Living Room Flooring Ideas For Every Style

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Your living room is probably the most used room in your house after the kitchen. The style you create in this main room sets the tone for the rest of your home.

Your floors are a major component of your decorating theme, and depending on your choice of material and color, can be understated and secondary to other aspects of the room, or bold and striking, demanding attention from all who enter.

Unlike the kitchen and bathroom, where concerns of moisture damage or cooking mishaps limit the suitable choices, your living room can be styled with whatever flooring material most suits your decor, your family needs and your budget.

Carpet

For comfort, classic style and endless choices in color and design, you can't beat carpet. Carpet has many good qualities, including:

  • Comfortable underfoot
  • Insulates against cold and heat
  • Muffles sound
  • Nonslip, safe surface
  • Wide price range, can be inexpensive
  • Huge choice of colors and designs

But there are negatives to carpet also, including:

  • Stains easily
  • Difficult to keep clean, frequent cleaning can be expensive
  • Holds onto allergens such as dust, pollen, mites, dander

Carpet works with any decorating theme, although it best complements traditional, contemporary, retro or shabby chic decor.

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Tile Flooring

Finished Product

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood

Another classic choice, hardwood provides a natural, warm beauty that adds to the value of your home. There are many patterns available in thin strips, thicker planks, or parquet designs. Wood tones range from the lightest maple to the darkest mahogany, and every shade in between.

Hardwood is an excellent choice for the living room, with pros such as:

  • Adds value to your home
  • Easily cleaned
  • Good choice for those who have allergies
  • Durable
  • Scratches can be sanded out

There are cons to hardwood however, including:

  • Expensive to install
  • Can scratch or damage
  • Susceptible to water damage
  • Needs occasional refinishing
  • Can be noisy when walked on
  • Hard and slippery surface

Hardwood flooring complements every style of decorating, particularly country, Cape Cod, traditional, Victorian and Asian-themed.

Tile

Tile is not a favorite choice for living room flooring, as it is too cold and hard for the casual living style of most families. It is a good choice in a warm climate, or if area rugs are used to provide softness and warmth.

There are many forms of tile available. Granite, ceramic, slate and porcelain are a few of the more popular choices. Tile can be patterned into custom designs, and is available in colors and styles to match any decor.

Some positives of tile for the living room include:

  • Very durable
  • Easy to clean, needs no special care
  • Huge range of style and color choices
  • Inexpensive choices available

Negatives of tile include:

  • Cold and hard to walk on
  • Slippery surface
  • Noisy

Tile is a great choice for Mediterranean, Spanish, Pueblo or contemporary decorating styles.

Laminate

Laminate flooring is a lower-priced option for the look of wood or stone on your living room floors. Composed of a photographic layer under a clear protective material, laminate comes in a huge range of styles, colors and designs.

You can find laminate in any wood finish, including distressed, plank, parquet or strip. Stone-finish laminate recreates the look of terracotta, sandstone, marble and slate with many colors and patterns.

Laminate is a good choice for reasons such as:

  • Less expensive than stone or hardwood
  • Gives the warm, welcoming look of wood
  • Good for those suffering from allergies
  • Easy to clean

Cons of laminate include:

  • Hard and cold to walk on
  • Easily scratched, and damaged by water
  • Noisy
  • Slippery surface

Laminate works with any decorating style, depending on which pattern you choose.

Cork

Cork is newly popular on the flooring scene, and has attracted a lot of attention as an environmentally friendly choice. Cork is made from the cork bark only, which the tree replenishes every few years. Most companies making cork flooring are avoiding compounds that release gases harmful to air quality.

Cork is available in colors ranging from natural earth tones to brights, and laying the tiles in different patterns can create designs. The naturally irregular pattern provides a lot of interest to a room, with swirls, knots and pores.

Cork has a lot going for it, including:

  • Comfortable, cushiony feel underfoot
  • Muffles sound
  • Insect and allergy resistant
  • Durable and easy to maintain
  • Insulates against heat and cold

But there are also cons to cork, such as:

  • Heavy furniture can create divots
  • Water can create damage
  • Fading from direct sunlight
  • Needs polyurethane coating refinished every few years

Cork is a great choice for your traditional, contemporary, Asian-themed or Mediterranean home.

There have never been more options for flooring, and deciding which one to use in your living room can be bewildering. You may already have a definite preference, only hardwood or only carpet, for example.

But if you are not set in your flooring choice, consider your home decorating style, your budget and your families use of the living room to make the choice that will work best for your home.

Last Updated: September 28, 2011
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About Michelle Ullman Michelle Ullman has lived and gardened in Southern California since childhood. A freelance writer, she covers topics ranging from gardening to home improvement to health issues. She also has experience as a catalog copywriter and poet. Michelle has trained and worked as a respiratory therapist and surgical technologist, but prefers to spend her time gardening, and walking with her dog. Michelle holds a Bachelor's Degree from Redlands University in Business Management. 

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