From top to bottom, you want what's best for your home. If you want to spruce up your home while adding value, consider installing new flooring. Flooring materials are more varied than ever and offers both fashion and function. But all the attractive new options may leave you feeling confused about what best suits your needs. If you want to install new flooring but aren't sure what kind, keep reading to understand some of the practical and aesthetic factors that should influence your decision.

Which Room Needs Flooring?

Each room in the house serves a specific purpose that requires you to think about function as well as fashion.

Kitchens
  • High traffic and dirt from the outside entry door are two important factors.
  • Spills are common from cooking, so floors must be easy to clean.
  • Non-slip flooring is necessary for safety purposes.

Possible Solutions:

  • Vinyl is a good choice for kitchen floors. In the event of a dropped glass or dish, a resilient floor like vinyl has more bounce and may prevent breakage. Remember, though, a deeply textured pattern may be harder to clean.
  • Tile, laminate and wood are great kitchen floor alternatives. Rugs and mats can soften a harder material such as tile.
Bathroom
  • Occasional sink, toilet and bathtub overflows mean water is a factor.
  • Bathroom cleaning should also be taken into consideration.
  • Slipperiness is generally a big issue when it comes to bathroom floors.

Possible Solutions:

  • Vinyl has traditionally been the floor of choice for baths, but rugs are useful to help prevent slipping. It is the easiest to clean.
  • Ceramic tile is gaining rapidly in popularity and isn't as slippery as vinyl. It is slightly harder to clean, though.
  • Newer versions of laminate and wood products can be adapted to bathrooms even with excessive moisture. Make sure any rugs or mats are non-slip.
Living Room
  • This is the focal point and centerpiece of home furnishings in most homes.
  • Function varies from family room to formal receiving room.
  • Choose flooring to match the room's function and décor.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet offers fibers and styles that accommodate informal or formal use.
  • Hardwood also provides an attractive, durable option, especially with the addition of area rugs.
Dining Room
  • Whether the floor is used regularly at mealtime plays a part in which flooring to choose.
  • If it is used regularly for mealtime, consider if there are a lot of spills.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet is an option, but light colors tend to show stains more and may not be the best choice.
  • Wood, laminate or tile all work well in dining rooms.
Bedroom
  • Floors are usually overshadowed by the bed and coordinating fabrics.
  • Traffic is less of a problem here than in other rooms, so stains and wear should be minimal.
  • Consider a neutral flooring that adapts to frequent décor changes. Too many bright colors can be overpowering.

Possible Solutions:

  • Carpet is traditionally used in bedrooms.
  • Wood or laminate floors are good alternatives, especially if you add decorative rugs.
Hallways and Stairs
  • Steady traffic brings dirt and moisture, especially to entry halls and mudrooms.
  • Stains and wear are more visible.
  • Look for a sturdy material that coordinates with the rest of the flooring in the house.
  • Entry halls are the first part of your home a guest sees, so use this area to make a bold statement.

Possible Solutions:

  • Inlaid patterns of wood parquet or ceramic tile can be dramatic and still handle traffic.
  • Laminate flooring is a good alternative, especially if you add non-slip decorative rugs.