Home & Garden

Flooring: Enhance the Look of Your Home

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Choosing the right type of flooring can impact the look and feel of your home. Learn the latest flooring trends and find out how simple textures and details can play a major role in your next project.

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Choosing the right flooring for your home can make a big impact on how your abode looks and feels. The flooring color and tone can enhance the beauty, decor and upkeep of your home. The right type of flooring can also tie together your various design elements.

There are several trends in the flooring industry these days, including hardwood flooring and luxury vinyl, which is both stylish and durable. Homeowners still love the look and feel of plush and fluffy carpet in certain rooms.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes time to select flooring, but not with the help of proven experts in our area. These are some of the latest trends they’re seeing in flooring choices.

Comfort in Your Living Room and Bedrooms

Kevin Rose, owner of Carpetland USA, 326 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, says more people are using hardwood and luxury vinyl tile in their living rooms, where durability and style go hand-in-hand. These options can also be good alternatives for a guest bedroom, especially if you’re looking to add style to your home. Select a warmer color and a more defined texture, so your guests can feel cozy.

Bedrooms, on the other hand, are where more people have carpet, Rose says. Despite the growing popularity in harder surfaces, wall-to-wall carpet doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

“In the Midwest, we still have our frigid winters, so the warmth and comfort of carpet as you step out of the bed in the morning is preferred,” Rose says.

Having carpet in the most private room of your house helps limit noises, and it’s softer on your feet. But not all carpet is the same, and that’s because of the various fibers that are available. Plush pile and berber offer two separate cosmetic choices. Someone who’s older, or more cautious when they walk, will probably look for something firmer, so a harder carpet finish is probably best because it’ll help to avoid slipping, says Rose.

If you have kids or pets in your home, or both, Rose recommends getting flooring that withstands moisture, such as waterproof hardwood and laminate, which are more resistant to spills.

But, you don’t have to shy away from carpet if you have pets and kids. A lot of carpet these days has pet-proof backings that don’t allow urine to soak into padding and subfloors, so there’s no lingering odor. It also prevents stains from getting into the fiber. Some carpet is even made from non-absorbent yarn, so spills can easily be cleaned.

No matter what type of flooring you purchase, Rose recommends doing your homework. He also suggests spending a little bit extra, especially if you have a type of flooring you like.

“Common mistakes that people are making is purchasing a product solely on price and assuming it has a level of quality that will sustain your living space,” Rose says. “You get what you pay for, as the old saying goes. Our staff will explain the pros and cons that suit your family and your home, not what suits everyone else walking through the front door.”

Before you select your flooring, Rose says it’s important to let the sales staff know what type of flooring you’re looking for and what type of space you’re looking to fill.

“Make sure your salesperson understands what you want, and make sure they’re listening to all your needs,” Rose says.

New Age Kitchen Flooring

There once was a time where carpet was installed in every room of the house, including kitchens.

Those days have been gone for several years and for good reason.

“These days, it’s very rare to have carpet in a kitchen, but 30 years ago, it wasn’t,” says Mark Unger, a flooring & sales specialist at Floor to Ceiling, in Freeport. “People liked the warmth and softness of carpet, but when they found out it was easier to clean a broken egg off a hard surface, they stopped putting carpet in their kitchens.”

Today, Unger says, people are going with a harder, more durable surface in their kitchens, like sheet vinyl. It has a softer underfoot, which takes more stress off your feet and legs when you’re standing to complete tasks. It’s also low maintenance and waterproof, making it ideal for kitchens.

It also comes in a large selection of textures and styles, such as tile, wood and stone.

In addition to style and elegance, Unger says sheet vinyl and other hard surfaces make spotting and cleaning stains much easier.

“If someone spills milk or pop on the floor, it’s easy to clean off sheet vinyl,” Unger says. “It’s also much easier to see the spills.”

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or luxury vinyl tile (LVT) also is a flooring choice that’s growing in popularity. LVP is luxury vinyl that’s shaped like a wood plank, while LVT has a distinct tile or stone look. Both are resistant to water, so they’re good choices if you’re looking to install flooring in your kitchen, basement or laundry room.

The best part is that luxury vinyl can last roughly 20 years or more if it’s installed correctly.

“That’s more of a denser product than sheet vinyl, and it’s harder,” Unger says. “It’s not as apt to tear when someone moves their fridge or stove and they don’t exercise care.”

When it comes to selecting the perfect color for your kitchen, Unger also says more people are moving away from earth tone colors, like brown, orange and reds, and moving toward lighter, more natural tones of gray. And it’s not just in the kitchen. Unger says gray is becoming a popular flooring choice in other parts of the home.

“People could just be burnt out on the earth tones,” Unger says. “Grays are a cooler color and earth tones are warmer, so it’s personal preference. There might even be people who grew up all their lives seeing earth tones in their parents’ homes and they might want something else in their own homes. Whatever the reason, grays have really taken off. It’s all about personal preference and what you want in your kitchen.”

Flooring Completes the Look of Your Home

Whether you’re building a home or remodeling, it’s important to consider all the elements in your home when you’re installing flooring.

“When you’re re-doing your home, giving it a facelift and freshening it up, new floors can make a big impact. Flooring ties everything together, and can change the look of the home,” says Erin Knabe, kitchen and bathroom design consultant at Benson Stone Co., 1100 11th St., Rockford. “A home project is like putting together a puzzle and flooring is a big piece of that puzzle.”

When you’re creating a plan for your next project, Knabe says it’s important to think about textures and details when it comes to flooring.

“You want to coordinate your wall tile with your floor tile to make sure everything works together,” she says. “People come in and say they want a whole project in addition to flooring, so we’ll do creative things like use a mix of wood and tile.”

One mistake Knabe sees is people doing their flooring projects one room at a time and using separate flooring patterns in every room. Instead of everything being consistent and coordinated, the home has a checkerboard appearance.

“You really don’t want to do more than two or three types of flooring in the house,” she says. “If you keep everything consistent, you’ll eliminate thresholds and breakup, so it makes the home feel larger and everything will flow better.”

Knabe and the other designers at Benson Stone try to help people avoid those mistakes by offering plenty of support and guidance.

“When people walk into a big-box store and pick up flooring, they might end up with the cheapest thing,” she says. “We try to thoroughly understand the customer’s needs to make sure they’re getting the best type flooring for their specific project that also blends in with the overall design of their home.”

One way to help with the process, Knabe says, is to be upfront with the staff in the beginning. The more they know about the type of project you have in mind, the more assistance they can provide.

“We had some people come in wanting some additional patterns to jazz up their bathroom,” Knabe says. “We coordinated hardwoods with the tile for their bathroom and added some pretty wall tile for their shower, so it all went together.”

Flooring is an important aspect of a house, Knabe says, so it’s important that the entire project is done right the first time.

“We’ll send an experienced installer to your home to complete measurements, install a proper sub-floor if needed, or maybe even tear up the old floor,” she says. “No matter what, we’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure that the job is done correctly.”

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