Ultimate Guide To The Best Kitchen Floor That Isn’t Tacky

Hey Guys,

Many of you have said to me something like: “I don’t want to do a wood floor. We have a (fill in the blank) kind of house.”

What is the best kitchen floor? That is, a non-yucky kind of kitchen floor.

My first thought is…


I have no idea.


My second thought is…


I’m supposed to have an idea.


My third thought is…

Why DON’T you want to have a wood floor?

The end.



Merry Christmas! Hope Santa brings you everything you wished for.




Yes? I suppose you’re not happy with that answer? Fine. I’ll give you the answer.

This is the number one reason why you don’t want a hardwood floor in your kitchen.


And… the survey says…


Why don't you want to do a hardwood floor in your kitchen - best kitchen floor


That’s true; you don’t think that hardwood will make the best kitchen floor because it scratches.


At least, that’s what I keep hearing.

Okay, a hardwood floor can scratch; it’s wood, but I think we need a little review of hardwood flooring and WHAT to use on it and how to prevent things like scratching.


Because, I’m speaking from personal experience; we had a hardwood floor, not in our kitchen, but everywhere else on our main open-ish living/dining/den area and even with two dobermans (masquerading as little human boys) along with their monster trucks, the hardwood floor held up very nicely; for 17 years, until we sold the house.

The other thing is. If you have a truly open plan, I think it only makes sense to have the floor be one material.


So, let’s make this clear. If you really want a hardwood floor in your kitchen but the only reason you’re not doing it is because you don’t think it’ll hold up, I wouldn’t use that as an excuse.


Of course, it’s wood, so you do need to be mindful. Therefore, I recommend doing a few things to help protect your hardwood floors and make them even more beautiful as time goes on.


  • Get furniture protectors for the legs.
  • Keep your floors as dust-free as possible. Dirt and dust will wreck your hardwood floors.

Oh, stop groaning.

This isn’t as difficult as you might think.


First of all…


  • Take your shoes off when inside the house.
  • And then, instead of house slippers you put on swiffer socks.


Swiffer family - wear swiffer socks to keep floors clean


Oh, Laurel, you can’t be serious!


You’re right. I *can’t* be serious. ;]



Hey, they really do exist! And, that is how you keep your floors free of dust. Keep a few extra pairs on hand for your guests, too. ;]


Okay, I know that you’re busy, and you want to know the alternatives to a hardwood floor.

There are two main categories for the best kitchen floors



That means, if you drop a glass or dish which I do about six times a year, it’s going to break into a million pieces. Now, some of these are the most beautiful floors, but that is the trade-off. Of course, you could eat off of plastic and paper. That would solve the breakage problem. ;]


Here are the options for beautiful but hard kitchen floors:


Natural Stone – The English kitchens often use this material. You can see some beautiful examples here, here and here


deVOL_South_Downs_BootRoom_natural limestone - best kitchen floor

DeVOL Kitchens

This looks to be a limestone floor in this elegant mud room.


Ceramic or Porcelain Tile – These vary quite a bit from cheap and tacky to quite and a good substitute for natural stone. There are porcelain tiles the look shockingly like a hardwood floor. One advantage to this is that if you want a radiant heated floor, it is less expensive and more effective under tile.

This category covers so much ground it should be its own post, perhaps. Well, actually, any of these could be their own post.

I love the floor in this kitchen featured early this year. The tile is rectified meaning that the grout and tile are flush making for far easier cleaning.


Encaustic Cement tiles – We have discussed this beautiful flooring here and here.


Do you follow the instagram account @ihavethisthingwithfloors ? So many beautiful, inspiring images.



@ihavethisthingwithfloor on instagram - via @ezkibilici - encaustic cement floor

Like this one – @ihavethisthingwithfloors on instagram – via @ezkibilici -(it looks like the account is down) encaustic cement floor. If you hashtag your image of a beautiful floor with #ihavethisthingwithfloors, it might get published!


 Floor - Vintage Kitchen with cabinets in Benjamin Moore's Forest Green, open shelving, and cement tile floor

Beautiful retro-style kitchen by Studio McGee. Please check out this beautiful renovation. I think that they did a great job of updating this home. Cabinet color is Forest Green by Benjamin Moore. This kitchen is reminding me a lot of Melissa Tardiff’s beautiful kitchen with green cabinets.


Terrazzo tiles. An aggregate of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a binding agent to form a tile. I did a terrazzo tile in a kitchen once. Gosh that was 20 years ago. But, it was stunning– and quite expensive.


marsh hill dining area - terrazzo floor - best kitchen floor

Terrazzo kitchen floor in a modern kitchen – via Architect’s Journal


Poured Concrete FloorsThis lovely client many years ago put this in with radiant heat in her mudroom area. She handled it with her architect, but ran it by me. It’s a very cool contemporary look, but expensive.


Michael Graves concrete floor - best kitchen floor-photo John Bessler - via Traditional Home

via Traditional Home – photo: John Bessler


Oh man. This is one of those floors that I filed away (in my head) about 25 years ago– at least. It’s belongs to the architect Michael Graves. Poured concrete, but scored in over-scale diamonds. I adored it to bits the second I saw it, and still do.


What is the difference between cement and concrete?


Thank you for asking. :] Cement is an ingredient in concrete, but the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.


Two) SOFTER FLOORING to some degree or another.(from hardest to softest)


The aforementioned hardwood floor does have a little give, but it is not the softest floor. Hardwood flooring can include any wood used for flooring including bamboo. The softest is probably pine.


Linoleum Tiles. This is sometimes confused with vinyl. Both come in sheets and tiles. However, linoleum, a natural product made from linseed oil, pine rosin, limestone, cork flour, wood flour, jute as the backing, and coloring pigments.

Vinyl is vinyl.:] We had a black and white checkerboard vinyl tile in our old home which you can see here.

