Affordable Flooring Options

Wide plank laminate wood flooring was used throughout the kitchen and main level of this kitchen and eating area as a capable substitute for more costly hardwood.

Laminate wood flooring: pretty and practical

If you like the look of wood, but the budget is limited, laminate wood flooring is a solid alternative. Many people prefer it over hardwood in high traffic areas for its durability.Like a cake, laminate wood flooring is made in layers. On the bottom, a backing protects the floor from warping. The next layer is made of fiberboard, an engineered wood product that is hard and dense and gives the floor stability. The fiberboard is covered with a high-resolution, very detailed photographic image of natural wood. Finally, a clear, top layer protects from stains, scratches and fading. Laminate can be installed in any room, even moisture-prone bathrooms and basements.Looking for flooring that's easy on the eyes and the bank account? You're in luck! There’s a plethora of flooring on the market today that looks great and won't blow your budget.

The floor in this award-winning kitchen looks like stone, but it's really sheet vinyl!

Luxury vinyl: an impressive imposter

Like wood laminate, luxury vinyl is also manufactured in layers. Digital imaging is used to replicate the look of more costly natural materials, such as stone, slate, marble, ceramic, quartz, travertine and wood.Available in sheets, tiles and planks, the bottom-most layer is a vinyl backing, which provides structure and durability. The photo realistic middle-design layer captures the look of a wide variety of luxurious natural materials in an array of beautiful colors. And the top layer is a protective wear layer.Advances in digital imaging have created an explosion of design options in both luxury vinyl and laminate wood flooring. Vinyl plank flooring looks like wood, but it’s waterproof, making it a practical choice for mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, or kitchens.

Linoleum can be cut in interesting patterns, shapes and borders.

Linoleum: making a comeback

Old-fashioned linoleum is making a comeback in fresh, enticing colors and patterns. This environmentally-friendly product is made from natural materials like linseed oil, recycled wood flour, cork dust and limestone. It’s anti-bacterial and biodegradable. Designers and homeowners are rediscovering linoleum for its design character. It’s very durable and with proper care will withstand the test of time. On the downside, it does require a bit more maintenance than it’s modern counterpart, vinyl.

Some ceramic tile – like this classic gray 12" glazed square – never goes out of style.

Ceramic tile can last for centuries

Ceramic tiles consist of finely-powdered clay that is blended with water, pressed into shape and fired in a kiln. Ceramic is durable, moisture- and bacteria-resistant, easy to keep clean and can last (quite literally) for centuries. It comes in an amazing array of colors, textures and sizes. Whether you're earthy and casual or elegant and chic, there's a ceramic tile that suitable for your space.

Left: photo by loongren/widell for lovelylife | Right: natural area rugs

Ye old wood floor

If you already have wood floors, consider refinishing or painting them. Painted wood floors are especially popular in contemporary, cottage, urban, euro, and eclectic designs.Or,embrace the “patina” in your floors and make them part of your design. Many people are paying top-dollar these days for materials that mimic the look of well-worn wood.


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