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Decorating is more than just what you walk on; it is an integral part of your home and a noticeable component of your decor. New technologies mean that your options have expanded, which can make choosing new flooring a bit confusing.

The first thing is to figure out who will be using the floor and how it will be used. Children, especially babies and toddlers, require soft surfaces because they generally spend as more time sitting, lying and playing on the floor as they do in chairs or at tables. Stain resistance is another must for busy households, especially if the "children" have four legs instead of two. Fortunately, there is a style and material of flooring to fit every lifestyle as well as every budget.

Vinyl is generally the least expensive flooring choice. When laid down in sheets, it is water-resistant, easy to install, simple to clean and comfortable to walk on. The drawbacks are that vinyl tiles can lift at the corners letting moisture seep underneath. Some brands yellow or fade and it is nearly impossible to repair.

Linoleum is only a few dollars more expensive than vinyl while being even more durable. Linoleum can be laid down like tiles and even hand-cut into custom shapes. It is made of all natural materials, unlike vinyl, which is important if you are keeping green. It must be resealed once per year.

Laminate is one of the easiest flooring types for you to install yourself. It resembles natural materials and has few downsides, the main ones being that it can be scratched and it cannot be refinished. Laminate can also be slippery, so consider area rugs in high-traffic areas.

Wood is still the most popular choice for flooring. Warm, graceful and durable, it is long-lasting and can be refinished if it dulls or becomes scratched. Wood must be sealed so that moisture cannot damage its surface and very soft woods are easily dented. As with laminate, bare wood floors benefit from scattered rugs, although in the case of authentic wood, their purpose is to protect the floors and keep high-traffic areas from becoming worn.

Bamboo is one of the newer flooring options available. It is renewable and very strong, but it requires a little more care than natural wood. It is also slightly more expensive and has a tendency to darken when exposed to constant sunlight.

Tile, whether porcelain or ceramic, is an excellent choice for kitchens and bathrooms because it is nearly impossible to damage or stain through normal use. Even when porcelain tiles are scratched, the damage shows less because the color is consistent throughout the thickness of the tile. Certain types of tile can be slippery when wet, so bath mats and small area rugs in front of the kitchen sink are a good idea.

Stone floors can be pricey, but they are elegant and nearly indestructible. Sealed stone is easy to clean, but anything dropped on a stone floor is likely to shatter. Stone floors, especially marble and limestone, can be damaged and stained and they are very difficult to repair.

Cork is another newcomer to the home flooring market and is rising in popularity due to its warm look and durable comfort. Cork must be resealed with polyurethane every six to 12 months.

Carpet is an excellent choice in colder climates and in busy households where the maintenance involved in wood, bamboo or cork is simply not practical. Carpets are available in nearly any color, size, texture or material you can imagine, making it the most versatile choice for any home.

The design professionals at DecoratingPedia™ remind you to always deal with knowledgeable and professional floor covering experts such as those at Dunelm Mill, whether you are looking for sleek woven carpets, cute shaggy rugs or anything in between.


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