It actually is a nice, crisp look and it feels very nice underfoot. And, it’s easy to clean, which is not the same as easy to get clean. That is because it scuffs very easily and that is not easy to get up.


Eclectic mystic home - linoleum kitchen floor - best kitchen floor - Apartment Therapy photo - Bethany Nauert

Cool retro kitchen with a linoleum kitchen floor – Apartment Therapy photo – Bethany Nauert


Our 50s ranch in Indiana had a linoleum floor in the kitchen and basement. Our basement was always wet and believe me, my folks did everything in their power to fix it, but alas it was not to be. Well, the poor linoleum floor started to crack and come up. It was a big bloody mess. I don’t remember what my mother did.


The kitchen floor eventually got replaced in the late 60s with a sheet vinyl that was supposed to resemble pebbles.


Armstrong-Pebblette 1960s vinyl floor


I think that this is it. Armstrong – Pebblette. Uhhhh… At the time, I thought it was very cool in a Jetsons sort of way. haha Now, looking back, I’m pretty horrified.


Vinyl Flooring. It comes either in sheets or in tiles. Here, is where it can be very nice, or super tacky.


Shark Tails - cool vinyl tile bathroom - best kitchen floor - best bathroom floor

More stone? No. It’s actually vinyl tile and Allison from Shark Tails blog did it herself. I admire people who not only have the patience to do tedious work, but break their backs in the process without so much as a whimper.


Cork Tiles. Cork is probably the softest of all of these materials, so it’s definitely a contender if you require a floor that has a good amount of give underfoot.


Lauren Liess - cork floor - best kitchen floor - image Helen Norman

Love this large checkerboard floor by Lauren Liess and photographed by Helen Norman


My mom had a cork floor that she put in her contemporary-style home in Wisconsin in about 1980.


I hated it. It was a weird, yellowy-orange, speckle-y in a not very good way and it buckled. Eventually, she got sick of it and put in an engineered hardwood floor, but only in the kitchen. At least, it was a big improvement.

I have seen some lovely cork products since then, but another client put it in her kitchen and I wasn’t crazy about it because it clashed with the hardwood floor. I didn’t say anything because the kitchen wasn’t my design and she LOVED the floor. So, that is something to heed if you’re doing a different floor in the kitchen than in the rest of the home.


Okay, we’ve pretty much gone over everything I can think of except for a dirt floor.


Which one is the best kitchen floor, Laurel?


Well, in the right situation, they all are. It just depends on the style of your home, furnishings, budget and the look you’re going for.


What if I have an old linoleum or vinyl floor and I hate it and don’t have a lot of money?


That is a very reasonable question.

Paint it.

Remember young, insanely talented William McLure? Remember what he did to one of his kitchen floors? I say “one of them,” because apparently, he doesn’t live in any residence longer than six months. But, they are all fabulous!

I will probably see you on Christmas Day, but if I don’t, please have a blessed holiday!



80 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel! Love your blog. Honestly reading your thoughts about colors is the most relaxing thing, even though I wound up painting my whole house a color I don’t think I’ve noticed you mention: BM paperwhite, a lovely ethereal white that’s the slightest whisper of cool gray.

    I was wondering if you have any thoughts on what constituents tacky vs not tacky sheet vinyl? Your checkerboard vinyl tile looked good in your old home. If you have any thoughts on what works, when, and why, I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be interested.

    1. Hi Lana,

      I don’t expect you to know this, but I’ve mentioned Benjamin Moore Paper White numerous times on the blog. You can see which posts, here.

      One way to find something on here, is to first do a search in the little box near the top of the blog side bar. But I say “paper white.” So, it wasn’t until I put in quotes did it come up perfectly. Once on the page, oh, I have a mac, it’s “Command F” and a little box pops up and you type in what you are looking for and it will hi-light it. I forgot what to do on PC it’s been so long, but if you’re interested, just google it. It might be “Control F” on a PC.

      The other thing is that Paper White is also one of the 144 Obsessively Curated colors in my Paint and Palette Collection.

      As for sheet vinyl, I can’t really say because I’ve never used it. But, times, they keep on a changin’ and I’m sure that there are some good ones out there. If there’s one that looks like poured concrete, that would be cool.

  2. Laurel,
    I love this post about kitchen floors. Thirty years ago we installed 1/2 inch thick oak tongue and groove wood floors OURSELVES (don’t recommend it but we did it to save money) in our entire first floor. And sanded and finished too (don’t do this). It turned out great. I babied it and was very fussy that everyone take their shoes off. Here in Washington state you are usually pretty unpopular if you request that.
    Then we acquired a golden retriever. She could not take her shoes off. At first I would not let her come into the wood floor area without carrying her to the area rug. This nonsense lasted about one day.

    Eventually I was forced to readjust my expectations of having a perfect floor. It was so hard to do. The first big dog claw skid gouge helped this process.

    Sooo, eventually I just had to say “Whatever, I don’t care anymore but it has to be clean”. Scratched floor but happy home. I had to do this for my sanity.

    Recently I looked at my childhood home in Maine which was build around 1920. Wood plank floors that are well worn and they are cottagey and charming and cozy. You have to have the right kind of house architecture to get away with rustic ‘cozy’ floors that you see in old farmhouses, I know.

    For me, having a house where an imperfect floor works (although I tried obsessively to protect it) plus a attitude adjustment process, very painful because I like things a particular way and MY way, was the only solution.

    Just thought I’d share why I’m not rocking my body in a fetal position in a corner because of my floor anymore haaa.

    I hope and pray that you are feeling better, Laurel. My thoughts are truly with you each day.

    Yours, Anne

    1. Thank you first for such a charming story and also your well-wishes. I have been feeling much better since my medication has changed and I have taken seven ballet barres in the last 17 days. That is also making a difference.

