flooring ideas

Flooring Ideas by Room

Find Flooring Ideas for EVERY Room

The best feature of current flooring options is the wide variety of types, colors, styles and materials from which to choose. Unfortunately, all that variety can get very confusing, so it makes sense to approach your flooring decisions by first looking at the function of the specific room you’re going to floor. After you determine the function of the room, you will be able to narrow down the type of flooring that will go best with that room.

Let’s take a tour of your home to recognize some of the practical and aesthetic factors that should influence your flooring choices.

Begin at the entryways to your home. Whether the front hall, or a mudroom off the kitchen, these are the places where steady traffic brings dirt, moisture, salt and just about everything else mother nature has to offer into your home. Any stains or wear-and-tear are going to be far more evident here, so choose a sturdy material that can withstand a lot of pounding. Vinyl or laminate are good choices, as they hold up well in high moisture areas. For more formal entryways, choose ceramic tile or even wood parquet. And don’t forget that a well-placed area rug not only traps dirt and moisture, but also adds style and warmth.

best flooring ideas

Next, move into the living room, which, along with the family room, is typically the focal point for family activities, and also the areas you are most likely to entertain guests. Here you want flooring that is more formal, yet comfortable. The ideal solution for these rooms is carpeting, which has styles and fibers that range from the very formal to casual. Another good choice, hardwood floors add elegance and warmth, and an area rug helps to soften the room.

flooring ideas for living room

The dining room is often an extension of the living room, but with a difference. There is always the concern of food and liquid spills, so you need a wear-resistant and stain-resistant flooring. Fortunately, most carpet styles now offer stain and moisture resistance, so that the same carpeting used in the living room can flow through to the dining room. Another option is the durability of wood, laminate or tile in the dining room. As long as the choice complements the styles of adjacent rooms, and your furniture, then you can choose whichever flooring best suits your own fashion sense.

Now let’s move into the kitchen, where there is usually high foot traffic, more spills than you may care to admit, and generally more cleaning required due to cooking. In addition, this is an area where you want to minimize the possibility of slipping. Wood laminate, vinyl or linoleum has traditionally been the best choice in the kitchen. Recently, ceramic tile has gained in popularity, but keep in mind that tile is harder on the feet, and can be colder in the winter months. On the other hand, ceramic tile makes a dramatic statement in the kitchen, and works in both contemporary and traditional homes.

kitchen flooring ideas

The bathroom is an area where your flooring must be waterproofed, washable and non-slip. Here you can use vinyl, ceramic tile and even some of the newer laminate and wood products that are specifically designed to hold up in high moisture areas. Again, area rugs add a soft touch, and are much easier to clean than wall-to-wall bathroom carpeting. Be sure any area rugs or mats are non-slip.

Finally we come to the bedrooms, where the furniture and coordinating fabrics may take precedence over the flooring. Because foot traffic is less of a problem here, stains and wear are minimal. Carpeting is the traditional choice in bedrooms, but wood or laminate floors can also be a good choice, again enhanced with matching decorative area rugs. The key is to choose neutral flooring that doesn’t distract from the room décor. Any good hardwood flooring contractor can point you in the right direction on which to choose. You want to be able to change the colors and textures of your bedroom as often as you want without having to change the flooring as well.

bedroom floor ideas

In general, choose your flooring to follow the function of the room, but always keep in mind that your house is not a group of separate rooms, but a home. So whatever your flooring choices, be sure to blend them with the style of your home, and the overall decorating theme of your furniture and accessories.

basement sub floor

Install a Basement Subfloor System

How To Install An Insulated Floating Subfloor System

Before you can start installing an insulated floating subfloor in your basement, the first thing that you are going to have to do is clean it out if you’ve got a bunch of junk down there. There could be a ton of different reasons to put down a subfloor, but one of the best reasons for this type is to help keep your space warmer when you happen to be below-grade and to protect your finished basement floor.

If you’ve got a concrete slab or even a finished floor that tends to get really cold, this could be an excellent solution. But to take full advantage of it and make the space warmer, you really need to make sure that you have already insulated the walls and ceiling as well if needed.

