I’m in the planning stages of a complete home remodel, and I’m feeling hopelessly overwhelmed. I need to pick flooring finishes, paint colors, tile . . . everything. As I move from store to store, and back to my home, I’m having a terrible time matching materials and deciding how they will “go together” from a design standpoint. Please help!
-Janet in Kentucky
Flooring samples can help make the selection process for flooring much easier. Since flooring is such a major purchase in the home most products are available where you can take the samples with you in order to look at them with other selections. It is important to look at the samples in the light where they will be installed as well as with other selections such as paint, cabinetry and furniture.
However, the samples are just that – samples. They are not the exact final product that you will receive. They are made at a different time under different conditions and may not be exactly the same color as what you saw in the retail store. You can expect them to be very close, but not exact.
When looking at samples in your home, ask for the largest size sample you can get. When shopping for hardwood and tile, ask for samples with multiple pieces or multiple loose pieces. This will give you an idea if you can expect the product to have a range of color. This will also help you imagine what more of the product will look like.
Once you get the samples and bring them home, set them on the floor in the area they will be installed. Place the samples in different parts of the room and look at them at different times of the day (to view them in different light). When looking at the samples, back away from them a few feet and look at the samples standing up. People often have a tendency to examine samples for color several inches from the sample. This is not how you look at the floor everyday!
It is also a good idea to designate a bag for samples if you are working on a project with multiple finishes. That way, you will always have all of the elements of the room together when you are shopping for more pieces of the project. Your mind can never quite remember the exact shade of something and you don’t want to make a mistake buying something that you cannot use or worse, something you cannot return.
Another tool that can help you envision what your floor will look like once installed is the Virtual Room Designer, which lets you choose different types of flooring and view it in different room applications. You can click here to take a look.
Remember if you check out a sample from a retail store to return the sample when you have finished. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to see or check out a sample and not being able to because someone hasn’t returned it when they were finished. Some retailers will order samples for you to keep. When you finish with carpet samples, you can reuse them or return them to the store. Some uses for old carpet samples are mats for the trunk of your car, great seats for little ones in school or comfortable places for pets to rest.