Choosing a Floor for Your Open-Plan Area

Published by Armstone

Open-plan areas can sometimes be tricky to decorate as there are several types of spaces in the one area. The flooring not only needs to match the styling of areas that look different, but it also needs to be a practical solution to many different uses.

The most common example of an open-plan area is a living space where, at times, there can be three distinct areas for use: kitchen, living room and dining room. And no pressure, but getting the floor right can often dictate how useful the space is.

Things to consider

There are three main questions you’ll need to consider when choosing the type of floor for an open-plan layout.

1. What is area being used for?

The reason for this is simple: it will determine how durable the floor needs to be. For kitchen and dining spaces, the floor needs to withstand possible spills of food and drink, some of which can contain oils. In a dining space, it also may need to handle tables and chairs scraping, and a lot of coming and going. The floor will also need to match several different textures used throughout the three rooms for example, the cabinetry of the kitchen, the texture of the dining table and chairs and the lounge furniture, which can be fabric or leather.

2. What kind of family are you?

If you have children, the floor needs to be exceptionally resilient. Think of everything they throw around and pull around with them as they move and the floor needs to withstand that. Also, if you have small kids or are going to have crawlers and toddlers in the near future, some flooring will simply, not be safe.

3. If you were to walk into the house as a potential buyer, would you be happy with the floor?

This is not just aesthetic, this is also how it has worn through the years. You need to put down a floor that is going to stand the test of time, wear-wise and fashion-wise.

Knowing your options

When choosing the flooring, you need to weigh up the positives and negatives of each type. And there are a number to choose from, including timber floorboards and tiles.

Timber floorboards

The first great thing about timber floorboards, whether real timber, laminate or timber-looking tiles, is that they can be laid in a number of ways including traditional or herringbone. Additionally, they can be stained in various colours to suit the design and style of your home, and they come in different widths.

The look and feel is warm and inviting, and when the wear and tear happens, there is the option to sand back if they are real timber and restore them to their former glory. The look is also well-suited to a number of differently styled homes and furnishings so you can often choose whatever sofa or dining table you wish and it’s highly likely they will match the floor.

However, if using real timber, the material can be quite soft and susceptible to scratches and dents. Also, if not installed correctly with the right underlay, it can get quite noisy for people in any apartments below.

Tiles and stone

Of course, when it comes to tiles, there are a number of different kinds of tiles available – stone, travertine, marble and porcelain included. A wonderful thing about tiles is that the style can be carried out to any outdoor areas creating an inviting and cohesive flow through your home.

Generally, tiles can withstand quite a bit of wear and tear and because of how they are laid, you can install underfloor heating to physically warm up the area. Conversely, turn the underfloor heating off in summer and the floor is cool to touch. Plus, generally it means the room is cooler so there’s less of a need for fans or air-conditioning. Of course, when you look at tiles through the winter months, underfloor heating can become quite costly meaning the room can get quite cold as the weather cools but a few seasonal rugs could be a suitable solution. Finally, surfaces such as travertine can be susceptible to stains so it’s imperative that it’s sealed correctly.

Dressing the rooms

Choosing a flooring is not just about the material of the floor itself, it’s also about how you will furnish the spaces.

Most open-plan spaces will require a hard floor rather than carpet. It’s also, generally, a more desired material to use in open-plan areas as it creates a sense of spaciousness and is much easier to clean, especially in the kitchen and dining areas where you’re dealing with food.

Whether you opt for timber floorboards, tiles or stone, this means you may need to bring in different textures to take the edge off – think rugs, cushions and throws. Whatever flooring you choose will have a direct impact on the style, colours and textures of any textiles you purchase.

The layout of the open-plan area will also impact how you furnish and design the room. For example, open-plan can sometimes mean your sofa does not back onto a wall so this needs to be considered when purchasing furniture.

The great thing about having a common floor is that regardless of the different textures, colours and elements of each ‘room’ there is a cohesive theme that runs throughout.

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