Darren Palmer's Guide to Flooring & Colour

As one of 6 surfaces in your home to consider from room to room, the flooring has got to be the most important. The ceiling is usually white, paint, sometimes with some detail, sometimes not. The 4 walls can be many colours, paint, wallcovering or a mix of windows and doors. Your floor however is the base to the room, and to the home, the starting point from which your home’s style and mood will flow.

So what should it be? If there was a one size fits all solution there would be no need for the myriad choices that are the very thing that bamboozles buyers in the first instance. To assess the best choice for you it’s better perhaps to pass your flooring through a few filters to work out what suits your home and family best.

Do you have mess/small kids/pets?

Hard flooring is the easiest to clean therefore if you have a family where spills and accidents happen regularly on your floors you might want to consider a hard flooring option.  Tiles, timber, vinyl and laminate are all appropriate choices.

In the instance that you need or desire soft flooring and you have mess makers in your house aim for flooring that has colour and texture variation in it. The more difference you have in your floors the less you will notice any stains or marks. A variation of pile height gives you an areas of dark and light which helps minimise everyday wear, having several colours or tones blended into the carpet gives the same effect.

Only adults in your home?

The world is your oyster so hard flooring is for you too, but you can also have the benefit of being able to choose more delicate materials and lighter colours. Dirt, cooking or wine spills can still affect kitchen areas so a hard flooring is a must through them as well as high traffic areas.

Do you have a small floor area?

Having one type of floor in a small space is a great way to create the illusion of a bigger area as the boundaries aren’t a visual reminder of the small dimensions of each room. This does mean though that you need to consider what flooring you run through your kitchen as this will be your starting point for choice, most likely being a hard flooring option.

Does your room receive a lot of natural light?

You need to consider the UV resistance of any flooring you place in the path of large windows or openings to the exterior that expose the interior surfaces to harsh sunlight. Whilst a wool is a lovely fibre for carpets and unbeatable underfoot, a Solution Dyed Nylon (or SDN) will likely withstand UV exposure better in the long term.

Tiles are generally colour stable, with laminates and vinyl planks being less so but more resilient than natural materials such as timber.

If you have your heart set on timber or wool though you can always stop the light from coming into the room to ruin your floors by installing effective window treatments.

Where is your home located geographically?

City, Country, Suburban, Penthouse, Beach house or Treehouse, the location of a property geographically is going to inform choices on what is most appropriate for your home.

The type of architecture will lend itself to different styles, a beach house might be aligned to Scandi or Hamptons looks, a country house might favour a country look, city pads could be industrial or classic. You will need to choose solutions that work with the overall look and style you feel is most appropriate for your lifestyle and your home.

Industrial flooring types could be a cement or concrete look like Novilon Design vinyl in Concrete Natural Tile or rustic, aged timber.

Hamptons, beach or Scandi style would likely call for a light oak timber like Bespoak timber in Merino or light greyed oak timber floor such as Provincial Lane Stained Oak timber in Coconut, sisal or woven carpets will also give you a stunning finish.

Country houses can look amazing with mid to dark timbers, darker coloured carpets or even tiles. For a darker timber look check out Stockmans Ridge timber in Grey Iron Bark or Provincial Lane Stained Oak timber in Chestnut.

If in doubt about what to choose for your preferred style, look up the name in Pinterest and see if you can find the common elements that apply to your style’s flooring types.

As far as colour choices go you will need to think about what you like and what suits the style you are trying to achieve. That goes for how your floors relate to your wall colour choices too. You might want to install new flooring, keeping your existing paint colours, the most important thing to do in that case being to take a sample home with you to test what effect the light reflecting off your walls onto the floor will have on the colour.

If you’re starting from scratch in terms of all of your interior finishes, colours and inclusions, take a sample of everything you can with you when looking at flooring options so you can check if your palette works in harmony.

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.