Living room flooring ideas – from wooden flooring and tiles to durable yet stylish carpet

We have plenty and ideas and advice about what surface to choose
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  • Living room flooring is a big investment, as it’ll most likely be one of the biggest, if not the biggest room in the house to furnish. It’s not a decision to take lightly. After all, you don’t want to run the risk of not being happy with the outcome, after making the investment.

    There are many living room flooring ideas and the right solution for you is determined by many factors.

    ‘When selecting your living room flooring, think carefully about the use of the space and the existing colour scheme,’ advises Jemma Dayman, buyer at Carpetright. ‘Consider a minimalist style if you already have strong focal points, such as statement wallpaper in the room. Or look at bold and patterned options to brighten a neutral room.’

    ‘When choosing your flooring opt for a durable and hardwearing style, with a high stain resistance, as this is essential for high traffic areas such as the living room.’

    What is the best flooring for a living room?

    In terms of best type, there are a number of different qualities that might determine ‘the best’ for your home. If you live in a busy household with young children and pets for instance, carpet might not be the most practical option. Best in this case might be a wooden or tiled flooring option that is more susceptible for frequent cleaning to prevent germs.

    If you don’t have to take these factors into consideration a carpet might prove best, to add texture and warmth to the room. Also take into consideration the noise quality, in a flat for instance. Carpet or a vinyl flooring will prove quieter underfoot, a plus for both you and your neighbours.

    Is your space open-plan and therefore attached to your kitchen? In which case you may consider a flooring type such as tiles or concrete that acts as a continuation from the kitchen area. Take a look below to see how zoning the spaces can be easily achieved, if this is your desired look.

    What is the most popular flooring in homes today?

    ‘Carpet has never really gone out of fashion and is only increasing in popularity because of its soft feel, warmth and the vast array of colours, textures and patterns’ explains Charles Annable, managing director at Brockway.

    ‘Nothing feels as luxurious as a plush, deep pile carpet and the majority of consumers wouldn’t dream of using anything else in cosy areas of the home such as bedrooms and lounge rooms. There’s no substitute for settling down for the evening and feeling the deep pile of a natural wool carpet under foot’.

    Can you use vinyl flooring in a living room?

    vinyl wood living room flooring with grey walls and velvet furniture

    Coniston Collection, in Blea, from £43.99- £84.99 per m sq, Carpetright

    ‘Luxury vinyl is an elegant, affordable and easy to fit flooring for the living room’ explains David Snazel, buyer of hard flooring at Carpetright.  ‘In recent years there have been many developments that mean luxury vinyl can effectively emulate more expensive design styles, such as wood and stone finishes, without the cost.’

    ‘They are not only highly water resistant, low maintenance and easy to look after but also compatible with underfloor heating if you’re looking to bring a touch of warmth to the room. Being both practical and durable luxury vinyl is particularly suited to bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms and hallways.’

    Living room flooring ideas

    1. Insulate with plush carpet

    grey living room carpet

    Dimensions Heathers in Arctic Grey, from £36 per m sq, Brockway

    Carpet can be as practical as it is pretty. ‘As well as being tactile and comforting, investing in good quality flooring offers other more subtle but nevertheless important benefits for your home. A well fitted carpet will help to keep your floors draft free adding another layer of insulation to your home’ explains Charles Annable at Brockway.

    When it comes to carpets underlay is important on many levels. Why? ‘Because it reduces wear of the flooring, making it more resilient’ explains Jemma Dayman at Carpetright. ‘And, more importantly, it offers a softer and more luxurious feel.’

    ‘Opting for a thicker underlay will boost the longevity of your flooring. A good underlay can make a big difference to a value carpet, helping to make it feel plusher underfoot’. And of course, a good underlay offers better heat insulation.

    2. Add texture with a natural carpet

    White living room with coir carpet

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Carpets don’t always have to be plush, materials such as seagrass, coir and sisal boucle have become increasing popular in recent years – as we strive to create a more natural, artisan feel for our homes. Due to the natural state of these materials often the colour palette is neutral, showing the texture even more so.

    ‘Using neutral tones in a room can help make the most of natural light, ensuring the room feels bright, airy and spacious,’ explains Jemma Dayman at Carpetright.

    3. Zone and protect carpets with rugs

    Living room with wooden wall with built-in shelves

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Layers can work wonders when it comes to protecting lighter carpets. So don’t be put off opting for a neutral carpet because of your current lifestyle, for instance having young children, because a rug can preserve the lifespan of carpets.

    Even if that’s not the case you might still be dubious choosing lighter carpets incase of stains. A rug can go a long way to add reassurance in certain areas – such as under a coffee table, where spills are more likely to occur. ‘Consider the placement of your rug carefully. Being so versatile rugs can be moved to another area or indeed room should you change your mind’ points out Suzy McMahon, Buying Director at Sofology.