  3. Laurel, you mentioned that “If you have a truly open plan, I think it only makes sense to have the floor be one material.” Makes sense to me! But it leaves me with a question:

    In what sorts of cases does it work to have two different flooring types on one level of a home (a level that only contains shared spaces — entry, living room, family room, kitchen, dining room — no bedrooms); ie, how “closed” does a home need to be for two different flooring materials on one level to really “work?”

    I ask, because I would have difficulty classifying my home as either open or closed (it’s a newer home, and it seems to me to be somewhere in between), and I bet I’m not the only one in this sort of situation, where the floor plan of the house leaves flooring decisions very ambiguous.

    I know that, in the end, the answer may just be that it’s a judgement call, but I’d love to hear from Laurel, or any other readers who’ve dealt with this sort of ambiguous floor plan situation before, and if there are any criteria that assist in making the “call” on the optimal number of flooring types.

    1. Hi Becky,

      That’s a reasonable question, but unless I’m looking at the situation, I can’t ascertain the answer or advise that there might be a third option that could make more than one floor work, like the addition of a pony wall or something like that. But, generally, it needs to make sense. For instance a symmetrical entry with open rooms flowing off of it, could be a different material, like a stone, for instance.

      Another thing I did once in a contemporary/modern home is that there was a marble entrance and we bleached and stained the floor in a pale tone to coordinate with the marble. So, the different materials complimented each other.

  4. Hi Laurel,
    I love your site! I have a question – we are remodeling our 1909 house (stage 2)!
    throughout the house we have beautiful hardwood floors that we are putting a fresh redo on. I cannot match the wood floors and there is an adjoining room without hardwood that will be our den. I was thinking maybe putting a slate looking tile. Do you have any ideas???
    I would so appreciate it!

    1. Hi Susan,

      I’m sorry, but it is not possible to give individual advice. However, generally,in 1909 and earlier, if a floor needed to be replaced in a living area, it would’ve been wood. It would not necessarily be the same wood. But they would’ve stained it to match. Or, at least match as closely as possible. I actually like that and think it adds to the charm of an antique home.

  5. Swiffer feet!? These remind me of my junior year abroad in France. I spent the first month with a family who had new hardwood floors. They had dusting slippers we had to change into at the entry. Now my house has tile floors on a slab. My feet HURT. I’d love hardwood but it might be almost as hard over a slab. In the meantime I wear really thick flip-flops.

    Thanks for an interesting post. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays etc to all

  6. OMG lol the beginning of this post! Thank you for conceding that there is some possibility besides hardwood out there for floors in a kitchen. When we moved & renovated I lobbied for hardwood throughout our semi-open floor plan but my husband absolutely refused to consider it. He said he has seen and helped fix (he’s handy) too many failed/leaking dishwashers to do it, and didn’t trust water damage from normal sink splashings either. We did similar toned tile a shade lighter.

    Now a year down the road from that decision I am glad!! I can see how with real hardwood that’s sealed on top after install, it might work out ok in a kitchen but like most people I know we could only afford nice engineered wood “planks”, which have hairline cracks between each one where water can absorb on the raw sides and end grain of each “plank”. I’ve since read that it’s common for people to have complaints about damage on such floors from water spills or pet accidents. Frankly I’m terrified looking ahead to my daughter doing potty training soon and hope we can hold off till spring so I can just keep her outdoors all the time and save my floors!!

  7. Hi Laurel, some random thoughts about various floors I’ve known: the first floor in our 1916 kitchen was a very cheap vinyl tile. It’s seen in dental offices everywhere and looks great. What I didn’t realize is that it requires endless upkeep as per the nightly cleaning and buffing done in office buildings. When we “did” our kitchen, our designer wanted stone which I knew would be torture. We settled on the same wood as elsewhere in our apt. It has some dings from dropped sharp objects but I don’t care. In the country we have excellent quality sheet vinyl that resembles terra-cotta squares. I don’t remember the name but it looks, cleans, and wears very well. In northern Californian marmoleom fits very well with the Craftmen houses there. Finally, we rented a beautifully designed house on Martha’s Vineyard for several years: the wood floors were warped throughout, clearly wood was a bad choice of material for that climate. None of these spaces are open-plan, but the lesson is the same: there are many good choices but they be suited to the house and its owner.

    1. Thank you Naomi. I’m wondering what’s in most old homes in Martha’s Vineyard. I imagine that the old homes have wide plank pine. My son and I went to Provincetown on Cape Cod and the B&B we stayed at had the most gorgeous old pine floors. The floors also might’ve been warped from some other reason, like a flood, possibly? It’s just that there are a lot of old homes along that area and southeastern Connecticut. That’s where the sea captains built their homes, like in Mystic and Stonington, CT and I am sure that their floors were wood. They didn’t have any other material back then; except maybe stone, but stone wasn’t used very much, I don’t think.

      1. Fascinating comment re MV. The house was newish, the wood was strip oak. We rented an old, old house on Nantucket once where wide-plank pine was everywhere and it was completely fine. I haven’t a clue why that would be.

  8. I’ve said this hundreds of times but I love wood in the kitchen. It’s easier to stand on, things rarely break when you drop them (compared to tile) and they look great. Wood ages well – it wears its dents and dings with style. Vinyl plank can be great too. We put it in all our rentals and most people think it’s wood even after living with it. I prefer having the same flooring on a single level, especially in a smaller place. That limestone is gorgeous, but my knees and back couldn’t take standing on it for long at my age.
    I hope you’re feeling well Laurel. Thanks for another year of great posts.

  9. Here’s another vote for hardwood floors in the kitchen…and everywhere. I’m still on cloud nine after having renovated my kitchen, going from a 1980’s vinyl-coated, wood veneer, “peel and stick” flooring, called Vinylwood to unfinished, red oak in random /lengths, “seconds” (a.k.a. cheap) that my floor guy finished with a commercial polyurethane product and they are beautiful! They blend right in with the rest of the home’s original (same) oak flooring that I’ve only had refinished once. I imagine my kitchen floor will hold up for 30+ years, too! Wood is easy on the feet, dishes and electronics. A medium wood tone doesn’t show every little thing.

