Hardwood floors are a popular choice but not everyone can afford to install them. Thankfully, there are many beautiful flooring alternatives that can make a room feel just as elegant.
Natural fibre carpets made from Sisal, Jute and Coir are a sustainable alternative to wool and an allergy-friendly option for those with allergies. Alternative has collaborated with leading designers including Ashley Hicks, Margo Selby and Ben Pentreath to create patterned carpets where texture pampers and colour sings.
Bamboo is a stylish flooring choice with a distinctive aesthetic that can elevate the style of any room. It works well with many design styles, from modern to rustic. Bamboo can also add a warm and natural feel to any space. It is also a more eco-friendly option than hardwood. Bamboo is made from a renewable source, while traditional hardwood comes from trees that take 20 years or more to reach maturity.
Bamboo comes in a variety of grain patterns and colors. It is often laminated and pressed into boards, but it can also be woven together for a more organic look. It can be finished with a gloss, satin, or matte sheen for protection and to enhance the color. Bamboo can also be stained, which allows it to match a wide range of interior design colors.
Some types of solid bamboo are prefinished with a water-resistant coating, which is great for high-traffic areas or humid climates. Other types are unfinished and can be sanded down on-site for a customized stain. When sanding, it is important to use the right amount of pressure and apply even strokes. Excessive moisture can damage any floor, so it is important to keep humidity levels in mind when choosing a finish for your bamboo floors.
Some types of bamboo are glued together rather than fastened to the subfloor with nails. They may use a modified tongue-and-groove system where the short sides of each board have a “tongue” and the long sides have a “groove.” This type of installation is also known as floating bamboo, and it offers easy removal for maintenance or repair.
With lifestyle changes, living spaces have become much more versatile. From bedrooms to kitchens and living rooms, each room has its own set of functions and design styles. This is why it’s important to have a range of options available to you when choosing your floor. One of these options is laminate wood flooring.
Laminate is a budget-friendly alternative to hardwood floors that can offer the same elegant look. It also offers a number of other benefits, including being easy to maintain and hygienic (several brands feature an antimicrobial resin). You can also learn more about epoxy flooring which is another great alternative to hardwood floors.
Many different types of laminate are available on the market, and choosing the right one will enhance your home’s elegance. Whether you want a light or dark floor, there is a laminate to suit your needs. Light laminate floors can make a room feel larger, while dark laminates are better suited for artistic and contemporary designs.
Depending on the type of laminate you choose, you can choose from a variety of textures and colors. For example, antique pearl laminate floors have a beautiful sheen that pairs well with high-end decor and subdued modern design styles. Barn oak laminate has a more rustic and cozy appearance that works well with farmhouse and country decor. You can even get laminate with wider and longer planks that will give your space the look of real hardwood.
3. Vinyl Plank
While real hardwood and stone floors are luxurious, they also tend to come with a high price tag. For a more budget-friendly alternative, vinyl plank offers an array of design options that look realistic and enhance the aesthetic of living rooms, bedrooms and more. The material isn’t without its disadvantages, however. While it is a durable option, it is made from plastic and can off-gas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that can wreak havoc on your family’s health.
If you’re interested in reducing your household’s exposure to VOCs, look for a non-toxic alternative like green laminate flooring. Additionally, some types of vinyl plank can discolor under prolonged direct sunlight, so you may want to choose a darker hue or opt for a waterproof vinyl floor.
Scratch and indentation resistant, vinyl plank floors are built to be lived on. They are perfect for busy homes with kids and pets, as they hold up against spills and stains.
Luxury vinyl plank is typically sold in long runs that interlock together to create a floating floor and do not require glue for installation. Some types of LVP feature an expanded polymer core for added soundproofing properties. Others have a traditional vinyl cap with an attached pad for softness underfoot. Some even offer a wear layer to protect against UV rays.
Concrete floors are a popular flooring option for basements, garages and other utilitarian spaces. They are durable, cost-effective and withstand heavy wear well. They also offer fire resistance, acoustics and are easy to maintain. Concrete floors can be polished and sealed for a clean, smooth surface or stained to create a unique design. They can be painted with acid-based or non-reactive water-based stains that produce translucent colors and marbling effects to mirror the look of elegant marble. They can also be etched or scored for an artistic effect.
A polished concrete floor is sleek and stylish, with a modern look that will blend seamlessly into a contemporary design home. Its smooth, reflective surface is also perfect for highlighting lighting and the natural beauty of a room.
Hugh Ferriss, property journalist and DIY enthusiast, has curated these stunning examples of alternative flooring designs that use concrete as the main material in a space. He has spotted this style in many high-end homes around the world and says that it is becoming a more mainstream choice for home interiors.
While it is possible to cover a concrete floor with carpet or vinyl, a more interesting approach is to polish the existing slab and stain it to create a one-of-a-kind flooring surface that complements your design aesthetic. This is a low-cost solution that offers a lot of flexibility, and it can even be stenciled or stained with multiple colors to achieve a truly personalized flooring design.
In a standard wood-framed house, builders use plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) as the subfloor. Plywood and OSB are both remarkably strong composites made of thin veneers peeled from logs that are sandwiched together with binders, pressed and heated. The wood veneers in each layer are arranged at varying angles to provide strength, stiffness and stability.
The binders in plywood are typically urea formaldehyde, and the number of plies a sheet has determines its strength. Three-ply sheets are relatively flexible and lightweight but lack strength, while sheets with five or more plies are both rigid and affordable enough to sheathe houses and roofs.
While both plywood and OSB are moisture-resistant, they differ in their ability to resist persistent swelling. OSB absorbs more water than plywood, and its edges can swell if exposed to the elements for extended periods of time. However, if the affected area is ventilated and cleaned as soon as possible, it should be able to dry out more quickly than plywood.
Both types of plywood are easy to install and maintain. Choosing the right plywood for your flooring project is a matter of budget and appearance. Pine plywood is less expensive but tends to show more dents and scratches, while birch or maple plywood may be more durable. It is also possible to find long-exposure specialized panels for areas exposed to the elements. You should also consider whether the plywood is tongue and groove or not.
6. Painted Subfloor
If you aren’t ready to shell out the money for new flooring, painting your subfloor can be a cost-effective and simple way to revamp your space. It’s important to use the right type of floor paint, however. Plywood and particle board are very absorbent and if you use lousy paint, it’ll be difficult to undo the results.
You can use a single color or mix in designs to create patterns on your floors. Parallel stripes or a grid pattern creates a classic look; alternately, try a creative Chevron design to resemble tile. Stencils can also be a fun way to add patterns to your floors. Choose pre-cut stencils or cut your own from plain plastic sheets and a stencil brush. Paint a layer of a clear polyurethane on top to seal the stencil and protect the paint underneath.
Even a plain plywood floor can look great with the right paint. Pick a paint that’s suitable for flooring and apply several coats, sanding between each one.
If you are considering a painted subfloor, it’s helpful to hire a professional for the job. Using a pro will ensure the project is done correctly, and the paint will stand up to foot traffic and resist moisture. For the best results, have a quality primer tinted to match your paint. This will drastically reduce the number of coats needed to achieve a high quality finish.