    ‘Not only do rugs add comfort and warmth underfoot, ideal for cooler early mornings and chilly evenings, they bring a luxurious layer to a scheme. Additionally a carefully selected rug can add character to a space whilst emphasising an accent colour or chair.’

    Related: Lynsey Queen of Clean reveals surprising beauty product that works on carpet stains

    4. Embrace original floorboards

    coastal living room with original wooden flooring

    Image credit: David Brittain

    There’s a certain rustic charm you can only achieve with exposed wooden floorboards. What to consider when using original floorboards? They might not all be in great shape They may be draughty, so be sure to insulate where necessary, particularly underneath and around the windows on exterior walls.

    5. Choose engineered wood for a smart finish

    Green living room with wooden floor

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    ‘An option that is becoming increasingly popular is engineered wood. A quality alternative to solid wood flooring,’ explains Richard Cullen, head of hard flooring at Carpetright.

    ‘Each plank is finished with a layer of natural wood to create an authentic look that will last. It’s also the perfect solution for keeping costs down without compromising on style. Hard wearing and durable, it’s ideal for high traffic areas that would benefit from being easy to clean.’

    ‘Advances in flooring technology have led to innovations in creating realistic wood finishes at a fraction of the price. Laminate flooring in particular has become a quality and affordable option for customers. Easy to install and low maintenance, it provides a wealth of styles to choose from.’

    6. Fake floorboards with affordable vinyl

    Yellow living room with wood flooring

    Kahrs Tres Erve Matt Lacquered Wood Flooring, £54.99 per m sq, Carpetright

    Doing it yourself is a sure way to save some money, to make the project more affordable. Just be sure to throughly read the manufacturers advice and watch tutorial videos if you’re a novice.

    ‘Many luxury vinyl styles are available as planks with an inventive click system; meaning there are incredibly easy to install with no need for glue. Each plank clicks together to create a seamless floating floor with a smooth, authentic finish’ says David Snazel at Carpetright.

    7. Add charm with traditional tiles

    Image credit: Caroline Arber

    Invite a sense of traditional charm to your living room by retaining the original tiles flooring – or installing your own. Terracotta tiles welcome a certain country style, proving to be a popular choice for cottages and period properties.

    Rugs are the ideal way to add warmth to practical tiled flooring. Style tip: ‘Neutral shades can open smaller spaces whilst darker shades and patterns can make a statement that transforms a room. Distressed styles balance the two to create a stylish and inviting lived in look’ says Suzy McMahon at Sofology.

    8. Choose a shade to suit the space

    living room with dark wooden floor

    Image credit: Oliver Gordon

    ‘The shade of wood is one of the most important factors to consider. Would your room suit a deep, dark, luxurious walnut or is an understated oak or beech more appropriate?’ asks Richard Cullen, head of hard flooring at Carpetright. ‘For small rooms, a light wood finish with a single plank design will help create the perception of space. Alternatively, in larger rooms you could consider a chevron pattern, to add an element of grandeur and texture. ’

    A darker floor choice can help to anchor the space. Especially with white ceilings the use of a darker flooring – whether carpet, wood or tile, can help to give a sense of purpose.

    9. Make it modern with contemporary concrete-effect

    Grey living room with polish concrete flooring

    Image credit: Katya de Grunwald

    The polished concrete look has become more and more popular in recent years, with the rise of open-plan living. The flooring choice once restricted to kitchen is offering a contemporary feel for our living rooms too now.

    Read more: Polished concrete flooring – everything you need to know

    The look can be easily achieve now thanks to a luxury vinyl, to save on the expense of having your flooring professional tailored.

    Modern day vinyl tiles can offer stone, slate and concrete effects that look just like the real thing. This is a great flooring choice for open-plan living room spaces if you want your flooring to be a continuation through from the kitchen area. Zoning with rugs can help to separate the areas and also add warmth – because all of these modern finished can sometimes feel a bit cold.

    The beauty of vinyl over the real thing is the maintenance. Faux flooring measures are more durable and easier to clean than the real thing, because the material is less porous and easy marking.

    10. Add personality with patterned carpets

    blue living room with striped carpet

    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    If your style is bold and brace then a patterned carpet is a great choice. Stripes help to add a uniformed pattern, that feels bold without overpowering – such as that of a floral or heavy geometric pattern.

    ‘Over the past year, we can see that people are going bolder with pattern and colour for carpets’ comments Joanna Ramsden, creative director at Grosvenor Wilton. ‘In the same way that homeowners threw caution to the wind with bold paint and wallpaper trends over the last two years, this ‘bolder the better’ outlook has trickled down to flooring.’

    More for floors: Polished concrete flooring – everything you need to know

    ‘We attribute part of the reason for this to developments in manufacturing capabilities. New technologies mean creating intricate designs in multiple colours and textures for carpets is far more achievable than ever before, meaning colourful and patterned quality carpets can be produced affordably and easily adopted into the home.’

    Which flooring best suits your needs?

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