    Hint: when my husband laid the original floor in our new home, it was hot and humid. By mid-winter, the wood shrank a bit, leaving some cracks between the boards. To my surprise, a professional decorator exclaimed, “How did you get these floors to look aged? They’re beautiful!” 😉😁

    1. Hi Merrilyn,

      You bring up a very good point. It is best to have a wood floor or any built-in installed in the summer and the wood should sit in the house for a few days before it goes in. The times we’ve had problems were with winter installations.

  10. Hahahahaa! So I finally got my new floor in my kitchen. I did 8 inch pine planks and I am painting them with BM Advance in Mayonaise (exterior is Hawthorne and Mayonaise). I have one coat left to do but I cannot tell you how much I love them. My heart goes all pitter patter when I walk in. I have east facing light and skylights in the kitchen and it’s just gorgeous.

    Robot vacuum. Mine is from amazon and cost 250 bucks and is worth every single penny. I have 6 small dogs and this floor is super easy to keep clean so far. All the naysayers are uhmmm floored at how gorgeous it is. We still have a long way to go in the kitchen, working on drywall right today. Hoping to get cabinets in next week. And I found the most perfect pale blue antique chair to go in the corner by the French doors.

    Thanks for such a great blog, I never would have stuck to my white floor otherwise!

    1. Yes, I forgot to put it in my own comment but the Roomba we got last Christmas was the BEST PRESENT EVER to go with our new hardwood floors. Sucks the dust right out of the cracks between the planks too, unlike sweeping.

  11. I have had wood floors in my kitchen for the past 16 years and love them. Easy to keep clean and yes they have some scratches and dents but I think that just adds character. Of course it is a personal decision, but we just decided to go all hardwood in our house and replaced them with prefinished wood. I was told that they are baked so the finish is super hard. I have only had them for a week now, but love the way it looks.

  12. Laurel, you are a riot! Swiffer socks? I love it. On this subject, I have a 50’s house in Florida with terrazzo throughout. It isn’t the prettiest I’ve seen but I would NEVER cover it. So many people don’t appreciate what it is. Mine needs to be refinished (or cleaned) but I had a house before this one that was completely refinished terrazzo. It was dazzling. I had to move out for 10 days for them to do the job on a 1,000 sq. ft house. It was worth it. I found an expert on terrazzo and had it done very reasonably. I could see my reflection in it and it wasn’t slippery. I wish more people would work with what they have (if it is worth saving) rather than destroying it due to “fashion.”

    I have been following your blog now for about 4 months. I don’t remember how I found you, but I look forward to your postings. You have given me some great ideas. I even ordered some Vitamin K that you discussed. I also scored a gorgeous George Smith sofa for a steal. I was looking for a sofa and read your postings to decide what I wanted. Great information. Best to you and hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

  13. Hello Laurel,

    Was your 1960’s floor perhaps Armstrong Montina? I was just reading about that today. It had vinyl chips set in clear vinyl, giving a weird texture to the top.
    Wood floors perhaps don’t seem as clean as vinyl or linoleum, and some may stain more easily. Also, these days they (even the fake kinds)are often dark wood, which I personally don’t like.
    For softer floors that don’t break dishes and are easy on your feet, kitchen carpeting seems to have been completely abandoned. It was the “in” thing for a short time when my mother had it installed in the ’60’s, and it was very comfortable and lasted in good condition for decades–absolutely no problems or regrets. But I suppose a decorator would sooner hang up her hat than recommend kitchen carpet–or do they even make it anymore?

    1. Hi Jim,

      Well, it’s close. I spent an hour earlier looking for it. I think it’s called Pebblette also by Armstrong. I just added the only little piece I could find. Anyway, I think it had asbestos in it. No wonder we all have cancer!

  14. Hey Laurel – I hate to be pedantic BUT – the linoleum floor shown from Apartment Therapy may actually be Vinyl Composition Tiles (ie VC Tiles).

    You didn’t talk about VC Tiles, except to mention your former floor, which it sounds like they were ? They are an inexpensive product which is actually a very good value for the price. The color is continuous through the tile, so it won’t wear off.

    I had VC Tiles in a former apartment, and while I was initially not crazy about them, they were reasonably soft and quiet underfoot. I thoroughly cleaned and stripped them, then used a commercial polish for a high gloss finish. I even considered them for the bathroom and kitchen of my next house.

    I am not a big fan of the dull neutrals that are everywhere these days. VC Tile is also available in a commercial range and comes in a huge range of colors(yes, neutrals, too). If they can endure school and institutional use, then they will survive most kitchens.

    My only complaint about the VC Tiles was that whoever had installed them in that apartment appeared to have stuck them right on top of the vintage hardwood floors, and did so without carefully using a nail set to prep the floors. In certain areas that nails were beginning to work their way up through the tile, and this was especially apparent with a high gloss finish. I estimate the tiles to have been on that floor for at least 35 years, and while they were showing their age a little, for a floor in a cheap rental with scant maintenance they were doing great. They also did not get gummy, like 70’s and 80’s sheet vinyl flooring.

    I think they are a good product, particularly in older homes that have the original kitchen, or homes with a retro leaning design. They are also really good in mudrooms, laundry rooms, kids playrooms or anywhere that a hard wearing flooring is needed. I too dreamt of a beautiful unglazed porcelain hex tile floor, or antique encaustic tile, but it wasn’t in my budget at all.

    Forbo does manufacture sheet linoleum and linoleum tiles, under their Marmoleum line, but this is quite a bit more expensive than the VC Tile:


    Use a professional installer, though.

