Choosing a new floor

Exciting news everyone – we are definitely going to rip up our carpet and get a new floor (ok, maybe this is just really exciting for me).

Anyhoo, as promised, I am going to guide you through my decision making process (remember, I’m making changes to five parts of my home – see previous post). In doing so, I hope this may help some of you who may be struggling to make your own interior decoration decisions. Here goes…

Phase one: Inspiration

The very first thing I am going to do to help me choose a new floor is find inspiration.  This is where I find mine:

– Magazines

– Blogs

– Pinterest

– I go and knock on two of  my neighbours’ doors who have got new wood floors

– I visit my friends’ houses to check out their floors (and reassure them that I don’t just want to be their friend because of their beautiful floor….).

At this point I am thinking of nothing other than: “What do I really like the look of?”. This is definitely the most enjoyable part of the process and these are some of the millions of inspiring floors I have found (for more, see my flooring Pinterest board):

Black and white checkered painted floorboards

I WILL have this floor one day. Black and white chequered floor has always been my favourite (I have it in my bathroom) and it’s even better on floorboards. Photograph from Elle Interior.

How to choose the right floor: Herringbone wooden floor

I WILL also have this floor one day with big, beautiful rugs laid over it! I adore it. Photograph from Convoy Tumblr.

How to choose the right floor: Original wooden floorboards

If I lived in a period home, the simple solution would be to just rip up the carpet and expose the original floorboards. Best option every time – you can’t beat the warmth and character of original boards. Photograph from Design Dautore.

How to choose a new floor: Concrete floor

Polished concrete creates an industrial look that can be a great blank canvas. This floor was laid in a converted barn that I visited and you can see more of it in this post. Add underfloor heating and a concrete floor is nowhere near as cold and sterile as you might think.

How to choose a new floor: Vintage tiled floor

There a million different photographs of beautiful vintage tiled floors that I could add here. Photograph from Espacio Vital.

How to choose the right floor: Red and white vinyl floor

There are so many new vinyl floors on the market now that are both practical (easy to clean, warm underfoot) and stylish. Photograph from Hemnet.

How to choose the right floor: Herringbone tiles

Vintage herringbone tiles – yes please. Photograph from Creating Keepsakes.

How to choose the right floor: Sisal carpet

I’ve always really liked the warm neutrality and texture of sisal carpet. Photograph from i-decoration.

How to choose the right floor: Geometric tiled floor

There are so many amazing modern floor tiles available. I like the current trend for geometric patterns, reminiscent of traditional Victorian hallway tiles. Photograph from Emery and Cie.

How to choose the right floor: Painted white floor boards

I’ve had this floor in my bedroom before and I love the look. Photograph from The Designer Pad.

Phase two: Practicalities

It’s now about eliminating my inspirational floors based on the practicalities (this is the boring bit). I have to very clear about what those practicalities are and think through what I want from the floor:

– Durable (puppy proof): This eliminates the white floorboards as they will get scuffed and marked to hell and back. It also eliminates vinyl as this gets damaged easily too.

– Easy to clean (puppy poo proof): This eliminates the sisal.

– Not too ‘different’ as we will be selling the flat sooner rather than later so don’t want to alienate potential buyers: This eliminates any gorgeous designs like the beautiful vintage tiles or geometric tiles.

– Light and bright so as not to make the flat feel small: This eliminates the black and white painted floorboards (sob).

– Suitable for the sitting room, kitchen and hallway: This eliminates having a tiled floor as this is not suitable for a sitting room area.

So, I am left with the original pine floorboards, the herringbone floor and polished concrete as potential options.

Phase three: Ask your friends and family

This phase is invaluable. Try and find out first hand whether what you want will work for you. At this point, I asked friends about their herringbone floor and they said it was a nightmare! They said it was soft, no one could wear heels on it, the gaps between the blocks snagged things. They also said unless it is weathered and has had years worth of varnish applied to it it is not very durable. No herringbone floor for me then (sob, again). Don’t be tempted to go against people’s advice just because you love the floor – it won’t be worth it in the end.

Phase four: Does it match the interior?

It’s at this point that I begin to think about the rest of the interior and whether the potential options will work with the rest of the flat. If you find it difficult to visualise this phase, which I know a lot of people do, order some samples! This is the best way to get a sense of what the floor will look like. I have to eliminate the polished concrete option at this point because I don’t think it will work with the furniture I have.

Phase five: Budget

I always leave this till last as I always think there is a way around it. I start to look at prices by doing a quick google. I quickly realise that the option I am left with, which is original floorboards, will be quite expensive. I have to think about whether this is something I really want or could I go with a cheaper alternative that will actually serve me better. If I’m really practical about it, original floorboards, though beautiful, aren’t necessarily the best option in a new build flat; they probably won’t appeal to future buyers as the type of person who generally buys a new flat wants new floors. So, I think about alternatives:

1) Plywood floor

There are sheets of plywood underneath our carpet at present. I saw a house tour in Homes and Antiques magazine of a couple who had painted and varnisehed a plywood floor and I loved the effect. Plus, it is a very cheap option. However, it would take a huge amount of time and effort to get it right.

How to choose a new floor: White plywood flooring by Apartment Apothecary

We could paint the plywood any colour we wanted to. Photograph by 79 Ideas.

How to choose the right floor: Plywood flooring

Or we could varnish it as it is. Photograph from Zyprezz.

2. Engineered floor boards

This is the boring, easy, safe option and when we come to sell, a proper oak floor will be far more advantageous. Plus, it is durable  and easy to clean. However, it is a lot more expensive than a plywood floor.

How to choose the right floor: Engineered wood floor

To make the final decision I have to go and see examples of these floors in real life, so I visit a friend who has an oak engineered floor and a shop that has a plywood floor. I actually like the aesthetic of the plywood floor a lot as it looks quite industrial, yet still warm. It’s also a bit more individual than an oak floor.

So, we’re going to take up a corner of the carpet, do some paint and varnish testing and see whether we can get a good effect. If not, we’ll resort to an oak floor. Watch this space…



  1. Amy
    29th October 2013 / 11:03 am

    Loving the thought process – so helpful as a budding homemaker x

    • katy
      29th October 2013 / 11:11 am

      Oh good! It’s quite hard to pin down my thoughts when it comes to making decisions about interiors. Hope it helps! x

  2. 30th October 2013 / 12:07 pm

    I love the Herringbone! You could go for this I think, although it is more expensive. Great post!

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