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How to Choose Flooring for the Whole House: Common Questions Answered

25 Jan 2023

Whether you are building a brand new home or renovating your current one, choosing your flooring is an important task. Flooring choice sets the foundation for the look and feel of the entire home. It can create consistency of design, accentuate natural light, or even make a room look more spacious.

Read more to learn some of the guidelines to stick to when selecting your flooring and get answers to some of the most common questions that arise when it comes to choosing flooring for your home.

How to Choose Flooring for the Whole House

Maybe you are building a home from scratch, perhaps you're making some changes to your current home.  But regardless of all, you are looking for some help and guidance to choose the ideal flooring for your house.

After all, there are unwritten rules that you have to follow, right? You can't just use whatever flooring material you like in whatever room in the house, can you? 

Thankfully, the choice is totally up to you, but it’s wise to follow some standard guidelines when it comes to choosing your floor. Read on to learn more about these guidelines, and to get answers to some of the most common questions that arise when it comes to choosing flooring for your home.

Project: The Caves Palms Residence by Jodie and Phil Dunn. Product: HW3573 Ryde Herringbone Timber Flooring

Should you use the same flooring throughout your whole house?

You might be wondering: should I be choosing the same kind of flooring throughout my house? You can certainly do this if you want to. There's no reason not to do it. 

However, there’s plenty of reasons why homeowners also prefer different types of flooring in different rooms. It comes down to preference, style and practicality.

If you’re going to use the same floor throughout your home, you should check it's capable of withstanding all types of wear and tear. Not only should it resist standard physical use, but it should also be resistant to water exposure and practical for different temperatures as well. 

Straight off the bat, carpet isn't really a great choice for a whole-home flooring option. It's vulnerable to water and doesn't work well in kitchens or bathrooms. 

On the other hand, timber flooring, tiles, stone flooring and the like hold up extremely well when subjected to the occasional spill. They're also highly resistant to physical wear and tear and can make a great whole-home flooring option.

If you opt to use different flooring materials throughout your home, you should be sure to pick and position them strategically. Make sure that your chosen materials excel in their designated rooms, and that they cut off in aesthetically appropriate areas. For instance, don't extend a given material far past the confines of its respective room. Make sure it cuts off at the edge of the room so as to create a natural-looking barrier.

Project: Grantley Hall, UK. Product: HW16602 Notte Chevron timber flooring and HW16407 Notte Plank border, with transition to carpet flooring.

Should your upstairs flooring be the same as your downstairs flooring?

We've already mentioned that you can switch flooring materials from room to room. So, there's nothing wrong with using different flooring materials upstairs and downstairs, respectively. 

That said, you could create uniformity by using the same flooring material in the common parts of each floor. For instance, you could use local timber flooring in all hallway areas, regardless of whether or not they're on the upper or lower level of your home. This will provide your home with aesthetic symmetry, giving it a theme that the mind can latch onto. 

Sure, you could use different materials for different levels, but the aesthetic of your home might feel much less cohesive if not done with consideration to the overall design.

Image: Havwoods HW1390 Versailles Natural timber flooring and matching HW1396 Natural plank timber flooring on stairs.

Should you use the same flooring in your bathrooms as in the rest of your house?

Let's say that you have timber flooring throughout the entirety of your house. Would it still be alright to use it in your bathroom? 

There are downsides to using timber flooring in a bathroom. Most notably, bathrooms produce a lot of water and humidity, and timber floors do not respond well to water or high humidity. Havwoods do not recommend using timber flooring in bathrooms as it can be problematic. Regular exposure to moisture can result in your timber flooring warping and buckling prematurely. Depending on the extent of the water that it's exposed to, it could lose anywhere from 2 to 10 years of its life.

If you’re really interested in using wood flooring in your bathroom, contact us to speak with one of our experts to discuss how this could be possible for your project.

In most cases, homeowners opt for a different flooring material in the bathroom. Some good choices for bathrooms include porcelain, stone, and ceramic. Vinyl can be an option flooring material for bathrooms as well.

Using different types of timber flooring throughout a house: yes or no?

Now, let's say that you decide to go with timber flooring. You might be wondering: is it alright to use different types of wood in different areas of my home? The answer is that it’s totally up to you.

You could use different types of timber in different living areas if you wanted. On one hand, it would allow you to distinctly split up the sections of your home. On the other hand, using a single type of wood flooring brings a sense of sophistication and uniformity to your home. So, in the end, it's up to you.

Project: Forest Lodge Home, UK. Product: HW3622 Blanco Sustainably Certified timber flooring

Should all bedrooms have the same flooring?

Now, what about bedrooms? Should they all use the same flooring as each other? Using the same flooring material in your bedrooms would certainly provide your home with a uniform feel.

That said, there's nothing wrong with switching it up from room to room. You could even use a different flooring material in the bedrooms and change this up when you reach communal living spaces. The options are endless.

Should you use the same flooring in the hallway and kitchen?

Again, this is completely up to you. These days, many people opt to use the same flooring material in every room of their house, with the exception of the bathroom. It's generally regarded as a good practice to use moisture-appropriate material in bathrooms. 

Hallways and kitchens are generally high-traffic areas. They tend to be used most regularly, and damaged more easily than the floors in your bedroom.