  15. We have a hardwood kitchen floor that has held up well for 20 years (our house was built in 1934 so it may have been here the whole time). It does need to be refinished due to lots of walking on it, but basically, it is a great choice. We had them sanded and polyurethaned before we moved in so it is time to do that again. I just mop them with water and vinegar and wipe dry.. I have also had cork floors in a den in my former home – they held up well there but I am not sure I would use them in a kitchen. Great article!

  16. Personally I love hardwood floors, but realistically don’t see how they could work for me in a kitchen. Just too much foot traffic, etc. But I also have some back issues, so standing on a hard surface for any length of time will cause problems for me. We built a sun room not too long ago, and the floor is made of something called engineered stone, which still looks terrific after five or six years of wear and tear – and I’m talking pets, and men going in and out, and using the room as their man cave. (I should tell you that, much to my dismay, I live in a fraternity house, Laurel. I say that facetiously, but it certainly feels as if I do.) The only issue with the floor in the sun room is keeping the grout clean. The floor in the laundry room is concrete, and original to the house. It’s still beautiful and has held up wonderfully, and it’s an old house. (Perhaps I should attribute that to a good foundation.) I’m not much of a fan of linoleum or vinyl, but again, that’s just a personal preference. Tile is pretty, but then you have the hard surface issue again. I love the look of the limestone floors in the DeVol kitchen, and the poured concrete floor in Michael Graves’s home. I guess one really has to weigh and measure all the possibilities, and settle on a compromise. So many things to take into consideration!

    1. That was a good summation, Lisa. And, it’s probably why I haven’t had an entire post devoted to the subject. There are thousands of variables. And BTW, a lot of us live or in my case, used to live in a frat house. haha

  17. We’ve had wood floors in 3 kitchens now, all open floor plans. Our decision was made when we went to a party at one of my husband’s colleagues. They lived in an old, old house, probably 100 years old and wood everywhere. It was old and beat up, but we knew then that an old scratched up wood floor always looks better than any other old floor. Decision made 20 years ago. Even in our first house, (which I got to see recently ) that 20 year old wood floor still looked great. I think vinyl, tile anything else would look dated 20 years later.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Some of the higher-end vinyl wood-look products are surprisingly realistic looking. It all depends on a lot of factors like budget and especially location. Some people, like in humid Florida can’t put in a hardwood floor without having all sorts of problems. But, they love the look, so a realistic looking vinyl floor plank, is the answer they seek.

      I think it also depends on what else is going on in the room. Now, how many times have I said that? haha

  18. My mother was a professional cook and she warned me about ceramic tile in the kitchen. I didn’t listen and am sorry. It looks fine, except for the chips in the colored coating. (Nail polish can camouflage it). And the hard, hard floor kills my back, even if I’m wearing my most padded, best fitting tennis shoes. The room isn’t huge and I know I can have it removed and replaced with wood or whatever, but the mess! Dust will be everywhere. We had our ceramic tile foyer replaced with vinyl planks (I love it) about 2 years ago and I am still finding dust from the tile removal. Yes, they put up plastic sheeting over doorways. It seeped through the subfloor into the basement and found its way all around the house. I’m not ready to go through that again. I have used those thick padded mats on the floor in front of the usual spots where one stands the most, but they are tripping hazards and hard to clean as well as ugly as all-get-out. I guess this is just a mini(?) rant. I don’t expect you to have an answer for me, except that I need a cook and bottle washer. OK for the bottle washer, but I love to cook. Thanks, Laurel for all your inspirational posts. I have added the blue and white porcelain to my not-blue-and-white livingroom and it looks great with new pillows and throws. Flow blue plates here and there, two of those blue and white lamps you featured a few weeks ago, and a blue and white “thunder mug” which holds a plant instead of what it was intended to hold. You’re great and I hope you have a wonderful, healthy new year.

    1. I have the anti=fatigue mats too and they are great for my feet. I have rag rugs covering them for easy clean up and water absorption. Yes, still a bit of a tripping hazard, but looks a whole lot better and the sticky surface of the mats helps to hold the rugs in place. I got my rugs at crafts fairs and they are made locally and in a pretty variety of colors.

  19. Laurel, this is a terrific post that will be very helpful to lotsof people.

    Kudos to Alison for the floor made out of shark tails made to resemble vinyl. And don’t forget that cork floors don’t mind if you spill wine on them. 😉

    Happy Holidays, you have grown on me and now I’m addicted. Xo

  20. Merry Christmas!
    I discovered your blog after doing my kitchen remodel earlier this year but in time to help with finishing touches. I love your sense of humor as well as design pointers. Thank you for helping me find the right “white” for my walls! You’ll also be pleased to know I have no upper cabinets lol.
    When it came to my flooring, wood wasn’t practical for me. I live in a rural area on a dirt road and between dirt, dust, and animals, wood wasn’t a good choice. I installed vinyl plank flooring throughout my kitchen, dining, and living area in a wood pattern and it is beautiful. You literally cannot tell it isn’t a wood floor but it has similar durability of vinyl. Although it can still scratch, it is waterproof.
    Vinyl plank flooring is quite popular in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Builders have even put it in high end homes here for a number of years. It isn’t a cheap substitute as the cost can be comparable to wood if you choose a high quality vinyl plank – which I did. It is absolutely stunning and I love it!
    Warmest wishes for the new year,

  21. Hi Laurel! I enjoyed the round up with all the pictures very much. (as usual). I wish I had several houses in different places, for many other reasons of course, but I also have this thing with floors(c))
    Your posts always make my mornings better, and huge thank you for that.
    Happy Holidays!

  22. We just installed luxury vinyl plank. Looks like hardwood, doesn’t scratch. We opted for a more expensive, thicker brand from a flooring store, not a big box. We had hardwood in two previous houses and it was fine, just too expensive to do our new 3000 sq ft house.

  23. Hi Laurel,
    On @A_Grand_Renovation she painted & stenciled her old vinyl floor. It now looks like a cement tile. It’s really cool but it had to have been a lot of work.
    I hope you have a great holiday with your loved ones.