Of course, if you already have a finished floor and want to do this project, you are going to need to remove that first. If it’s reusable, great. If not, you may need to keep in mind that you’ll need another type of material to go on top of this one once it’s finished before you decide to tackle this project.

Once you’ve gotten all the “stuff” out, just make sure that you have cleaned and swept the floors as well. Then you are ready to start putting down the subfloor.

The subfloor system that we are going to talk about using down in your basement today is from DRICore. Although it’s a bit on the pricey side, I’m really impressed with this product. For one, this subfloor has a patented moisture barrier built right into it and will protect floors, furniture and electronics from potential water seepage in a wet basement. Plus, they are dead simple to install making for a perfect DIY insulating and waterproofing solution as well.

The product itself is actually made like engineered wood floors with a whole lot of pressure compressing a bunch of wood chips together. Afterwards, it’s all sealed up tight with a waterproof glue. For an extra layer of protection, there is a raised polyethylene moisture barrier that allows for any condensation or moisture that’s captured underneath to dry adequately and without harm to those items on top of it.

One thing to keep in mind though, just like any other flooring material, you need to let the panels acclimate in the room for at least 24 hours before you start working with it. Oh, that’s right, forgot to tell you that they come in panels that are easy to work with and approximately 2-foot square. The panels actually lock together like regular tongue and groove floors to make for easy installation with no additional steps like glue required. So you won’t even need a hardwood flooring contractor, you can do it all yourself.

This particular system is called a floating subfloor system because it doesn’t actually get attached to the concrete with glue or nails. It just sort of “floats” on top of the concrete. This is actually really good in this type of environment because it allows for the entire floor to contract and expand with temperature/moisture changes.

Another thing to keep in mind is you will need to use spacers around the walls like you would with laminate basement flooring. A quarter inch gap is really all you need. That gap is what gives the subfloor some of it’s durability allowing it to expand as needed. Plus, if your concrete floor isn’t as level as it should be, these panels come with shims designed to fit right over a portion of the moisture barrier panel to help level it all out. You’ll be able to tell where you need them by simply sliding one panel up to the next and see if there is a gap where they are supposed to come together.

Simply start in the furthest corner with the longest wall and begin piecing together the first row. Use a wood block and a hammer on the end of the second pieces to tap the boards together to fit in the grooves. When you get to the end of the first row, you’ll likely need to make a cut to a full panel for it to fit correctly. Just measure and mark the appropriate distance.

A table saw works great when needing to cut a DRICore panel. But if you don’t have a table saw, a hand held circular saw will work just as good. I personally don’t like to use jigsaws or dremels for this cut but if that’s all you got, it’ll work too. I save the jigsaws for more intricate corner/pole notch cutting when doing our basement renovation work, not when I’m cutting the piece basically in half.

pull barOnce you have your cut piece, it should just drop right in place. However, now you got a bit of problem getting the two pieces to fit together snuggly in the tongue and groove. Now’s the time for your first flooring trick. When you do a job like this, you’ll find that a tool called a pull bar quickly becomes one of your best friend. This particular one shown is a Sinclair pull bar that has a wide tail block and welded hammering area that will let you adjust and compress the panels in the groove quite easily. Whatever you do, don’t try to use pliers or some other tool that isn’t designed for the job!

All you have to do once the piece is in place is slip the tail block into the space between the wall and the panel with the hammer block laying across the piece you want to secure. Take your hammer and give it a few taps until the joints come together cleanly and then simply remove the pull bar.

But what about that other piece that was cut? Do you throw it away? Absolutely not, that’s the piece you can start with on the second row. No need to waste it here. Plus it gives you a bit of strength and security to your subfloor as well because using this piece allows you to stagger (or overlap) the panels so the seams aren’t at the same place. Ideally, you’d like the second row of seam’s to fall in the middle of the panels from the first row.

Now that you’ve got the hang of it, just continue building and cutting row after row until you have a finished floating basement subfloor. This system is perfect for finishing any basement but even better if you have concerns due to a low ceiling. It is a raised system, but it’s about half the height of a conventional subfloor coming in at about 7/8ths of an inch in thickness.

