Resilient floors are neither soft nor hard. Resilient floors include linoleum, vinyl, rubber, leather, and cork. Resilient floors are comfortable to stand on, and are easy to repair and clean. It is a sensible choice that is available in a wide range of prices to fit your budget.
Hard floors include wood, stone, granite, marble, brick and tile floors.
Tile floors include terra-cotta tile (below left), porcelain tile (below right), and ceramic tile. Glazed ceramic tiles achieve a look very similar to porcelain tile, for a fraction of the cost.
Wood floors are popular for their simple attractive lines and streamlined earthen beauty. Wood floors are also practical because they have some of the elasticity of resilient flooring, as opposed to the hard density of the other hard floors listed above.
Soft woods, such as pine, are less expensive but they dent easily and don’t wear as well. However, soft woods are often chosen to recreate the look of old American and European farm houses.
Hard woods, such as oak, birch, and maple, are the best materials for highly durable wood floors. While one might think that woods make for neutral flooring, it’s far from the truth. Woods bring a binding color to a room in the same way that carpet does. In these photographs, notice the difference between the floors that are set in light and dark woods.
The light wood opens up this hallway (above) to feel more spacious while maintaining elegance. The darker wood floor in the living room (right) boasts a luxurious coziness while creating effective contrast with the white ceiling and beams.
Parquet floors are made from squares of wood which are fitted together with tongue-and-groove joints. The squares can create a variety of patterns for an elegant, formal look. A current trend in ecologically-conscious homes is to install natural cork tiles in a parquet pattern, such as those manufactured by Eco by Design.