What to Do When You Don't Want Hardwood Floors

It can be tough to know how to choose flooring for your home when the look and feel of wood doesn’t fit your design style or your usability needs. Although hardwood floors or laminates made to look like hardwood floors are the most talked about materials in how to pick flooring conversations, they don’t work for everyone.


I, for instance, am not a wood flooring fan because my dog slips on wood and wood laminate floors. We have wood flooring in our home office, and every time our dog trots into the room, she loses her footing.


Because wood floors also have a specific look and level of care, they aren’t a one-flooring-fits-all choice. If you’re looking for another flooring option but want something more upscale and interesting than vinyl or laminate, step right up to these five floor covering ideas that will help decide what type of flooring you want when wood floors just aren’t going to work for you.


1. Tile Floors

Ceramic and porcelain tile floors may usually be relegated to bathrooms and kitchens, but they can make an impressive design statement in other living areas as well. Relatively inexpensive, durable, and easy to clean, tile floors come in a vast array of styles and colors. Because tile is laid in squares or other shapes, you can create eye-catching patterns with tile as well; a tile floor can even be the focal point of your room.


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Although slick tile floors aren’t for dog lovers like me, using rustic smaller tiles with grout deeply inlaid can create just enough of an uneven surface to provide a little grip underfoot.


2. Granite or Marble Floors

If it’s elegance you’re after, granite or marble is one of the best floor materials you can choose. Like tile, granite and marble easy to clean.  Also like tile, granite and marble flooring tends to be slick. However, this isn’t always the case. If slipperiness is a concern for you, be sure you find out the “coefficient of friction” (COF) number for the flooring you’re considering. A higher number indicates the flooring will be less slippery. For high-traffic areas, a flooring material with a COF of .60 or more is ideal.


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Although granite and marble are natural materials, they still come in a wide variety of colors and grain patterns. You can develop stunning effects with this flooring via the configuration in which you choose to lay it.


3. Wall-to-Wall Carpet

Although usually a more traditional flooring choice that has fallen out of favor in recent years, carpet is still an option to consider, even if you have a more modern design sensibility. Not as durable or as easy to clean as tile or marble, carpet, however, does have the anti-slipping issue nailed.


When you think of wall-to-wall carpet, you probably think of solid carpet colors. But this type of carpeting is also available in patterns. Because of this, carpet can bring a bit of comfortable flair to an otherwise simply-decorated room.


One of my favorite carpeting ideas is carpet squares. Available in bold patterns and colors, carpet squares can add some fun to a room. They also help alleviate the carpet stain issue. If you buy extra squares, you can always just lift up a stained square and replace it with a new one. We used this flooring when we redid our small utility room. The squares were inexpensive and easy to install.


4. Concrete Floors

If your interior design style is avant-garde, industrial, or simply minimalistic modern, a concrete floor might appeal to you. As durable and easy to clean as tile and marble, concrete also has more versatility than you might think. Dyes can be added to wet concrete to produce an impressive number of colors. You can also get unique finishes with acid stains or rubber stencils. But just the basic gray concrete can be a sleek addition to a contemporary space.


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One thing to keep in mind with concrete is its weight. If you’re putting concrete over a slab foundation, you’re fine. But if you’re pouring it over a subfloor on joists, be sure to have a structural engineer determine whether the subfloor can bear concrete’s weight.


5. Rubber Floors

Although traditionally used for gyms or garages, rubber flooring is now finding its way into homes. Rubber flooring doesn’t have the color or style options that most flooring materials have, but a reasonable selection of colors is available. When installed in squares, mixing and matching the colors can result in a variety of patterns and looks.


Photo Vereshchagin Dmitry on Shutterstock


Because it’s easy to clean and waterproof, a rubber floor is an excellent choice for a laundry room. Given its softness and durability, it’s also great for playrooms.


Just because hardwood floors are all the rage doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. If you like having a living space with a unique flair, you may want to choose one of these flooring materials instead.

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