Among the characteristics that help define a room as 'spectacular', the flooring is one of the most important elements in achieving a successful result, often combined with my two other wish-list items of impressive ceiling height and generous window width. While the last two may be difficult to change, adding a new flooring is an easy way to upgrade your property and transform its look. The flooring selection must be hard wearing and practical to clean, but always visually pleasing. Adding new flooring will add not only a fresh look, but also great value to the property, dull or worn floorings, instead, bring down the whole mood of your home, detracting from any styling or new renovations you may have done. So open the door of your imagination and learn how to 'WOW' with flooring.
MARBLE LOOK - At the undisputed top of the list is marble, the king of choices, the classic look for now and forever, the utmost flooring statement. If the classical look is your aim, the whiter marble look will satisfy you and easily match any style of furnishing, with its characteristic darker veins adding character and interest to the space. Darker marbles though are on the rise, having made a bold statement and strong impact over the last few years in interior design. Whether with white/grey veins, or greeny/gold as well as red browns for a warmer look, darke marble is a sure WOW choice. If you want to impress, then the marble look is what you want! Its beauty is unquestionable, its range vast, and its cost a statement in itself. But if the cost or maintenance of real marble is not what you're excited about, then don't despair! There is a huge range of affordable and very elegant looking porcelain options, coming in large format sizes with both durable and easy to maintain surfaces.
STONE LOOK - Besides marble, other stones have accompanied the evolution of our buildings, like granite, limestone, and the timeless travertine. Besides the different looks each of these can add to your home, their porosity must be considered as it will affect its longevity and resistance to staining, but there are products to help protect and deal with this; however, the street gutters in Rome are indeed made of Travertine, and their worn look is nothing but charming. Being a natural organic material, we must accept that stone does wear and naturally age, which is part of its beauty. To preserve the good looks longer, denser quality stones should be used in high traffic and wet areas, and these can be also sealed to protect the surfaces as well as enhance the grain or natural characteristics of the stone. BUT if you do love this natural stone look, and want to enjoy it without any of the maintenance issues, there is a non-porous alternative. As you can see from the images below these very beautiful stone looking floors are hardwearing porcelain. Inspiring to the natural beauty of the natural material they offer reliable consistency in character and colour, and also provide the wide variation that we expect to see in the pattern.
VENETIAN TERRAZZO - This is a composite of natural stone chips, bounded by cement, traditionally poured on site and then sanded to a smooth matt or gloss finish. Also poured in tiles, small or large, the Terrazzo look has been popular on and off for the last few hundred years, offering many versions in grain and colours, and it's very durable. Back on trend this look is proving popular especially here in Australia, as it is adaptable for so many interior spaces and furnishing styles. As I've been travelling regularly to Italy for the past 15 years, I am very familiar with this material, used in both residential and commercial flooring, but I'm really excited to see new colour ways in greys and charcoals, coming in differing chip sizes, as well as soft pinks, earthy greens and denim, inky blues. The porcelain version of Terrazzo tiles is also available in large format tiles, perfect for vertical surfaces too, such as bathroom walls or kitchen splash backs.
CONCRETE - With two thousand years of history, concrete is certainly not the newest material to enter our homes, and yet it's continuously associated with a 'modern' look. If a contemporary home is your wish, then concrete ticks all the important boxes of sleek good looks, hard-wearing surface and a durable trend. Poured on-site or applied as tiles, don't think its colour range limited, as the looks of this material can easily be chosen in warmer or cooler greys, but also pushed to match any other colours of your choice.
As you can see from the inspiring images above, the greatest alternative to any of these materials is porcelain tiles, which beautifully reproduce any stone in look and touch, but are easier to lay, durable, and 100% non-porous [stain free]. Porcelain tiles are also affordable and come in tiles of up to 1600x3200 mm for a truly WOW look.
Remember that flooring is walked upon and it's the one part of our home which takes the most traffic, the hardest wear and tear, so it has to be functional, easy to clean and also good looking. If looking to renovate the floor in your home, then 'do your homework': flick through magazines, visit renowned flooring showrooms and of course search the net, and also check out the exciting range of porcelain options. To see some truly inspiring flooring, visit the website of one of my favourite companies: FLORIM offers product with the looks we dream of, the highest quality, and are available in Australia.
When it comes to Interior Design, the choices for our homes are almost endless, and I am constantly traveling to ensure I stay up to date on the latest products and techniques. Yep! It's a great life, and I don't mind sharing it with you. I get excited getting up close and personal with new flooring and wall options, as I know just how much impact they have on our homes, how they look, how they feel...
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has three decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to properties through effective design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.