    1. Oh wow! That’s something! I’ve seen others do that sort of thing and all I can say is bless them and their backs! Here’s wishing you a beautiful holiday too, Mary. I am alone this year. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. Tiny, tiny family and none live near me.

  24. For those considering the super hard floors, like concrete…think about how long you’re planning on living in that space…and whether or not you expect to be there as you age, and your feet flatten and the tissues get thinner. Those surfaces that look so cool and are so durable can have your feet in *agony* in as little as 15 minutes, when that time comes! :/. (On the plus side—aging feet is a great way to keep yourself from overspending on Things You Suddenly Want, But Don’t Need in big box hardware stores…because your feet hurt so badly you have to leave after 15 minutes. ;))

    For those considering something like cork…well, cork is SUPER soft and DIVINE on aging feet—SO comfy—but it is VERY fragile, I’ve found. In the 7 years I’ve had one, it’s been only me, in either soft, comfy, foam bottomed shoes or barefoot, and in the last 4 years, an 11 pound dog and a 6.5 pound dog with very short nails using it…and I don’t cook, so “kitchen use” is pretty much feeding the dogs twice a day, washing my hands at the kitchen sink and popping things in the microwave. There’s no table, no chairs, no dropping things, no kids—and it STILL has dents and dings all over it. I’ve NEVER had a floor this sensitive before!

    In other words—I’d say it’s a great choice for single, sedentary people who don’t use the kitchen too much—and who have aging feet (did I mention it’s DIVINELY soft??!!!). It reminds me of the way a good sprung floor dance studio feels—with a little extra cushion to it.

    I have an open floor plan loft—all hardwood except for the bedroom and kitchen, and I plan on eventually replacing the cork with hardwood…which…if not as comfy as cork, looks nicer and is more durable—as well as being softer than, say, concrete. 🙂

    Just thought I’d throw out those “comfort” thoughts—since I don’t hear them gone into, in depth, too often. 🙂

    1. Hi Aurora,

      You had me at foot pain. Honestly, I could be walking on pillows and my feet would be killing me after a time. I think it’s a nerve thing, most likely brought on by years of ballet training/dancing with wide feet, not really meant for such things.

      Mine isn’t an age thing so much, although yes, it makes it worse. The left one did improve due to a cortisone injection about 15 years ago. But the right one only worsened for a time after I tried it about 6 years ago.

  25. Hi Laurel,

    It is a conundrum – style, comfort, durability. Linoleum may be a nice balance of the three, but if your space is smaller do you want to break it up with different flooring? Embrace linoleum throughout? And if you have to sell will that fly with potential buyers?

    Not sure if it is a topic that you have tackled previously, but sometimes one is constrained by outside factors. The condo I live in presently requires that upstairs units have carpet on the stairs and most other areas except the kitchen/bath/laundry.

    So maybe other readers would also appreciate a post on what to consider if you just have to have wall to wall carpet.

    1. Hi Katy,

      Having carpeting on the stairs, assuming it’s a finished stair tread, doesn’t have to mean wall-to-wall. A runner would be the same, because no one is walking on the few inches of wood margin. The same is true for halls and bedrooms. But some people do want wall-to-wall in their bedrooms. And of course, if the stair tread is ply-wood, then unless one wants to redo that, it’s going to be wall-to-wall. I’ve done many wall-to-wall installations, but generally go for something tailored or once in a very modern house we did, we did a beautiful wool abrash. 400 sq yards! Yes, indeedy. That, was a nice order! Loveliest client ever, too!

  26. We are also licensed contractors so in addition to design, also get lots of jobs for kitchen updates. There are many composite tiles that are a beautiful option – Aduramax and Duraceramic are a couple of brand names we use frequently and like because – in our area tile can be super cold if not heated and is very hard to stand on for long periods of time without a mat. This can look like tile or wood and we usually prefer the grouted tile options. Another option we have been very happy with is a product like Coretec which is waterproof up to 72 hours so if you have a dishwasher leak your floors don’t have to be replaced and it is another beautiful option. So many good and great options and too many to list but these are not tacky either!

  27. I love hardwood floors. We have them throughout our house except the kitchen. So I agree that scratching is not a problem, but I am interested in your thoughts on water damage in kitchens with hardwoods. We are about to remodel. And I LOVE your blog. Have followed your brilliant thoughts for years.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      While water damage is certainly possible, we did not experience permanent damage with our two floods and I was sure the second time, that the floor was going to need to be replaced. But when it dried it, it all went back to the way it was. I do also recommend three coats of poly. Some flooring guys only do one coat of stain and two coats of poly.

  28. First may I say I have kept you in my prayers. And then about floors, we bought our fixer a year ago and now finally have a kitchen. I chose one floor to do the entire first level, straight back from the front door, bowling alley style. It is Natural maple, hardwood, love it. We bought enough, and apparently have enough to go ahead and do the back entry from the garage where the washer/dryer closet reside, the master closet, and and the upper ‘catwalk’ will be done as well. All that is left on the bottom floor is the master bath. We are on a mental health break! Best wishes and Merry Holidays to you.

  29. Haha, I thought you were kidding about the slippers. The kitty ones are too funny! Well, they all are pretty hilarious. I will have to try it for guests sometime… maybe April 1? As I am a couple of days away from my 65th birthday, my kitchen floor requirements have changed over time. My next one is looking like vinyl floor planks. And possibly a wood look. When we moved into this home it had a good quality wood laminate flooring throughout, and I grew to love it. Easy to clean, pets can’t destroy it and it seems to always look ok. I would never have said this 10 years ago! Priorities change. I hope you are feeling better. Thanks for a giggle!

  30. This is such a hard choice since everything has drawbacks.

    Since I moved to the mountains 17 years ago, I have rented several houses – each house was either brand new or fairly new. Most of them had the wood flooring go all the way into the kitchen.

