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Living and dining room floors

How are living room floors used?

The floor in the living room is a place for people to sprawl out and relax, as much as anything else. It is typically the place where people spend most of their waking hours in the home, and the area where everyone congregates and socialises. The TV is usually found there, as well as other heavy furniture like book shelves and chairs. Living room floors normally see a lot of foot traffic.

Living room floor  
Your living room floor should be comfortable, easy to clean and inviting to the eye.
Image courtesy of Boral Timber.

What to look for in a living room floor

Because it's both a busy area and the place in which people need to feel most relaxed and comfortable, your choice of floor covering in the living room is very important. The floor you choose should be:

  • Comfort and cushioning
  • Visual appeal that matches and highlights the décor
  • Easily maintained and restored to pristine condition.

The lounge room floor needs to be versatile - it's likely to be used for a great many different things. It’s one of the few areas of the house where people will instinctively feel comfortable sitting or lying down on the floor, so cushioning, comfort, and the ability to keep it clean are important - especially if you're likely to have kids in the house. Carpet has obvious advantages in terms of its ability to provide comfort, but harder surfaces can also be used in the same way using rugs and mats.

Because it's the area most likely to be used, and because it's normally such a large area, the floor surface in your living room should also keep heat in when it's cold and keep it out in warmer weather. This will depend largely on the climate where you live, and whether your house is built directly on a concrete slab or on stumps.

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Looks are a particularly important part of planning your living room too. Ideally, you want to create a warm, visually appealing environment that you won’t be ashamed to show off, and one which creates a sense of calm and 'warmth'.

Living room floor recommendations

Carpet and wooden floorboards are the flooring surfaces of choice for living rooms. Tiles are also popular, particularly in warmer parts of Australia, although their hardness makes them less comfortable to sit on without cushions or rugs. Some other options include parquetry and polished concrete.

Carpets come in a huge variety of colour, weave and material options which both look and feel great, and which will suit just about any lounge room setup. Carpet helps regulate room temperature and provides sound insulation too. Carpet can be prone to staining depending on the material used and carpet colour, but most stains are easily treated by steam or dry cleaning. Dirt can also weaken the fibres in a carpet leaving them threadbare over time.

Because living rooms are normally quite big rooms, they also require a lot of window area to allow for a lot of natural light during the day, so you should take fade resistance into account when you choose your carpet.

Wooden floorboards are not the most comfortable of surfaces to stretch out on, but are a timeless classic when it comes to visual appeal. Likewise, this downside is easily overcome with an area rug - which has the added advantage of portability. They are durable and hardy, though can be somewhat prone to scratching from furniture if not properly guarded against. Wood floors can be restored, though this requires considerably more effort than cleaning a carpet.

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