The Importance of Flooring
Updated: Mar 15
How to Visually Alter a Room Using Flooring Techniques
When an interior designer considers the design of a room they look at line, form, shape, space, light, colour, pattern, and texture. The choice of flooring in a room can affect all of these design aspects and flooring forms an important part of the overall design of a room.
There are dozens of materials, colours and patterns to choose from when selecting a flooring material. Each combination will have specific effects on a room including making it feel like a larger or smaller space. Jonathan Sapir, Managing Director of London based oak flooring company Wood and Beyond will examine some tips for making a space feel larger or smaller by changing the materials, colour and patterns of your floors.
Types of Flooring that Make a Room Look Larger
You may have a room in the house which feels a bit too small. These tips can open up a space and give the impression of more space, light and height in an area.
Timber flooring with wide and/or long planks
Large pieces of timber can make a small room feel significantly larger. The eye is drawn to the large boards, which provide a sense of solidity and space. Best results are usually achieved by choosing a light timber planks that are over 4” wide and have small grain.
Use large patterns, tiles and stones
Similar to using large/long timber planks, large tiles will increase the sense of space in a room. The fewer joints between the pieces the better. Consider using light-coloured grout for tiles.
Carpet can often work well because it does not have seams
Completely avoiding the lines and patterns of tiles or timbers planks can create the feeling of more space.
Avoid carpet and linoleum with lots of patterns
Patterns will draw the eye and requires a great deal of visual processing. Instead, use a plain colour that matches the colour of the furniture you will be using.
Lay flooring on the diagonal This technique fools the eye into viewing the floor from a different perspective, which changes how people perceive the available space in a room. The technique can be used with any flooring material including tiles, linoleum, and timber. The popular herringbone design uses this effect well.
Light materials can open a space up Light-coloured materials can make a space feel more open, light and airy. Light timbers including ash, pine, birch, white oak or red oak are particularly useful for creating a light space that still has some character.
Alternatively, try a dark material to draw the eye upwards Dark timbers, tiles and materials like slate can make people look upwards when entering a room. By combining dark flooring with a cool wall colour and decorative mouldings on a ceiling, you can make a room feel much larger. This technique works particularly well if you have high ceilings and good lighting in the room. When entering the room, the visitor will feel compelled to take in the entirety of the space.
Use lines and patterns to join spaces Flooring can be used to join two living spaces together. By having straight lines or diagonal shapes pointing into the adjacent room, you can link the two spaces together. Also maintain consistency between spaces — if you use slate tiles in one small space, carry it on to the next
lines parallel to the longest wall in the room This tip is particularly useful for timber boards. Run them parallel to the longest wall in the room to increase the feeling of space in a room.
Types of Flooring that makes a room look smaller
Flooring can also make a cavernous room feel smaller and cosier. Some tactics to make a room feel smaller include:
Use floorboards of standard width
Floorboards which are between 2” to 3” wide provide a classic look to a room and make it feel like a smaller space.
Use dark, warm and rich colours
Slate tiles, dark stained timber and richly coloured dark carpets can make a large space feel cosy and warm. Carpets in large stately homes were typically richly coloured and full with patterns for this reason.
Change the flooring between spaces If you have timber running along a hallway, use carpet or tiles in the lounge room to separate the spaces.
Avoid simple and plain flooring Avoid flooring that has a lack of colour, textures and lines. For example, plain white tiles or plain concrete should be avoided. Instead choose dark timbers with lots of interesting grain, colourful carpets or character-filled ceramic tiles.
Use rugs to break the space up You don’t have to redo your entire floor to make a space feel cosy. Simply add a few rugs to break up the space.
Use patterns and texture Try any flooring material that has patterns, grain or a high level of texture. It will draw the gaze downwards, minimising the effect of the high ceiling and will make the space cosier.
Thanks for reading.
Written by Jonathan Sapir, Managing Director of London based oak flooring company Wood and Beyond.