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Designer Tips for choosing the perfect flooring for your home


The floor is the first thing that people notice when they walk into any room. It sets the tone for everything from design to comfort, so choosing the right flooring for your home can impact how you live in it.

To achieve a pleasant flow, it’s important to consider how different materials, surfaces, and formats will interact both with each other and with the other features of your space—such as doors, cabinets, and even wall paint.

In this post, I’ll talk about some materials I like to use most frequently in my projects and how I combine them to create impactful designs.

Hard surface flooring is sophisticated and durable

By definition, a hard surface floor is any type of flooring that has no padding or cushion underneath it. Each type of solid floor offers its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Tile is popular for flooring because it comes in many styles and colors; you can use it in most areas of a home. Tile is a good choice for areas where there are children or pets because it's durable and easy to clean.

If you're looking for a durable, low-maintenance tile that can withstand heavy traffic, then porcelain is your best choice. It's denser than ceramic tiles, so it's heavier to carry and install. Porcelain comes in many colors and patterns to suit both traditional and contemporary designs. It also has a smooth finish that's easy to clean, making it perfect for high-traffic areas like kitchens and bathrooms.

Marble flooring is sophisticated and luxurious and possesses a gorgeous sheen. However, marble is much more delicate than porcelain, and polished marble can be slippery. This fabulous flooring is ideal for an entrance foyer, powder bath, kitchen, or living room.

NOTE: While the look of polished tiles can be stylish, they provide a high risk of slipping, which is the last thing you want if you have kids running around or elderly family members in your home.

Hardwood flooring offers the highest visual impact and resale value. It's always in high demand and is an easy choice to level up your home. It provides warmth, character, and good vibes to most spaces, making it an ideal flooring option for nearly any room in the house. It's safe to walk on for all ages and is easy to clean. The best part is that it can be easily restored or refinished if needed.

Area rugs can help soften a hard floor, adding color, texture and style to the room while dividing it into sections.

Soft surface flooring is comfortable to play and relax on

Carpeting is soft and warm underfoot, making it a popular choice for bedrooms, living rooms, or media rooms. It's durable and easy to clean—perfect for families with children or pets.

Carpet has a strong comeback, is available in a wide range of colors, styles, and patterns; this ensures that you can find exactly the right look for your home. It is also useful for creating a more acoustically pleasant environment, absorbing sound waves that would otherwise bounce back into a space with hardwood or tile floors.

Soft flooring is ideal for kids’ rooms, as children spend plenty of time on the floor—playing with their toys, or wrestling with siblings.

I get great results by using carpet tiles from FLOR, where I can combine patterns, textures, and unique colors to create a one-of-a-kind look for each of my clients.

How to choose the perfect color for your flooring

If you’re looking for a flooring style that will work in any space, a neutral color palette is the way to go. Neutral tones work well anywhere from casual rooms to formal spaces and can balance out any design scheme.

Using neutral colors and shapes can keep your home looking clean and modern, allowing you to spice it up with other, less permanent elements, such as an area rug, artwork, decorative accessories, or wall color.

Darker flooring, if cool-toned, provides a formal feeling. Warm colors on dark floors make the room feel cozy. Pale colors will give the room a light, airy feel and cooler colors are more formal-looking than warmer shades.

When people try to match their floor colors exactly to the décor, it usually ends up looking like a mistake. Since you can't always match the color exactly. it's best to create contrast or use colors that work together but don't look identical.

Opt for large-format tiles if you are considering tiles for a larger room. Long, linear lines will make the room appear even larger and more enticing. A rule of thumb I follow is that the larger the space, the larger the tile format you should use.

The rectangular and rectilinear formats provide better results when installed parallel to the longest wall of the space, and/or if they lead you to a view, such as a garden, fireplace, or other architectural or important decorative feature.

Diagonal flooring can help to create a sense of intimacy in a room that is too wide or narrow by drawing the eye toward the corner instead of the back wall. It's also a beautiful, perfect solution for rooms with irregular or angled walls.

Flooring transitions made simple

The flooring transition is the way you change from one floor type of a room to another. When planning your new flooring, choose something that will work well with the adjacent flooring and be cohesive. You want to create an uninterrupted flow throughout your home. It would be a shame to pick out several beautiful options only to realize that they don't go together.

Take advantage of architectural features, such as doorways, arches, or a change in floor level to create a justified and appealing transition. You can also add additional elements to obtain a well-thought transition, such as a threshold, a sill of a door, or a frame border.

For the main areas of a house, I recommend using one type of flooring throughout the space. This creates an open and fluid look that makes the house look ample and luxurious. Then you can choose additional flooring for specific areas, such as bedrooms, home offices, playrooms, and others.

PRO TIP: The “Rule of Three” for flooring states that you should see three or fewer types of flooring from any point in the home.


Think carefully about the look you're going for, what your flooring needs are, and how much you can afford. It's normal to want to get more bang for your buck, but keep in mind that flooring is a long-term investment in your home. The longer you plan to stay in your home, the better the quality should be. If you want your home to feel truly like home, the right flooring can be a big step in the right direction.

I hope my tips will inspire you to choose the flooring that's right for you. If you’re interested in learning how to create an atmosphere of comfort and warmth in your home, I’d be happy to speak with you. Please feel free to reach out !

Santiago Bernal is a Colombian-born designer whose work includes residences and hospitality interiors for clients throughout North and South America, the Caribbean Islands, the Middle East and Europe. Santiago's design philosophy is to create beautiful spaces with a contemporary elegance that harmonize with their surroundings and tread lightly on the planet.


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