    I have such mixed emotions about this. Yes, it looks great. Yes, it is easier to care for than some people think. But I always wonder how all these houses are going to look years from now when the kitchen floors start showing more wear and tear than the rest of the house.

    The reason is that the kitchen just gets more stuff falling on those wood floors, while the rest of the house is more protected. It’s always the kitchen where the floors start creaking first because even with polyurethane coatings, water still gets in if you don’t notice it fast enough. Plus, you have to mop the kitchen floors a lot more often than the rest of them.

    We moved out of one house and instructed the electric company to keep the power on until the new renters moved in. A few days later, I met the real estate agent who rented the house to us to do a final walk-through so we could get our deposit back. In spite of my instructions, the electric company had shut off the power. We discovered that all the ice in the freezer had melted and the water had flowed out onto the wood floors in the kitchen. We mopped it up, but the kitchen floor had already swollen and buckled.

    A friend of ours had a similar problem when their new refrigerator’s water filter failed because they mistakenly replaced it with a generic filter. The water destroyed the wood floors in their kitchen. It was an open floor plan. They had to tear up ALL the wood floors on their main level and replace the whole thing, just because of the kitchen floor.

    So, yeah, I have mixed emotions. 🙁

    1. Hi Lorri,

      Sorry for your problems with the wood floors and your friend too.

      Over the years, we had two floods that hit our wood floors from the boys’ bathroom. ;]

      ***Tip. If you ever have water damage, get the insurance adjuster in there ASAP. Things always look worse, the first few days. Of course, if it’s water damage due to a natural disaster, that might not be possible.

      In the early days, after our floods, the floor wasn’t looking too happy but after it dried out, it went back to the way it was before the flood. I was amazed! Anyone who lives in an area with extremes of climate will probably notice their floors shrinking in the winter and expanding in the summer for the same reason.

      The other thing and I discuss it in this post, is that some polyurethanes are better than others. The one we used was oil based Fabulon- semi-gloss. And that is the one I recommend. It was beautiful and super-strong. The only thing, is that it might only be available in quarts. EPA BS, IMO.

      There might be other brands, but that is the one I know. Water based polys are not the same nor do they offer the same protection. Believe me. I had a couple of flooring guys who swore otherwise, but that has not been my experience. If anyone has had a different experience, please let us know. My criteria is that it needs to hold up AND have a lustrous, non-plastic looking finish.

      For damp mopping, what I recommend is what I learned from my cleaning lady. Take a towel and use that as the mop. They, immediately go over the floor with a dry towel. The water won’t have enough of a chance to soak through, that way.

    2. I almost forgot. Another rental we had with wood floors everywhere, s l o w l y became saturated from a burst pipe in winter. The landlord had insurance, but it only paid to replace the damaged part, which was the family room area of the large kitchen. What a nightmare. It had to be done three times because they just could not get it right. The original floor was such a distinct pattern. In the end, you could totally tell where the new wood met up with the old wood.

      A lot of builders use engineered wood. I know the quality is all over the map with engineered wood floors. From what I’ve read, if you get a really good quality brand, the poly is on all sides, not just the surface, which helps with water damage.

      Maybe a good option is to buy some spare boards in the same wood, and keep them in storage just in case. Then a partial repair would look a lot better.

      Since there are issues with classic linoleum and other softer options, I’d probably just stick with the wood and have some spare in storage. Either that, or just be resigned to eventual replacement and try to take care of it as best I can.

      I do know that a hard floor would make me very unhappy, thanks to my inherited bad knees and sciatica.

  31. I have concrete floors and absolutely LOVE them….after having been an Interior Designer for almost 40 years I wanted something different when we built 2 1/2 years ago, so concrete floors it was!….so easy to clean and I have oriental rugs all over them which warms up the look….I would recommend them to anyone!…especially people with pets…although we don’t have any pets I look forward to having dog in my 80’s!

    On my Instagram account there are posts with sightings of my floors….deborahgibsondesign…the look would be too contemporary for me without rugs but I think they would work with most any design aesthetic.

  32. Pretty doggone good reading here, Laurel. I even went to all the links because I woke up too early this a.m, and I need to decide if I’m going to prime my cabinets today for painting or just use some rejuvenate (really works who knew?) on my wood floors before my husband returns from Indiana.
    We have Mannington vinyl in our bathrooms and love the softness. Had tile in kitchen in my last four houses. Wears well but even with large 18” tiles and “dirt-colored” grout in house we built 5 yrs ago in California, keeping the grout Lines clean is the real issue. I broke a couple of dishes too. But the cleaning was the real issue.
    [my daughter in California opted for high-end wood-look tile planks in her new home two years ago. She has dropped and broken 2 iPads and 1 iPhone thus far on the beautiful dark planks. ]
    This small house outside Atlanta has wood floors throughout. I wanted wood in our new-build kitchen but went for “safe” tile. I have to say, your assessment of the wood is dead on. It’s comfortable, cleans up well, and the only scratches I have are from a 2-yr old visitor doing some heavy construction work with a heavy metal tractor that I only found after his momma took him home. I am still Team Wood.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog. You are a true resource.


    1. Thanks so much Red. Ouch on your daughter’s electronic mishaps! I feel her pain. I’ve not broken any, but years ago, I did drown one laptop with a cup of coffee and two other times had to put it in intensive care for a couple of days. lol It was one particular mug which I finally got rid of!

      I gather that her floor is the porcelain tile. It has its advantages,especially in hot, muggy climates. But, of course, it’s very hard.

  33. Good morning from Norway, Laurel! And happy holidays!

    The kitchen floor question was a big one when we built our new farm house. It has a very large open kitchen/dining/family room (about 120 square meters/1300 square feet – and no, that’s not a typo) , with a large double opening to the hallway. As said, it’s a farmhouse: 4 cats, one or two dogs, always mud/sand/water/hay and so on being dragged in. Everybody is supposed to take their work boots off when they come in, but sometimes that just does not work. And the cats come in with mud and hay in their (long) coats, not to mention living mice!

