Real Estate

The floor show: Keep your carpets and tiles a step ahead of the crowd 

Long gone are the days of floors being a last thought when doing up a home. 

Thanks to the dazzling choice of designs now on offer, embarking on a new flooring project is far more exciting than you might have imagined.

From polka dots or swathes of flowers cascading across your carpet to wooden flooring steeped in history, you can now adorn your floor with almost anything. Here’s the lowdown on where to find the best floor for your needs.

Charming: A contrasting herringbone tiled floor sets off a free-standing bath

Characterful carpets  

The fabulous offerings of patterned carpets in striking colours will have you rethinking the safe option of a single colour weave.

Brintons, one of Britain’s oldest carpet manufacturers, has a series of collections with daring designs. Its newest takes on the tradition of floral carpets and include patterns with leaves that curl gently against each other in the pile and hexagon designs mimicking nature’s cell structures.

Another range designed by Timorous Beasties features butterflies in flashes of colour such as the Ruskin butterfly. There’s also a dramatic Seal Grain Du Bois pattern with black on grey wood grain design (all from £97.99 per sq m).

At Alternative Carpets, there are polka dots, honeycombs and, if you’re feeling brave, subtle snow leopard print in greys, blues and mustard (from £111.80 per sq m).

Wow with wood   

If you’re after a sleek look, a wooden floor gives a desirable finish. Go for pale shades for a Scandi mood, reclaimed for rustic and dark woods to add drama.

With sustainability in mind, the reclaimed route is becoming ever more popular. Manufacturer Ted Todd says reclaimed woods are leading the way, with sales rising 117 per cent compared with last year.

The company has launched a new collection of pines reclaimed from locations across Yorkshire and Lancashire, including the Horwich Locomotive Works, where they made weapons and tanks for both World Wars.

You could also snap up reclaimed wood from the Liverpool Docks and the War Offices where Winston Churchill worked (prices from £92.09).

At Havwoods, a new collection of Douglas fir wood features wide planks which will accentuate large, open-plan rooms (from £113.95 per sq m). There’s been a surge in demand for parquet floors, namely herringbone.

Ted Todd’s founder, Robert Walsh, said: ‘The herringbone layout is a great space manipulator, allowing you to make smaller spaces feel larger with an increasing number of repeating blocks.’

As well as the high-end wood specialists you can find good flooring at B&Q (from £32.40 per sq m) and Wickes (from £36 per sq m).

Cheat sheet   

Love the look of stone, but want the practicality of porcelain? Wood and stone-effect floor tiles provide the perfect solution. 

Porcelain tiles are robust as the material is engineered to be strong and hard-wearing, meaning it doesn’t scratch or dent like natural wood can from chair legs or high-heel shoes. 

The wood-effect plank shaped tiles allow you to replicate natural oak or pale-wash driftwood.

Quorn Stone has every shade of wood-effect tiles you might want, with finishes such as limewash, natural oak and weathered grey (from £26.82 per sq m).

Vote vinyl  

Vinyl is more synonymous with office flooring than a home. Yet more families are opting for the material, thanks to its hard-wearing and low maintenance properties. 

Often laid in sheets, it can be an inexpensive way to add colour and pattern without compromising on safety or quality.

David Snazel, at Carpetright, says: ‘Developments in design and styles mean the effects vinyl can emulate, such as tile or wood, are incredibly realistic.

‘Before purchasing, it’s important to look at the detail and whether it is replicating the desired flooring style’s elements. 

Do the knots and grains in the wood look authentic or is the colouring of the stone similar to the natural material? Choosing a design that has a slightly worn look will make any flaws less noticeable.’

It’s worth visiting a store or ordering samples to make sure you can view the finish yourself (from £13.99 per sq m). 

What your home needs is a… bathroom plant 

Online retailer  Patch offers the Dragon plant (£80)

Online retailer  Patch offers the Dragon plant (£80)

The return to fashion of the houseplant continues, and now it’s bidding for space in the bathroom.

This may be linked to the fashion for turning this room into a spa-like sanctuary. Your home needs a bathroom plant because it presents a chance to show off your green fingers.

Patch, the online retailer, rates the Boston fern (£3 to £30, depending on size) and the Dragon plant (£80) as some of the most suitable bathroom plants. 

Others cite the aspidistra, £26.99 available at Waitrose Garden; the calathea, £10 at B&Q, or the sansavieria from £16 at Hortology.

And you can mix artificial plants with the real thing. Marks & Spencer has a large palm (£79) and an extra large orchid (£55).

Anne Ashworth


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