Think beyond basic hardwoods and give your floors personality. A few decorative touches will add some serious interest underfoot.
1 of 11Photo: Jean Philippe Piter
Soft green walls and mosaic tile in shades of blue contribute to the ocean feel of this bedroom. To up the wow factor, limit a patterned tile to one or two rooms and keep other patterns in the space to a bare minimum.
Get this look: Paccha Fretwork-on-Four Tiles in Azure/Indigo/Turquoise, $18.50 per square foot; annsacks.com.
2 of 11Photo: William Waldron
An often cost-effective material, porcelain tile offers a variety of looks. In this Miami condo, the large, reflective tiles contribute to the sleek, modern aesthetic. The cool surface feels nice underfoot in a warm climate.
3 of 11Photo: Colleen Duffley
Hard-wearing stone tiles such as granite, travertine, marble, or limestone (shown here) offer a variety of looks, from refined and elegant to casual and rustic. Consider pairing your stone floor with a wood ceiling that will absorb noise in the room.
4 of 11Photo: Lisa Romerein
Naturally shaped stone pavers add to the beach chic feel of this Mediterranean- modern house in Malibu. The color calls to mind the sand that is just outside.
5 of 11Photo: Miki Duisterhof
Reclaimed or antique tiles offer a richness and patina that is unmatched with new products. The terra-cotta tiles in this Vero Beach home are from Paris, and are used both indoors and out to bring continuity to the space.
This earth-friendly choice is made from structures that were destined for demolition. The lumber, which is often made of old-growth hardwood, is durable and sustainable, and can be re-milled to suite any taste. Here, reclaimed white oak is well suited to the mostly-white décor.
7 of 11Photo: David Tsay
The simple wax finish on this floor protects the surface from sand and allows subtle imperfections to shine through. “The wide-plank wood feels so good on bare feet,” says designer Tim Clarke. “It’s like having a boardwalk in the house.”
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Painted Hardwood - White
Wake up tired hardwood floors with paint. Color and pattern distract from imperfections, and the floor will get better with age if mopped with soap and water.
Three rules to paint by:
1. Before painting, sand floors and vacuum thoroughly.
2. Choose interior/exterior porch-and-floor enamel (it’s more durable than standard paint).
3. After the paint has dried, always apply a second coat.
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Painted Hardwood - Pattern
For more color or pattern underfoot, paint provides endless options. Stripes and checks are created easily with a little math and plenty of painters’ tape, or consider hiring an artist for something truly unique. Like the rugs they render superfluous, painted floors command attention and set the tone for a room’s décor.
10 of 11Photo: Annie Schlechter
Carpeting has fallen out of favor in recent years, but it is still a practical and economical choice in low-traffic areas, or where you want an extra-soft surface, such a child’s room or bedroom. For added durability, look for stain-resistant versions.
11 of 11Photo: Lisa Romerein
Readily available and durable, concrete can be stained, stamped, and even painted to suit a variety of personal styles. But the texture can also be cold or severe, so soften the look with warm wood tones and gently draped fabrics (like this linen slipcover).