Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Color Flooring Should I Choose?

What Color Flooring Should I Choose?

Watching flooring trends is a bit like watching clothing trends.  There are some innovative ideas that come around every once in a great while such as strand woven bamboo or the wrap dress... but mostly there are the tried and true flooring options that stylistically cycle on and off again.

We have a lot of customers that come into the Seattle simpleFLOORS showroom and ask for help deciding on the "color" of their flooring.  Homeowners want to feel that not only will the color coordinate with their personal style and the type of home they have, but also that the color will stand the test of time.

This is a great question and definitely should be considered before any purchase is made.  Here are some things to think about in terms of the color of your flooring:
1. How much light do you have in the home (natural and artificial)?
The more light you have in the home the darker you can get your flooring without feeling the walls are closing in on you.  That being said, you can still choose dark floors in a small room as long as you want the more intimate feeling.  A dark floor can also make a room with a lot of light feel warmer, cozier.  Make sure to test samples of the flooring in your actual lighting and at different times of day as it can change how the flooring looks.
2. Are you looking at a natural (hardwood, bamboo, cork) or man-made (laminate) product?
Laminate can come in any shade or tone imaginable as the colors are put together by graphic designers and marketing teams.  You can get tones not made in nature or laminate that looks very close to the real thing.  Natural products such as hardwood are going to either have clear coats of finish to showcase the natural beauty of the wood, or a stain to showcase the grain but have a more consistent look.
3. Is this for a home you plan on staying in or do you plan on selling the home/condo soon?
If you plan on selling the home within a few years the safest bet is to get something with a medium tone that everyone can walk in the home and imagine putting their furniture on.  Colors that are very light, very dark, or floors with a lot of variation will definitely be noticed - but will put many people off although the right buyer will "have to" have the house because of the unusual floor.
4. Do you like variation or a more consistent coloring?
The floors that have more variation tend towards the exotic species (Tigerwood, Brazilian Walnut) and will make more of a statement.  The varying colors in a natural floor (with clear coat but no stain) typically can work well with many tones of furniture and in homes that don't have consistent colored furnishings.  Negatively if the floor has  a lot of variation it can be very busy and can compete with artwork or furnishings so is best left with simpler, cleaner decorating styles.
5. If for a kitchen or great room, what color are the cabinets?
Design-wise it is best to have a bit of a contrast from the floor to the cabinets since if they match too much the whole room blends into one big blob.  If you have new construction it is best to pick your floors out first as there are so many natural options where most cabinets are stained.  If you have existing cabinets taking a door off and bringing it with you while floor shopping is your best chance of finding a good color pairing.
6. What type/color of furniture do you have?
Flooring can vary from the rustic heavily handscraped to a very smooth and modern with many options in between.  Using your existing furniture and home style (even if it is just a picture in your head) as a guide will allow you to maintain or achieve a harmonious setting.  Clipping photos from magazines and/or using design services are another option to discover what style appeals to you.
7. Do you want the floor to be a "statement" or are you looking for them to blend in to the environment?
The flooring with heavier grain patterns, very dark/very light shades, or extreme variations are going to become more of a showpiece in your home than the traditionally toned browns.
8. What color are the walls in the room(s) the flooring will go into?
Standard off-white walls can go with just about any type of flooring but many people are highlighting rooms with accent colors (and also remodeling their existing homes vs. moving!) and carrying paint swatches and getting flooring samples is really the only way to ensure you don't end up with a patchwork look.
9. Do you have pets?
Keep in mind what type of environment you live in.  If your five white Persian cats shed like crazy a very dark floor will not be a good fit unless you don't mind dust mopping daily.

Trend-wise in the past 10 years I have seen colors go from very light (Natural Maple, Natural Horizontal Bamboo) to very dark (Sambuca Maple, Iron Wood) and then settle back during the past two years into a medium tone (Strand Carbonized, Arpeggio).  I think there will always be people that choose the bold and beautiful for their flooring but the "middle of the road" coloring is here to stay for quite some time.  Traditional warm toned flooring in varying shades of brown lend itself to all types of furnishings, home styles, and also work with today's economy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Type of Flooring Should I Choose?

When people come into the Seattle simpleFLOORS showroom and see all the laminate, hardwood, bamboo, and cork they are typically very happy about having so many flooring choices and that our display boards are really large to show what the floor will really look like once installed in their home.

Homeowners that are looking to update their existing flooring or are building a new home come in all shapes and sizes, just like flooring.  Although our large selection is a huge plus, it can be overwhelming for some shoppers.

Luckily most people know what type of flooring they should choose, even if they don't know they know!

Here is a breakdown and how we believe we can help them the best...

People that know EXACTLY what they are looking for
These customers typically have either a picture in their head of what the room or house will look like when it is completed.  They often come with a file of research from the internet, clippings from magazines, and can carry countertop, other flooring, and cabinet samples with them.
How do we help them?
1. Give them the "lay of the land" of the showroom and then get out of their way and wait for them to ask you questions.
2. Check in and be prepared to answer very specific questions.
3. Let customer know of any existing sales, carry displays to natural light and lay horizontally for customer, offer samples.
4. Be prepared to answer specific spec questions, check stock, schedule measurement,  and write up estimate/orders.

People that know what they like but aren't certain it is what they should be purchasing
These customers typically have an idea of what they would like the finished floor or look of the home to be.  They often have strong feelings about certain colors or textures.  The hesitation usually comes from being uncertain if the look they are hoping for will be too trendy and not stand the test of time, be a turn-off to potential buyers when they sell their home, or not be as durable as they need the flooring to be.
How do we help them?
1. Listen to what they say they are looking for, and the look they are trying to achieve.
2. Give them the "lay of the land" of the showroom, pointing out particular styles, collections, and colors that fit the parameter they have described.
3. Answer questions, show other options based on any new information you receive.
4. Ask questions about their home, lifestyle, traffic, and the look they are hoping for.  Be prepared to gently give them pros and cons of their favorite style floor and possibly something that will be more practical for the lifestyle of the actual home.
5. Let customer know of any existing sales, carry displays to natural light and lay horizontally for customer, offer samples.
6. Show photos of the flooring they are most interested in that has been installed in real customer homes, check stock, schedule measurement,  and possibly write up estimate/orders.

People that believe they have no idea what they want
This can be the most fun as I believe people really do know what they like and want, they just need someone to guide them through the process by asking the right questions.  After asking a few questions we can narrow down our great selection of a few hundred floors to a handful for the customer "who is overwhelmed" and leave them feeling confident in the selection process in a short amount of time.
Questions to narrow down the search quickly
1. Are you interested in Hardwood, bamboo, cork or laminate?
2. What type of subfloor do you have?
3. Handscraped or smooth?
4. Variation or more consistent color?
5. Dark, light, or medium?
6. Do you have kids, pets, or is this in a high traffic area?
After answering these questions you have quickly narrowed down the flooring choices to a manageable number and can lead them right to a few perfect selections.  Voila!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wanna Chat?

Flooring Questions?  Live Chat with us!

simpleFLOORS is always interested in engaging with our customers, whether it is in person, on the phone, via email, or over live chat.

simpleFLOORS is proud to use Comm100 Live Chat as our live chat feature. You will find a link to the live chat feature on the upper right side on every page of the website. The chat is operated Monday through Friday 8am to 11pm EST, and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 5pm EST. Just click on the Chat live link and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding hardwood, bamboo, cork, or laminate flooring.  We feature many domestic hardwoods, exotic hardwoods, and strand woven bamboo as well.

We look forward to chatting with you!