Floors. You just don’t think about them until you’re renovating – and then, boom! Suddenly, you’re completely overwhelmed by all the choices.

Do you need hard floors, or carpets? If it’s the former, do you want wooden floorboards, or porcelain tiles, or laminate flooring? Then, once you’ve decided that part, then you have to figure out what size, colour, pattern and style you want.

So. Many. Decisions.


I know, more than anyone, how important it is to get the right flooring.

When we first moved in here 10 years ago and did our initial renovation, we fell in love with an Italian porcelain black/brown tile for the kitchen and dining area.

It was over our budget (by quite a substantial amount) but we loved it so much we decided to splash out. Our logic was that flooring is something you don’t notice much when it’s ‘right’, but stands out like a sore thumb when it’s wrong. So the choice you make really matters.

We took a deep breath and paid the money. As is often the case during renovations, the delivery schedule didn’t go entirely to plan. The tiles were delayed and ended up arriving on the exact day as the tiler was booked to fit them.

How lucky was THAT? I thought at the time.

I was out most of that day, and when I arrived home about half the tiles had been laid. Except, something just didn’t look right. Rather than a dark chocolate brown they had a reddish finish.

The tile company had sent the wrong colour. The tiler, obviously having no idea what we’d chosen, had ripped open the boxes and gone to work laying them down.

Thankfully, the company agreed to replace the tiles, get the wrong tiles ripped up and the right ones installed. But it meant delays, and our kitchen fitter was booked to arrive the very next day; if we missed that slot we wouldn’t have a kitchen for Christmas.

We umm’d and aah’d over it all day. We a two-year-old and a newborn baby, and winter was looming; we desperately needed our kitchen to be finished.

Couldn’t we just live with other tiles?

But the answer was simply no. It may have seemed unimportant to anyone else, but I knew it would bother me every single day. It had to go.

Luckily, the kitchen fitter was able to work around it by propping the cupboards so the new tiles could be slotted in retrospectively.

We dug it all up and relaid the correct ones, and as soon as it was done we knew we’d made the right decision. The floor was exactly how we’d imagined it when we chose the tiles, and complemented the countertops perfectly.


If Tile-gate did one thing (besides almost giving me an ulcer) it made me understand how important flooring is.

When choosing your finish there’s a lot you have to consider:

• In high traffic areas you need something really hardwearing, like stone, porcelain or ceramic tiles, or hardwood.

• Keep the character of period properties with reclaimed floorboards, or parquet-style flooring, which can be achieved either with hardwood or – as a cheaper alternative – from laminate boards.

• Is your priority style, or comfort? If it’s the former, you might opt for reclaimed floorboards, or even poured concrete for a contemporary, minimalist look. If it’s the latter (particularly if you have children) you might prefer the warmth and softness of carpet. Tip: put down cheap carpet while your children are very young and operating at maximum muckiness; you can look at upgrading when they’re older.

• Is underfloor heating on your ‘must-have’ list? If yes, this works best with tile and stone (although other forms of flooring can also be used).

• If your budget is tight, or you only need a temporary solution, there are some gorgeous vinyl and laminate flooring choices. If you decide to update in a couple of years, you haven’t already sunk thousands of pounds.

If you enjoyed ‘How to Choose Flooring that’s Perfect for You’, you might also like ‘How to Create a Living Plant Wall at Home‘.

• photo courtesy of Avery Klein, Unsplash

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