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American Homeowners Association



Don't Forget the Floor

Furnishing an entire home is a decoration job on a grand scale. It's easy to get caught up in choosing fabrics, furnitures, wallcoverings, and other high profile items without giving proper attention to the low profile area--the floors. Be sure to consider color, texture and the many practical issues inherent in floor coverings, says Rosemary Sadez Friedman for the Scripps Howard News Service.

Base. Don't install more than the base can handle. Just about any type of material can go over a solid concrete floor, so long as a moisture-proof base is laid over it. Suspended timber, on the other hand, should be assessed by a floor specialist. You wouldn't want to lay heavy quarry tile, for example, before knowing the floor's load-bearing limits.

Use. Comfort and cleaning are considerations that differ with use. A kitchen floor must be easy to clean and able to withstand moisture and spills, in addition to yielding a bit for softer standing. Durability is paramount in high-traffic areas like the hallway and playroom. Wood, carpet and vinyl are more resilient and easier on the feet over long periods of time, in the workroom for example.

Noise. Generally the harder the surface, the noisier--ceramic tile, stone, and wood can exaggerate noise while cork, rubber, vinyl and cushion-backed carpet are quieter. Installing underlayment under the flooring can reduce the echo effect.

Size. In a small apartment or house, stick with one floor treatment as a general approach and change pattern or color only in the kitchen, bath or bedroom. Plain colors and solids afford a larger sense of space and are easier to match. In a bigger house, making colors and materials work from room-to-room is a matter of visualizing the transitions. Move through the rooms and imagine the floor changes. Make sure they coordinate well together and create a theme.

Patterns. Nothing beats a well-blended pattern but it can be tricky matching a pattern to a room's decorating theme. Pick your patterns prudently. And question yourself beforehand. This pattern looks great in the showroom but will it overpower the room? Am I choosing it because it looks great or because it hides dirt?