The Key To The Floor

by theartofbespoke in Designer style at home

Flooring is an integral part of any decorating scheme. Interior designer Sara Corker shares her tips on doing it properly.

Get the flooring right and you’re halfway to having a great space to live in. There are myriad options out there – from carpet and concrete to more contemporary textures, like rubber or pebble. So which work best in the home?

Sadly, there’s no simple answer. ‘You’ve got to look at the room as a whole and see how you can make it look good,’ says Sara Corker, director of Sara Corker Designs, a successful, Surrey-based practice. ‘It has to be fit for purpose. That’s the way I design – I’m quite practical.

‘We have three dogs so I’d never, ever put carpet downstairs in our house. If it’s a family house, or you’ve got pets, I would seriously think about hard flooring.’

‘I’d buy the best quality I could afford – oak or ash that can be oiled or varnished. We used to have a lovely solid oak floor. Yes, it scratches, but you can easily polish it up.’

But if your heart’s set on soft flooring, there are hardwearing carpets out there.

‘I’ve just finished a project for a landlord and we’ve used good-quality, man-made carpet. It’s not too expensive and easily cleanable, so he won’t have to replace it with every tenant,’ she says.

But Corker’s preference is, where possible, to use natural flooring. ‘I’m doing a project in Baker Street – they’ve got old parquet underneath the carpet and I’m hoping to keep as much of it as possible,’ she says. ‘Architectural salvage yard Lassco has reclaimed flooring – floors that have come from schools and hospitals – and I don’t think people realise that it can be quite reasonable. You can get it for about £35 upwards. OK, it’s had life already, but you’re giving new life to it. It has history and you can’t re-create that look with a new wood.’

Plus you’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you’re reusing and recycling. Another advantage of wood is that it offers so many variations. ‘There are different ways of treating the woods. So if you want a rustic look, you can oil it,’ she says. One current trend is to stain the wood black, which works well with white walls and simple, factory-style furnishings.

You’ll also need to bear in mind the size and shape of the space. Corker’s tips for making a room feel bigger include using larger tiles. ‘If you’ve got a small area, you don’t want a floor with lots of tiny patterns,’ she says. ‘You want to create hardly any lines or joins, so that it makes the rooms feel bigger.’

Being clever with the skirting is another way to create the illusion of space. ‘Few people ever think about the skirting,’ she says, ‘but if you have it in the same material or colour as the floor, it makes the room look larger.’

Marble, granite or concrete are also worth considering. ‘Highly polished concrete looks fantastic in kitchens,’ says Corker. ‘And yes, marble can be cold, but used in lobby areas it can also be very inviting.’ And while the initial cost may be painful, all three are nothing if not hardwearing. ‘They last a lifetime,’ she says. ‘In Spain and Italy you’ve got marble floors that have lasted hundreds of years.’

Sara Corker Designs –

Surface Tiles –

Devon and Devon –

Stone Theatre –

Concreate –

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