If you need a bit of warmth and softness underfoot, look to cork. Cork is a flooring material with a number of distinctive qualities. It’s a subtly spongy material with a unique feel that brings delight to your feet. (We’re not talking about installing recycled corks from wine bottles.) It’s ideal flooring for anyone with allergies because it resists mold and mildew. Cork also has a subdued, natural look, similar to hardwood.
Rubber flooring isn’t just for kids’ spaces. It absorbs sound and its soft, cushioned feel makes it safe underfoot in rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, gyms, or anywhere where slipping is a risk. Rubber is usually available in bright solid and speckle hued looks which are great for fun spaces. Rubber can be installed in sheet or tile form. The flooring is generally fairly easy to lay down, and the weight of the material keeps it in place so no toxic adhesives are necessary. To remove, simply lift up the flooring material.
For a sleek, sophisticated, stylish, and easy to maintain floor, consider mosaic glass tiles. Mosaic glass tiling is not just for the bathroom—incorporate touches of mosaic flooring into hallway or patio flooring to add an elegant and ornamental touch to otherwise bland spaces. These high-end materials are made from extra hard reinforced glass and are usually affixed to a mesh mount backing for ease of installation (just like mosaic backsplashes). The patterns available vary widely, as the glass can be printed in almost any hue.
The coolest flooring option might already be underfoot. You may have a concrete subfloor underneath finished flooring. Take concrete flooring from its raw state by giving it a decorative, sleek, or shiny look. You can apply any number of techniques with concrete, including polishing, texturing, and acid staining. An extra layer of concrete can also be added and mixed with hue treatments or embedded with decorative objects.
Though inexpensive, common, and utilitarian plywood is often thought of as just a subfloor, it can be used as your finished flooring, as well. By using it as your main layer, you’ll have an economical blank slate for a painted or stained floor. A richly stained plywood floor can rival the look of hardwood. Fully sealed with a polyurethane, a plywood floor can be easily cleaned by a damp mop. It’s an ideal solution for a room that can’t afford more height from thicker flooring or for a high-traffic space.