Your floors are subject to a lot of abuse. Dirty shoes accumulate in the entranceway, muddy paws wander through each hallway, and chair legs scratch across your dining area on a daily basis.
Before you decide on a flooring option, think about the use of each room. While hardwood or carpeting may be great in one room, it is not always the best for another. These are some important things to remember:
If you and your family are prone to stepping in mud and dirt,

Put down durable, easy-to-clean flooring to protect your hallway and the rest of your home. Julia Buckingham, interior designer, suggests ceramic or porcelain tiles because they are durable and low-maintenance. To clean them, sweep or vacuum them. For larger messes, use a Swiffer or mop to tackle. She suggests that a dark-colored sisal or seagrass rug can be placed over tile to trap dirt and hide it. Be careful: Tile can crack if dropped objects are not taken care of. If it isn’t properly cleaned, white grout can turn discolored. However, dark grout looks great right now.
Your children can be little hurricanes in your playroom.

So that kids can lay down, sit and play, choose something with soft underfoot. Carolyn Forte, director at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Home Appliances and Cleaning Products laboratory, says that she recommends a tight, tightly woven, almost industrial, loop or cut-area rug or wall to-wall carpet. Look for something made of a simple-to-clean material like nylon or polypropylene. Buckingham recommends Flor carpet tiles, which are available in a variety of sizes and can be arranged to suit any design. She says, “You can build with individual tiles that are easily cleaned and replaced.”

If you want to feel cozy in your bedroom

Hardwood flooring is expensive, and it can be difficult to walk on. Forte recommends a super-soft, premium, plush carpet for any room you are redecorating. Even if you have hardwood flooring, you can still create the cozy atmosphere you desire. Buckingham says that she loves the look and feel a beautiful alpaca or silk-and wool rug on hardwood floors to create a relaxing retreat.
You can make your guest room double as an office if you have one.

Forte says that there are many beautiful, low-pile rugs and carpets in different patterns and colors. These carpets can withstand more traffic than plush carpets. The good news is that an office chair can be moved around without the need for unsightly plastic mats. Buckingham suggests hardwood flooring with a flat weave rug. This will make the floor feel warm and can withstand a rolling chair.
You’re looking for the best option in high-traffic areas?

Hardwood flooring is the best option. You can also get creative with inlays and even a herringbone pattern. Buckingham says that a quick sweep and vacuum, along with occasional mopping, will keep it clean. However, Buckingham also suggests that you always check with the installer for specific care instructions as different woods have different specifications. Don’t be alarmed if your wood ages a bit. Wood is like wine. It gets better with age and develops beautiful patinas.

If you host a lot of guests and use your dining room often:

Hardwood also wins this category, as wear can give wood character over time. Buckingham says that wood can be refinished at any time. A dense area rug can be used under the table. They are durable and easy to clean if spills occur — which they most likely will.

If your pet is rambunctious:

Buckingham says that tiles or bamboo flooring are durable and can withstand pets. Area rugs that are layered over top of the floor can be easily cleaned and stained by pets. They can also be easily replaced if needed. Although wall-to-wall carpeting is more difficult, it’s still possible to love it. She says that cut pile carpet is better than loop carpet. This will ensure your pet’s nails do not clog the loops, which can cause the carpet to wear more quickly. Make sure to choose a stain-resistant carpet. Consider choosing a color that matches the fur of your cat or dog.


You want your bathroom to feel luxurious and spa-like?

Experts agree that the bathroom should not be covered with wall-to-wall carpet. Forte says that there is too much moisture in the bathroom and potential for spillage with toiletries and cosmetics. It can be very difficult to clean. Water trapped under carpet can cause mold. Heating tile is a good option if you feel the cold underfoot. It can be as expensive as $200 for a radiant mat, or about $1,000 for professional installation.
You want to do something new in your kitchen?

Consider grey hardwood flooring instead of light and dark woods. Buckingham says that grey is the new neutral in interior design. She believes you’ll see more grey in flooring. Forte also says that she has been seeing more vinyl and cork flooring designed to look like wood. These options are all extremely durable and will last for many more trends.