The rooms in my home are small, so I’d like to choose a flooring that will help them feel bigger. Any tips?
-Rita in Texas
Floor coverings are an important part of your home. Its main purpose is obviously functional, but there are decorative aspects that can help determine the way a room feels. Depending on the type of flooring you choose, a room can feel intimate, spacious, cold, warm, inviting, large or small.
For example, darker or warm color schemes will make a room feel more intimate. Lighter and cooler colors will make a room feel less intimate.
People often think that dark floors will make a room feel smaller, but this is not necessarily true. Dark floors will only make a room feel smaller if there is insufficient lighting either from windows or overhead lighting sources or the walls are painted a darker color in combination with the dark floors. The opposite is also false. Light floors will not make your room feel larger if the walls are painted a darker color and there is insufficient lighting.
The size of the flooring you use can help determine how large or small a room feels. You might not think that a wide width hardwood or large format tile (12×12 or larger) belongs in a powder room, but they actually can help visually increase the size of the room. The fewer lines there are for your eyes to intercept, the larger the space will feel. As long as the tile or piece of hardwood can be repeated more than twice, the larger format will look great!
A larger tile in a larger area also helps maintain the spaciousness of a room. Using a small tile (smaller than 12×12) in a larger room will break up the room with so many lines that in can, in fact feel smaller.
Flooring patterns can also have an effect on the way a room feels. More complicated patterns are better suited for larger rooms where more restful patterns are better suited for smaller rooms. As an example, if you have a large room a modular pattern with large format tiles (18×18 or 20×20) can increase the size of the room more than if a 12×12 tile was laid straight. Generally speaking, turning the tile on the diagonal or laying the tile at a 45 degree angle will make a room appear larger.
To determine how a flooring pattern will make a room feel, you can start with a simple drawing on graph paper. Lay your room out to scale and draw the pattern in. Seeing a pattern laid out on paper can help you visualize the pattern and determine if it will be too busy or too simple for the space. You may find that you can save money by eliminating pieces, or you may find that adding a pattern will help the overall look of the room.
If you are not sure about a selection you have made or you are not a person that can visualize, the easiest thing to do is to pick up some home decorating magazines and look at the pictures. All of these examples will become clear! Look at wall color combinations, flooring patterns and tile or hardwood sizes in relation to the size of the room.