    Also, we have underfloor heating, so the floor should hold up to that.

    I love linoleum but don’t think it looks good in a dining room or a sitting room ;)…

    Wood floors would have been possible, but can warp with the underfloor heating. Plus we have quite a bit of wooden furniture and I worried about it getting too much like a ‘cabin in the woods’.

    Tiles would have worked, but I am at the age where I can feel it in my back if I walk/stand on hard surfaces for a longer period. (I recently saw some rubber mats for people who, in their line of work, have to stand on concrete or stone floors for long periods. Not a great look for a family kitchen, however.)

    I considered concrete but that would be a LOT of concrete. Our contractor was not really happy about it either. Since it’s such a large room, there is a chance of small cracks and such. Also, the final cost with sealant and all would be more than a conventional floor. On top of that it feels like a fairly trendy look, not sure if I would get bored with it quickly.

    This room is facing north and of course we have long and very dark winters here. So preferably it should be a lighter floor – but not so light that you see every speck/dog print/cat hair.

    Laminate floors are very popular here and some of them look fantastic. I found a high quality laminate floor that looks like tiles, in a ‘greige’ colour and shape almost exactly like the one you show in the picture of the Devol kitchen in your post!

    It is matte and has some colour/texture variation. This makes dirt and dust almost invisible. It is very scratch resistant, does not mind when you drop things, and even handles fluid spills without problems (of course we don’t let spills stand on the floor but swipe them up immediately). We have used it in the whole room plus the hallway, which makes for a very nice flow. We did put in an ‘under foam’ and the floor is very comfy to walk and stand on.
    Best of all, the colour looks great with almost any kind of carpet/furniture. Very versatile.

    In the kitchen area there is a nice quality Persian runner, which I bought cheaply second hand. Because of the pattern it also does not show spots or spills :). And it provides even more padding to stand on when cooking.

    About your shoe comment: in Norway and Sweden it is mandatory to take off your shoes when coming into a house! Some people even have a basket of slippers for guests. I have been at parties where people have dressed up nicely, and everybody goes in their socks/stockings! It is also not uncommon to arrive in your bad-weather boots and carry a pair of nice, clean shoes to wear inside. Or even thick winter socks to put on over your stockings (interesting look with a party frock).

    Many houses have softer wood floors – which mark horrendously – so it can be frowned upon if you come to a party wearing shoes with high and pointy heels :)!!

    Oh well, I have just taken it as an excuse to extend my shoe collection with some polished soft-sole party shoes…

    Hope you are feeling well – or at least better – and that you get the festive season you want and deserve!

    1. Funny about the party clothes and heavy socks. This decorating thing isn’t easy. There are so many pros and cons to a lot of things. I actually like cracks in a concrete floor, but I realize that most do not. Happy holidays to you as well!

  34. When I remodeled my kitchen about 4 years ago in my 1924 house, I pointed out to the contractors that the kitchen floor was significantly higher than the living room floor (which it connects to through a doorway). They couldn’t believe there was anything worth salvaging under there but I convinced them to try – they ended up pulling up 3 layers of floor (apparently no one who lived in this house ever bothered to remove the previous installation, they just went over it): Tile on top, then vinyl, then plastic… and then there was the beautiful wood which looked like it had never seen daylight… they had to sand the glue from the plastic off of it – it’s beautiful. Yes there is a scratch or dent here or there, and a stain from water damage done long before I ever lived here – but I love it, knowing it’s all part of the history of my house and linked to those who lived here before me.

    1. Hi Anna,

      Well you reclaimed your already installed reclaimed wood floor! Sounds wonderful! I love those old floors. I love the dings, scratches and patina they get that can’t be replicated except through time.

  35. Hi Laurel,

    We have hardwood in our kitchen, flowing into the great room, and we love it. Yes, over time it does scratch a bit, but not all that much. And I have to vacuum it and then mop it, but I only do the latter every couple of weeks. Thanks to you, I stopped using Murphy’s on it. Some day we will have it refinished, but after 19 years, it still looks great and sometimes, things we drop don’t break. It’s soft underfoot, and I’m in here a lot.

    If your readers want a tile floor, I think the rectified tile is the way to go. We have tile with very large grout lines in other parts of our house, and it’s impossible to keep clean. I can’t wait until we can rip it out and replace it. I would cut back somewhere else to afford rectified tile.

    Thanks for the Christmas wishes–I hope you have a great day, whatever you are doing.

  36. Hi Laurel,
    Merry Christmas from 37 degrees Brisbane Australia. it’s hot, even for us! Our Christmas lunch will consist of seafood, baked ham and salads followed by pavlova and ice cream. I currently have beautiful hardwood floors throughout my open plan home and I love them. I’ve had tiles, vinyl and wood over the years but to be honest the best I’ve ever had was cork. It wasn’t yellow or mottled just a pleasant shade of brown. I know what you mean though about being yellow as some I have seen are just plain awful. I would definitely have cork again especially on a slab construction. So comfortable and easy to clean. Thank you for all the joy and great advice you have given me this year and I hope 2019 brings you everything you wish for yourself. You are the best by a country mile Laurel!

    1. Oh wow! 37 degrees C IS hot. That’s 98.6 F – Body temperature! It’s difficult to conceive of Christmas and it being hot out. But, like I’ve always said, I don’t think they had pine trees, at least like we have in Europe and North America, where Jesus was from. I’ve never been to Israel, but I did live 6 months in Cairo, Egypt.

    2. I grew up in Florida. When you grow up with palm trees and no snow, you don’t suffer from the “It’s not Christmas when it’s warm” thoughts. All you need is to see the decorations to feel the season. Of course, Florida gets cool in December, and sometimes even cold, so even that little seasonal difference may help.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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