The classic recipe for personal success is to “start at the bottom and work your way up.” That’s not bad advice for life, or for decorating a room. Using flooring selections as the foundation of an interior design plan makes good sense – it can be one of the largest and longest lasting investments you will make in the room. Many professional decorators consider the design starting points of general style, color range and floor treatment equally important in executing a successful interior design plan
In an effective design plan, flooring literally sets the foundation. In most cases, the floor should compliment, rather than dominate, the other design elements in the room. It can suggest the room’s color palette, its style or period, its scale and its ambience. If you are using flooring as a foundation in planning your new interior look, consider the ways your floor covering will impact the rest of your plan, and you will be well on your way to a successful design and a beautiful room.
First, look at the size of the room. If it is small, you may want to choose a light color floor. Lighter, softer colors make a room appear larger, whereas darker, richer colors will create a warmer, intimate feel that might be better used in a larger room. A narrow width hardwood floor or a small patterned carpet can work well in a small room if the flooring is visually broken up by furniture or area rugs. Surprisingly, a large patterned floor surface, such as oversized ceramic tiles or a large patterned carpet, will actually expand a room visually.
Next, consider what you currently have in the room that will be part of the new design. You will want to select flooring that will work well with what is already there. If you have wood tones in the room, such as cabinets or large pieces of furniture, choose flooring that will coordinate well with them. For instance, you will want to keep the flooring compatible with existing brown wood tones rather than shifting to flooring with red or gray tones. If you want a more complete change in the look of the room, consider painting cabinets white or another neutral tone, or in an accent color drawn from a floor pattern.
After you have considered the limitations placed by existing features in the room, decide what kind of color tones will be most pleasing to you. Darker floors will suggest a more traditional or formal mood; lighter tones seem more modern and casual. For your flooring, choose a color or color family that pleases you, works with existing features in the room, and suits the room’s dimensions. You may wish to choose a floor color that coordinates with countertops, wallpaper, window treatments or special accessories that will be used in the room.
Give some thought to how the room will be used. Will it have heavy or light foot traffic? Does it have doors to the outside? Will children or pets be in the room? Flooring that is resilient, durable and easy to maintain will do best in areas that support heavy activity.
Also, look at all light sources in the room. The size and number of windows, the direction they are facing, the amount of incandescent light that will be present in the room, and the times of day the room will be used should all impact the choice of any floor treatment. Check your selections in all possible light conditions before settling on any flooring.
When you are satisfied with the colors that will be in the room and the practical realities of how the room will be used, you can start shopping for flooring that coordinates with your colors in a style you like. Whether your room is traditional, country casual, or contemporary, a random width hardwood plank floor is appropriate, as would be rustic tile, slate or stone. Single width plank floors, geometrics, and industrial looks are more likely to be used with contemporary furnishings. Polished stone – real or in one of the many excellent manufactured substitutes now available on the market – creates a beautiful look for classic European or Asian furnishings.
Don’t lose sight of the room’s scale when making your flooring selections. When coordinating other design elements with the flooring, the rule is mix, don’t match. A large patterned floor will be more pleasing if other patterns in the room are small. Inversely, a tightly-patterned carpet will successfully blend with large patterns in wallpaper or upholstery. More than one large pattern in a room may create an unfocused, random feeling, and too many small patterns will make the room seem cluttered and busy.
Set the tone for your interior-design theme by shopping Flooring America’s beautiful floor coverings!