Walls and Floors – the foundations of your interiors
When it comes to interior design, there is nothing more important than getting the ‘bare bones’ just right.
Furniture and ornaments are all very well, but ideally they should be taking second place to your walls and flooring. Get these right and the rest of the room will come together easily.
As the base upon which a home is built, floors are one of the most important design aspects of any property and you should give considerable thought to how you want them to appear.
The first rule of flooring is that quality is key. When it comes to major home improvement projects, always trust the experts and look for local firms with plenty of experience.
The type of flooring you choose will be largely dependent on where it’s going to go and how it will be affected by your lifestyle.
With many different types of wood and finish available, hardwood floors create an air of opulence and can feel both classy and cosy at the same time. Perfect for covering large areas, particularly in dining or living rooms, hardwood floors look extremely elegant with a few carefully-chosen rugs dotted around.
Solid oak flooring is one of the most popular solid hardwood flooring options, and for good reason too. Timeless and luxurious in look and feel, but durable and hard-wearing too, a solid oak floor is a premier product that adds value and will last generations.
Laminate is the ‘easy’ alternative to hardwood, as it is available in ‘wood’ finish as well as a range of other finishes, colours and styles. Simple to fit and spill-proof, laminate is an excellent choice for kitchens and bathrooms, especially now that it’s shaken off its old-fashioned image. Although previously thought of as ‘cheap and cheerful’, laminate is now far more attractive than in the past and can lend a high-quality feel to a room, making it ideal if you have small children as you won’t feel bad about replacing it in a few years.
Tiles are perfect for bathrooms, kitchens and conservatories because they’re tough, waterproof and easy to clean. Available in a wide range of finishes from bright ceramics to traditional stone, tiles create a simply stunning visual effect. A tile floor can be cold, however, and it may be wise to consider scatter rugs or even under-floor heating, particularly in bathrooms.
Good old-fashioned carpet has been given a 21st-century facelift with new fabrics that are waterproof, stainproof and easy to clean. Although bathrooms that get very wet may benefit from tiling or laminate, there is a carpet to suit most situations. Colourful, comfortable and easy to change, carpets are a great way to make a statement and provide a soft landing for little ones learning to walk.
The walls in your period home are extremely important, as they provide the backdrop for the rest of your décor. We’ve already discussed paint in this issue, but what other options do you have?
Panelling can look absolutely stunning in a period home, particularly Georgian and Victorian models, where high ceilings and big windows make a real feature of it. Wood panelling lends an air of class but can look heavy and dark, so may not be suitable for smaller or older homes. However, panelling is now available in a range of lightweight, versatile materials, which can add depth and interest to a wall without being overbearing.
Wallpaper had fallen out of favour with interior designers for a while, but is back with a vengeance and more varied than ever. A vintage design pairs perfectly with a period home and you can even get your own or specially commissioned designs printed up to match your aesthetic perfectly. If a whole room of pattern seems a little cloying, then try creating a feature wall with a truly outrageous paper and leave the rest plain. For those who like to take things to extremes, you can even get heat sensitive designs that change as the room warms up.
Tiles can be harder to fit in old properties with ‘wonky’ walls, but a professional plasterer can put you on the right track. Tiles are, of course, perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, where wallpaper risks peeling in high humidity, plus they’re easy to clean and hard-wearing just like floor tiles. Again you might even consider a feature wall with extravagant tiling, juxtaposed against a plain tile on the other walls.
These days many people are choosing a plain wall with added oomph, using wall art, designer shelving or even decals.
Once the preserve of kids and their bikes, decals are now an ultra-chic way to bring design flair to your walls without the effort of papering or hiring an artist. Far from looking like ‘stickers’, modern wall decals fit seamlessly to your walls and come in large-scale and intricate designs that might otherwise be impossible to create. What’s more, they’re usually pretty easy to remove, so you can change your look without calling in the decorators.