FABULOUS FLOORS FULLSTOP.
WORDS Persephone Nicholas
A fabulous floor can add style and value to your home. Here’s our guide to making your floor a feature to be proud of.
“Whether it is going to be carpet, tiles or stripped wood, see to it that the floor is beautiful.” British designer, Sir Terence Conran, knew what he was talking about. The floor is quite literally the basis of any interior design scheme, will probably account for a major chunk of your renovation budget and will most likely stay with you for years. So selecting the right surface is an important decision and should be based on far more than the visual appeal of the finished floor.
Need to know more? Here’s our guide to the best in classic and contemporary flooring.
Choosing the best surface is all about determining the function of the space you are flooring. Good looks and comfort underfoot are important but there are other factors to take into account. For example, is it a high-traffic area? Are there likely to be spillages of water or other liquids? Are there children or pets to take into account?
First impressions: entrances and hallways
The flooring in a home’s entrance or hallway creates a lasting first impression and also sets the tone for the rest of the dwelling. These areas are usually high-traffic and are most likely to attract water, dirt or debris coming in on footwear or pets. Luxe flooring options include natural and composite stone. Polished concrete is an exceptionally robust and lower budget alternative. Timber or timber laminate and tiles are also popular.
Antonia Yeo of Heritage Tiles says tiles are versatile: “The latest tiles from around the world sport very realistic natural stone, wood and concrete looks. The colour and pattern vary from tile to tile so that when laid, it looks just like natural stone or wood but with the easy maintenance and durability of a porcelain tile.”
Social spaces: open-plan living areas and lounge rooms
The open-plan living area is a typical feature of a contemporary or newly renovated home. When considering flooring for a larger space like this, it makes sense to use one surface (or colour) throughout. This enhances the feeling of openness and keeps the interior adaptable. Hardwood floors look good and are popular for open plan dining/living areas though they can be cold underfoot and are expensive. Produced from slow-growing trees several decades ago, recycled timber is generally stronger and harder wearing than newer wood. Consequently it is much in vogue and can be costly.
Timber laminates are typically more economical than solid timber floors and can look almost as good as the real thing. A good quality laminate can seem expensive but may be a wise investment as it is easy to clean and extremely hardwearing. Other options include bamboo, a sustainable and exceptionally hardwearing choice. It’s a grass but looks like timber, is available in a similarly broad range of hues and complements contemporary spaces perfectly.
For those who like more warmth, carpet is a classic lounge room choice. A good quality short-pile synthetic carpet in a darker tone is a budget-friendly, hardwearing option that won’t show stains. Carpet company Robert Malcolm has a good range plus a selection of 100 per cent New Zealand wool carpets, recommended for their durability and colourfast qualities.
Rugs are the ideal way to define functional areas within open-plan living rooms. For example, positioning a rug beneath a dining table or under sofas and coffee tables can help create specific zones for eating and relaxing.
Laura Furey of Designer Rugs NZ says rugs make a space feel more homely: “We’re seeing more open spaces in the home these days and a lot of hard surfaces such as wood, concrete and metal incorporated into the designs. The minimalist approach is popular but can create a hollow environment that needs more comfort, warmth and acoustic insulation. A rug made from 100 per cent New Zealand wool will protect bare floors from damage, help insulate the room and also absorb acoustics.”
The heart of the home: kitchens
The kitchen floor is one of the hardest working surfaces in any home. It should be hard wearing, easy to clean, stain resistant and resilient to water damage. A non-slip surface is best.
Popular choices for kitchen flooring include luxury vinyl, which is available in a vast range of designs and colours. Some mimic organic materials such as stone, terracotta or wood. There are attractive geometric prints and patterns too. Flooring specialists Jacobsen’s has a great selection of vinyl floor coverings including the best-selling Tarkett Optima range, now available in 64 colours.
Linoleum is a natural product with the advantages of being anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic. Like vinyl it is relatively inexpensive. Rubber is another increasingly popular option. This family-friendly choice helps reduce breakages and its thermal qualities mean it is cooler in summer and warmer in winter than many more traditional floor surfaces. Those looking for sustainable flooring might like to investigate Irvine International’s rubber flooring made from recycled tyres sourced in New Zealand and Australia.
Water worlds: bathrooms and laundries
These workhorses of the home demand functional flooring that is hardwearing, non-slip and easy to clean. Luxury vinyl, linoleum and rubber are all great choices. Ceramic or porcelain (the more expensive option) tiles can be used to classic or contemporary effect and will last as long as you love them.
Retreat and recharge: bedrooms
Your sleep chamber is the ideal place for the luxe finishes you can only dream of elsewhere. If you love carpet but avoid it in high-traffic areas, indulge yourself here. Wool carpet will help soundproof the room, keep it warmer in winter and is naturally fire resistant. Cavalier Bremworth offers an extensive collection plus an innovative new carpet backing made from recycled waste carpet.