Fabulous Floors

By Amber Bass, Interior Designer
Design Studio, Ayr

Gone are the days when we would fully carpet our homes. Remember when carpets in bathrooms were a thing? Thank goodness that trend is over.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed a huge increase in clients looking to use hard floors throughout the entire ground floor of their property, or at least in all of the sociable family living spaces.

Some of the most popular flooring trends I am seeing are porcelain tiles, engineered timber and luxury vinyl tiles.

Tiles were previously thought of as an option you would only find in bathrooms or kitchens. This has changed drastically in recent years and we often use large format tiles throughout entire properties e.g. entrance hallways, studies and open plan lifestyle areas. Using a large format tile can enhance a room through the scale of the tile, making the room feel bigger and more streamlined.

Tiles have come a long way over the years, becoming more beautiful and detailed as well as practical for the busy family home. From small detailed geometric accent tiles, perfect for porches and small cloakrooms, to oversized tiles for larger areas. Tiles that are porcelain but look just like limestone, provide the ‘look’ without the maintenance of natural stone. I’ve also used tiles to create the indoor/outdoor look, allowing the house to spill out into the garden and patio area – perfect for those summer BBQ days.

Engineered timber flooring has very much taken off in recent years, with its popularity showing no sign of slowing down. One of the best things about engineered timber flooring is that it can be used in every room of the house, though personally I wouldn’t recommend its use in bathrooms with lots of moisture. Constructing the base of the board from plywood gives strength and stability to the floor, allowing you to choose a timber veneered finish for the top that suits your taste. As temperatures and humidity fluctuate throughout the year, an engineered timber floor is much less likely to twist or move than a solid wood floor.

The traditional style of herringbone is still one of the most popular ways to fit engineered timber flooring, ranging from light to dark tones. The main image shows a smoked oak herringbone floor, which works perfectly for this style of property.

Luxury vinyl tiles are another great option which have become increasingly desirable in recent years. These are supplied by companies such as Karndean or Amtico. The material used, as well as the quality and flexibility, allows this flooring to be used in every room throughout a property, including kitchens and bathrooms due to its waterproof nature. They come in a selection of finishes such as timber effect and stone effect, which have a texture to make them feel more realistic. Luxury vinyl tiles are designed to last and are very low maintenance floors.

Another benefit of using hard flooring throughout your home is that it works very well with underfloor heating (very much a topical subject at the moment). ‘Wet’ underfloor heating can be fitted into any home and connects directly to your boiler. The water pipes under the floor evenly distribute the heat, like a good heavy bottomed pan, in every room. Underfloor heating is also compatible with heat pumps and therefore can help to future proof your home. Not to mention the added bonus of not having radiators cluttering your walls, which means lots more flexibility for furniture layout.

Flooring in your home is such a personal choice – I always work closely with our clients to help choose the right fit for them. Having too many options can be daunting but narrowing it down to these three timeless classic floors, which stand the test of time, is a great start.

Amber’s Top Tip:
Always install your flooring before fitting your kitchen or bathroom furniture. This gives the room a high-quality, seamless finish.