Here’s what I like about this insulated floating subfloor:

  • You get a built in vapor barrier for protection.
  • You get a finished surface that’s ideal for basement carpet, laminate, vinyl plank flooring, engineered hardwood and even tile.
  • You get some insulating value as the floor is raised off the cold concrete slab.
  • You get a professionally quality subfloor that’s do-it-yourself friendly and goes in quickly.

Here’s what I don’t like about this subfloor: cost. Period. That’s it. It’s simply the cost of the system. You’ll end up likely paying as much, if not more depending on what you use for the finished floor as you would for the subfloor. The panels cost about $6 each. So if you have about a 1000 square foot to cover, you are going to need an estimated 303 panels and at that price you are looking at around $1818. However, if you can swing it, this floating subfloor system is definitely worth it for a basement.

backyard design

Design The Ultimate Backyard Haven

Top 10 Tips to Designing an AMAZING Backyard haven for your family

Quality family time is about laughter, fun and fantastic memories. Build the perfect spot for creating these moments in your very own backyard. With these tips, every summer day will be like a family vacation.

1. What Do You Have?

Look outside the patio door and survey the yard. Sketch out the lay of the land, including any existing patios or decks, as well as any established trees and gardens.   You can even use patio or deck design software to see what you have on and around your patio or deck and can see how you can easily change things.  You already have something to work with, so start there.

How can you dress up or clean up what you have to be more family friendly? Paint or wash the deck or patio, trim the trees and clean out the garden, noting the sunny and shady spots for future reference. Plant vines to hide unattractive but functional features.

designing backyards

If you need more privacy, plant a tight row of evergreen hedges that will fill in quickly to make a natural sight, sound and wind barrier.

2. What Would Each Person Love?

Now is the time to have a family conference or illicit some feedback. There needs to be elements of the backyard that are designed with each person in mind.

Kids will love the adventure of a treehouse or clubhouse. Readers of all ages will escape in a comfy, quiet nook. Add a gazebo or outdoor tent for more protected space. Some of these play tents are ideal for indoors or outdoors in case you have harsher winters. Have a place for sipping coffee and flipping through the morning paper and don’t forget some tables for card games and a chess board. A wood porch swing is the perfect place to snuggle and sway together.

The whole family will thrill with the inclusion of a miniature garden railroad. As the train chugs around weatherproof track, the family can enjoy the fun of building and running this toy for all ages.

3. How Much Maintenance Can You Handle?

If hours of lawn care and gardening don’t appeal to you, be sure to design with that in mind. Low maintenance plantings that will behave and flourish are ideal.

Mulch the gardens well annually to prevent the spread of weeds and keep the moisture in the soil. Under patios and walkways, landscape fabric is a good idea to keep the weeds out. With some research and wise choices, your yard and garden can be less work than you may think.

4. Why Not Cook Outside?

To keep the interior cool and the exterior festive, grill your meals whenever possible. Whether you prefer the convenience of natural gas, the traditional propane or the smoky taste of charcoal grills, there is a BBQ out there to suit your fancy.

Install an outdoor fire pit to bring the memories of family campfires into the backyard. Traditional wood burning pits can be built, or for more convenience gas or propane patio fireplaces work well.

5. How Can You Make Everyone Eat Their Vegetables?

Fill your table with vegetables grown in your very own patch. There are plenty of simple, kid-friendly choices like pumpkins, sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes. Plant what your family will eat and enjoy the freshest produce available. Or decorate your home with bright, cheery cut flowers. Zinnias, daisies and sunflowers grow quickly and will last throughout the season with colorful, smiling faces.

6. What Are the Best Furniture Choices?

Make sure you invest in well crafted, intelligently designed outdoor furniture. That way you can enjoy it for years to come. You’ll need a quality patio set, as well as some other favorite pieces. Choose a hammock or a glider bench, a chaise lounge or a wood porch swing, and then use them to create relaxing, cozy spots for the whole family.

