthful materials in the construction.
So, if you are looking for a cool new floor, and you bypassed concrete before, maybe it’s time to rethink this artistic option.
We’ve talked about cork flooring as an eco-friendly and often practical option in several articles and blog posts (i.e. snap-together cork floor tiles, cork flooring in the kitchen, and pros and cons of cork flooring), and as you can see from the pictures, it’s usually pretty similar in appearance. The floors look like, well, cork.
But you can also get different colors, stains, and tile shapes to create interesting patterns. Checkerboards aren’t too uncommon, and companies will often work with you to create custom patterns to your tastes. An example is this floor with its multi-hued six-sided tiles.
Installed in a homeowner’s kitchen, these cork floors were done by Tampa’s Through the Woods flooring company.
When it comes to hardwood floors, the hand-scraped look is in. Finer wood-flooring makers are offering planks that are scraped by hand to create a warm vintage look. And you’ll pay for that kind of character, too, at least when it comes to hardwoods.
However, you can now get laminate flooring with the unique texture of hand-scraped wood. Obviously, no one is actually down there scraping those laminate boards with their hands, but if you want the look without the high price tag, it could be something to consider.
Numerous laminate manufacturers are offering lines, so just browse at any flooring store to see what’s out there. You can also find great deals shopping online, but you may want to actually feel a sample board for yourself before committing to a room full of the stuff.
You’ve probably heard of bamboo flooring as its eco-friendliness (that’s a word–really) has made it a pretty hot option. Actually a fast-growing grass, bamboo is similar to wood in many ways when it comes to floors. But if hardness and durability are a concern, you may wonder if something that’s technically a grass can hold up well in high traffic area.
Well, the folks at EcoTimber have come up with a woven bamboo flooring that is actually strands pressed together with a durable resin. Because its wood-like grain is less linear than traditional bamboo flooring, it features the durability “of the densest tropical hardwoods,” which makes it ideal for high-traffic hallways and rooms.
The woven bamboo flooring comes prefinished and can be nailed or glued down (but not installed as a floating floor, so it’s not a project for most do-it-yourselfers). The cost is $5.99 per square foot (not including installation).
If you’re remodeling your home or building from scratch, you may have already decided hardwood floors are a must. After all, it’s hard to beat the beauty of wood. But are your typical hardwood boards your only option? Of course not. If you haven’t looked into parquet squares for a while, you may be surprised at some of the impressive patterns out there.
Just check out the flower-inspired MX12 parquet blocks from Czar Floors. Okay, they don’t get any cool points for the name of the pattern, but it does look cool on the floor.
This is just one of all sorts of unique patterns out there, so look around at what’s available before deciding on those plain old hardwood boards. After all, it’s kind of fun to have something different from everyone else on the block.