As your kitchen is the space most likely to be exposed to regular spills, it’s important to make sure that whatever material you choose, it’s durable enough (and treated appropriately) to ensure it's easy to clean and maintain. 

In this case, slate or tile are definitely the most straightforward options, but timber floors increasingly are popular with many homeowners, and can be treated and maintained in a way that’s ideal for kitchen and hallways spaces.

Havwoods engineered timber is a very popular choice for both kitchens and hallways. It is easy to maintain and keep clean and provides a stunning foundation for any kitchen or hallway design.

Project: Duntroon House, NSW by Dieppe Design. Product: HW2502 Champagne PurePlank sustainably certified timber flooring

Interior design rules for flooring

If you want a clean and uniform look, using the same material is the way to go. This can create an illusion of size, and can even make smaller rooms in your home seem roomier.

If your goal is to create a look that everyone will enjoy, using a uniform material is probably the best option, as it’s the most sophisticated and stylish choice. However, if you're looking for something with more personality, or even a little more eccentric, you could use several fun flooring materials to bring energy into your home.

Using multiple materials will give your home a more unique presence. It will perhaps make it more memorable and stand-out against other homes in your area.

Looking to appeal to many? Go with one flooring solution. Looking to stand out? Choose multiple materials.

Project: Private Home, Freshwater NSW, designed by Your Beautiful Home. Product: HW3606 Fendi character grade timber flooring

What types of flooring are available?

Let's get into the specific types of flooring that are available on the market today. They include, but aren't limited to the following:

Timber flooring

Timber flooring is the most popular flooring material on the market at the moment. Known for its classic and attractive aesthetic, it brings a sense of authenticity to your home, providing style and simplicity.

But it's not just aesthetically pleasing. It's also highly functional. When looked after well, your timber floors can last for decades.

Depending on your choice of wood and finish, timber can be quite hardy, and can therefore withstand all manner of wear and tear. Like any flooring, it requires maintenance, but this is generally a quick and easy sweep up of dust or a mop with a timber flooring spray mop.

With so many varieties of timber flooring on the market, you can pick from a variety of styles. Parquet timber flooring? Wide wood panels? Herringbone? Chevron? Engineered wood? There’s plenty to choose from. Often, it’s easy to grab a few samples before making your decision.

Stone flooring

Like timber, stone has a natural, wearable aesthetic and can bring a great deal of life to a home.

Stone flooring lasts hundreds of years. While it can crack, it's generally quite resistant to physical trauma. Therefore, it doesn't often require maintenance outside of standard cleaning.

Of course, there are downsides to stone flooring. It’s very cold, and sometimes difficult to clean if textured. Additionally, it’s one of the most expensive flooring materials on the market. So, while, yes, it provides great bang for its buck, its initial cost will put quite a dent in your bank account.

Carpet 

There is also, of course, carpet flooring. Carpet has a lot of upsides, including everything from comfort, soundproofing capabilities, and more. It's available in a wide variety of colours and lengths, and can be found in unique patterns. 

That said, there are plenty of downsides to carpet flooring. It has limited longevity and is prone to tearing, denting and staining. It's also difficult to clean, and not a great option to choose if you have pets, or suffer from allergies.

Laminate Flooring

Another popular flooring material is laminate. It holds a number of positive characteristics and is known for both its functionality and aesthetics. 

Most laminate flooring is manufactured to look like treated hardwood. That said, there are some laminate flooring options that look like stone, and others that are shaped into tiles. 

Laminate flooring is fairly affordable and, while it's not as durable as hardwood, will still last at least 15 years or more. This makes it a great budget option. 

It can be susceptible to water damage and scratches though, so we don’t recommend it if you have plenty of foot traffic through your home. 

Vinyl flooring

Vinyl flooring is similar to laminate flooring in both functionality and appearance. That said, it's a little more durable than laminate. It’s water-resistant, and a great alternative for kitchens, bathrooms, and beyond. 

Vinyl flooring can last up to 25 years, though it's more expensive than laminate. Therefore, it might not necessarily provide more bang for its buck. 

Both vinyl and laminate flooring are not recyclable and can contain harmful VOCs so be sure to check this before purchasing.

Tile

Tile flooring is tough and durable, capable of lasting at least 50 years or more. Resistant to scratching, denting, water exposure, and all other forms of physical damage, it's easy to care for.

Tiles are available in a variety of colours and styles. You can also choose different coloured grouts. As such, tile floors can bring a lot of variety to your decor.

Tiles however can be cold and slippery. Aesthetically, tiles can go out of style and also be more expensive than timber.

It’s time to choose your floors

Now that we’ve discussed how to choose your flooring for the whole house, it’s time for you to go and do it! Take these guidelines to heart and be diligent in choosing your preferred materials. Whether timber, vinyl, carpet, or otherwise, your floors should be both practical and aesthetically pleasing. 

Interested in installing timber flooring? If so, you're in the right place. Havwoods has a wide variety of timber for you to choose from. Visit a showroom today, or feel free to reach out and speak to an expert to learn more about choosing the right timber floors for your home.


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Visit Your Local Showroom

Visit your local Havwoods showroom to speak with our experts, explore our products and discover your dream timber flooring for your project.

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