Tips on How to Choose Floor Coverings

Lakehouse Dining Table detail

The flooring within your home serves as the foundation for its functionality and look, so the choices you make will affect how you live every day. Carpet, tile, hardwoods, and rugs have the potential to be major financial investments as well. We have some tips on how to choose the right floor coverings for your needs:

Determine the Needed Functionality

The kind of floor covering you choose will be greatly affected by the functionality you need. Each space in a home has different requirements. High traffic areas such as entryways and hallways need durable materials like tile and hardwoods; bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms need easily cleaned, sanitary materials; dining rooms lend themselves to rugs that can be sent out to be cleaned; and staircases, finished basements and bedrooms benefit from carpet for safety and noise control. Also consider providing soft, warm materials for spaces where people will sit on the floor, such as bedrooms and family rooms.

Note the Flow of Your Home

Take a look at how your rooms flow together, making sure that you do not see more than two types of floor coverings from any one vantage point. At Hoskins Interior Design, we prefer main living areas to be entirely covered in hard surfaces, adding soft coverings as needed. The hard surface materials are easily combined, mixing hardwoods with marble, tile or stone looks lovely, though we do keep to no more than two at a time. However, if you cannot see rooms from space to space, you have more options.

patterned marble floors
Entry and gallery hallway are covered with patterned marble. All other first floor spaces seen from these areas have wood flooring, covered with rugs where appropriate.

Hardwood Flooring

There are a lot of choices available for hardwood flooring. Make sure to install a material that will hold up to the expected traffic patterns in the space. The denser the wood the better for spaces like kitchens and hallways – we want the floors to be able to manage your high heels! Hickory, maple, and oak are good choices for these areas. Be sure to note the undertones in the wood species you choose. For example, oaks can be reddish and maple can be yellowish. Make sure those colors compliment the rest of your design scheme. We are often asked about engineered vs site-finished flooring. We prefer site-finished for its quality; however there are times when engineered can be the best option. Engineered wide planks can be more stable due to the lamination techniques, avoiding the cupping one can get with natural flooring options. Finally, have some fun with your wood flooring! The planks come in many sizes, and can be laid in different patterns or enhanced with inlays of other wood species like walnut or ebony. If you plan to mix patterns on one floor of your home, make sure to change the look at the thresholds of each room, allowing for a smooth transition from space to space. Plan to add rugs to your budget for hardwood floors as well!

How to Choose a Rug

Rugs greatly affect the color scheme of a room, and since they can be the most difficult element to find, we tend to start design projects by locating the right one. From there we choose fabrics and paint colors, both of which are much more readily available. For homes that will have rugs in adjacent rooms that can be seen all at one time, make sure the styles compliment each other. No tribal rugs near aubusson rugs please!

Blue Oriental Rug
This richly colored blue rug was set in a dining room adjacent to a foyer that had a red-based rug. The styles and colors complimented each other, pulling hues from each other to offer a smooth visual transition from space to space.


Feel free to mix materials when choosing rugs for your home. It is perfectly appropriate to set a sisal rug near an oriental rug, especially if you can see a lot of rugs from one spot in the house. The materials break up the patterns and textures.

Marble, Stone and Tile Flooring

At Hoskins Interior Design, we prefer natural stone materials over man-made for their durability and the color or texture variations. However, advances in technology have made man-made tile versions a viable option too. Beyond choosing from the many variations within each type of marble, stone or tile, you can affect the look of the floor by how you lay the pieces. Herringbone, stagger set, straight set, harlequin – choose a pattern that suits the style you are going for.

slate flooring with sisal rug
We placed a tone on tone sisal rug over this slate flooring to bring texture, softness and warmth to the large stone floor.]

We love slate. It is perfect as flooring in areas where there is a lot of going in and out as it hides soil well. Also, its earthy feel makes a nice transition from the outdoors to the home. We always suggest using fully-gauged slate because it has been finished to be smoother under foot, and will not trip people with unexpected lips in the stone.

Choose a Reputable Flooring Installer

Installation technique is critical to the success of your floors, so it is important that you hire a reputable installer. Your interior designer should have relationships with quality people, or you can reach out to friends who are doing a project similar to yours. The preparation behind flooring installation is the key to getting the look and longevity you expect. When interviewing an installer, ask them directly how they plan to install your flooring and if they stand by their work if something goes wrong down the road.

Do you have a favorite floor covering? Let us know what it is and why by leaving a comment below. Feel free to send us an email or give us a call at 317-253

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