Choosing the flooring is perhaps the biggest decision for any room. There are several questions to weigh up. How often will the room be used and what will the footfall be? Will it be exposed to sunlight? How do you want it to feel underfoot? How permanent do you want it to be? It is worth spending some time thinking about the consequences of your choice of flooring for a room before arriving at a final decision.
Carpets provide warmth and cosiness to a room hence why full carpets rather than rugs are most popular in countries with colder climates. Carpets also provide for additional sound-insulation. From a design point of view they can also provide beautiful and rich colour to a room. Carpets come in a wide variety of qualities and can be relatively cheap or extremely expensive. Wool carpets feel the nicest underfoot and are the warmest carpets, whilst also being durable. All of this comes at a price though. If you have children investing in a high quality wool carpet may provide more stress and heartache than the pleasure it will bring.
Wool and nylon blends are also generally good quality and a cheaper option if you are laying the carpet in a room that will have significant footfall and carries a relatively high risk of experiencing spillages throughout the years. In recent years natural flooring materials have become a trendy alternative to carpets. Sisal, seagrass, jute, plant fibre, coir and even paper can all be used for natural flooring. They can look very good and are environmentally friendly as well as being kinder to those who suffer from dust allergies which can be provoked by thicker carpets. On the downside they tend to feel much rougher underfoot than woollen or synthetic carpets and can be quite expensive.
Although not traditional in the UK outside of the bathroom or kitchen, tiles can also be a great flooring for a living room. With a great deal of choice, from stone to ceramic, and an almost unlimited range of colours, tiles can be used strikingly to create a bright contemporary look to a classic European farm-house style. The downside is that tiles are hard which may not be appealing if you have small children who are likely to fall occasionally. They are also colder than either a carpet or wooden flooring so if you don’t have the luck to live somewhere warm, or have underfloor heating, this quality of tiles may be off-putting for a living area.