Be sure to include colors to complete your design. Patterns or solids, your choice of colors for cushions, pillows, paint and accessories will turn ordinary furniture into family heirlooms.

quiet backyard space

7. Want to Have A Conversation?

When you set up the perfect patio furniture, think about how you can create a conversational atmosphere. Casual pieces, often called conversation sets, are a combination of low tables and cushioned couches arranged to face each other. Place a patio fireplace in the center for even warmer gatherings. Incorporate enough seating for everyone with a few extra for guests.

8. How Do You Add Soothing Sounds?

Bring the stereo speakers right into the backyard for the joy of music any time. There are even outdoor speakers manufactured to look like garden rocks. And others that are waterproof and even wireless. So no excuses here. Even if they are wired, just a pair of pliers is all you need to install them. They will blend right into the landscape and provide just the atmosphere you want.

9. Are You Calmed By Water?

The addition of water features in your yard help to create a tranquil atmosphere. Bubbling waters in a fountain and the splashes of a birdbath will disguise the harsh sounds of traffic nearby. Ponds attract many sights of nature and provide an ever changing picture of calm.

10. Do You Want To Win?

The fun of friendly competition and games is a must for backyard relaxation. Save a grassy area for catch, bocce and Frisbee. Put up the Badminton net or dig out a horseshoe pit. The whole family will look forward to a good soak in the hot tub, too. Any way you look at it, everyone wins with outdoor fun together.

Your backyard haven will be the perfect spot to spend time in this season. Design with your family in mind and enjoy plenty of time together.

Deck Design Software

Using Deck Design Software for the Ultimate Deck

Deck Design Software Makes Deck Designing!

Homeowners that are interested in constructing a new deck can greatly benefit from deck design software.  The software helps homeowners visualize what their completed deck can look like based on changing variables such as size, shape, style, colors, materials and accessories.   The design software can be used by deck construction or home improvement contractors or by the homeowners themselves to make designing a backyard deck an easy process.

Contractors often use 3D deck design software to show potential customers what the finished product can look like based on possible design decisions.  This allows homeowners to see exactly what their deck can look like, rather than trying to visualize it the best they can from sketches or drawings or even just a one dimensional design.  The software also makes it easy to see how changing variables, such as the shape, color of the decking materials, type of balusters or more can change the end design.  The three dimensional design can have homeowners visualizing exactly what it will be like to have specific options as part of the deck.

Homeowners also have the opportunity to use home deck design software on their own in order to help them determine what they like best about different deck design choices and to then show to potential contractors so they can easily explain their design choices.  Using the software is also a smart option for do-it-yourselfers, since building a deck is a rather large and difficult project.

Knowing exactly what the deck will look like when finished and being able to change options prior to starting the deck to determine what will work best goes a long way towards making do-it-yourself construction a much easier task.  Some deck design software products will also provide a materials list based on the parameters set within the design so that the process of ordering supplies is simplified as well. Others even list out the tools you’ll need.


When homeowners are getting ready to build a deck to enhance their outdoor décor and to increase their backyard’s functionality, they can find deck design software free by searching online or can purchase a software package for a small fee.  There are a number of websites that offer free online deck design software.  Some of the software is offered by companies that are also deck contractors, but it is usually free to use even if you aren’t using the company to build your deck.  There are also inexpensive products that can be purchased, either online or in a retail store.  Instant deck design software can be purchased for as little as ten dollars or less.

What makes deck designing software so beneficial to both homeowners and contractors alike is that it offers the opportunity to make informed design choices from the outset of the project.  By doing this, there is less chance that changes need to be made during the construction process and a greater chance that homeowners will be more satisfied with the end result.  It helps contractors “sell” their design to potential customers and shows them how different options will affect the look of the finished deck.  It helps homeowners get a better idea of what they want by being able to see exactly what their choices will look like.

No matter what type of software is used, whether it is instant deck design software that is purchased for a nominal fee, professional deck design software offered by a home improvement or construction company or one of the free online deck design software options available by searching on the internet, the use of this type of design tool will make it easier for homeowners to ultimately enjoy the deck of their dreams.