After years of being thought of as an undesirable ‘cost-effective’ alternative, laminate flooring is on trend right now, and it’s about time. With great popularity, however, often comes a deluge of options, so it’s understandable that you might be overwhelmed by the sheer variety of laminate flooring options available both online and offline.
That’s why it’s best to take a room-by-room approach, highlighting exactly what it is that makes each room tick and what flooring would work most organically with its aesthetic and functionality. First, however, let’s start with the basics.
The Latest Trends in Laminate Flooring
When it comes to laminate flooring, how to choose the design depends on a number of factors. One of those factors will undoubtedly be the major trends currently affecting the sector. Manufacturers alter their designs and make their offers based on what’s currently trending, so it’s important to understand what’s hot and what’s not at any given point in time.
In 2019, there is a general shift away from clean, perfectly symmetrical designs towards rustic ‘hand-scraped’ patterns that resemble worn and lived-in hardwood floors. This reflects the overall trend towards the distressed, up-cycled aesthetic that has been seeping into design culture in recent years. For colour, meanwhile (more below), we’re seeing very light and very dark shades winning out, alongside contrasting colours that can really make a room pop.
Wider planks are also being used to create more unique styles. The wider the plank, the more room for designers to explore their creativity. As far as features are concerned, waterproofing is also increasingly popular amongst laminate flooring adoptees.
Choosing Your Colour
Which colour you choose for your laminate flooring will ultimately depend on the room and what you’re pairing it with. A good old fashioned colour wheel is a wonderful way of figuring out which colours clash and which fit well together, but there is also received wisdom to take into account.
For example, warm colours like yellow, brown and red will always go well together, whereas cool colours like grey, blue and green will also comfortably sit alongside one another. Contrasting colours can also work, of course, but might create an effect that’s a little bold for certain rooms.
Ultimately, laminate flooring is made up of pressed wood and a photorealistic image, so it could technically take on any colour, but most manufacturers will keep it simple with whites, blacks, greys and various wood shades.
White and lighter coloured laminates offer a neutral option that should create a bright and minimalist look when paired with similarly light furniture, or a more striking look when paired with brighter coloured furniture. Go overboard, however, and it can lead to a rather clinical look that might be suitable for a doctors surgery, but not for your family home.
Going warmer with natural wood effect laminates is a popular choice in dining rooms and living rooms, as these are the rooms where we tend to spend our downtime and appreciate the more homely atmosphere they create. Walnut and beech colours are particularly warming and can work well with lighter furniture. With walnut, in particular, the red undertones mean it works wonders in contemporary kitchens where holders colours are becoming increasingly popular.
Darker and black laminates, meanwhile, will go with just about anything but will give your room a heavier look unless it’s paired with lighter furniture. ‘Going dark’ is particularly common in very modern homes and in bedrooms, where darker colours are naturally better suited when it comes to finding your way comfortably and naturally into the land of Nod.
Halls and Landing
The hallway is the first area of your home that visitors will see, so it’s important to make a good first impression. It’s also, however, the area that tends to attract the most footfall, so laminate flooring in the hallway needs to be both durable and attractive. You’ll want to opt for a laminate that is at least 10mm thick and make sure the laminate underlay is suitably thick to not only absorb sound but make sure the floor in comfortable, as the hallway (both downstairs and on the landing upstairs), is the connective tissue of your home. Darker wood effects are also recommended, as they hide stained and scratches well. Note that laminate flooring can be used on stairs, but it can be slippery, so for the upper levels of your home, we’d recommend more heavily textured laminate flooring.
A versatile space where you’ll probably be spending the lion’s share of your free time, the lounge should always be kept light and neutral and should compliment your furniture. As with the hall and landing, living room laminate flooring should be durable, particularly if you have pets or small children who like to play. A decent underlay will also make sure the floor isn’t cold to the touch. The living room is also where we all tend to have the most accidents, so it’s important that the flooring you choose is easy to clean. Light, natural wood effect laminates are always a good fit for a living room, but be sure to experiment with different combinations before making your choice.
Not only designed for entertaining your guests but for hosting your daily family meals, the dining room is an incredibly important focal point of any home and the flooring should reflect this. As it is likely to be blighted by food and drink stains, you’ll most likely want to opt for a darker walnut wood effect and a finish that allows it to be wiped clean quickly. As the dining room is often so close to the kitchen, you’ll also want to make sure that the flooring in the kitchen and the dining room complement each other well, especially if your home boasts a more open-plan design.
Laminate floors are perfect for the kitchen due to their hardwearing, wipe-clean nature. You should always be going for function over fashion in a kitchen situation, of course, but you also want you kitchen laminate flooring to suit the decor and the dining room it’s most likely attached to. Laminate flooring in the kitchen should really be of a darker hue to hide any spills and stains, but if you can’t bring yourself to ‘go dark’ then there are plenty of heavily patterned and wood or stone effect options to consider that serve a similar purpose. For a more traditional look and feel, tiled laminated flooring is also a popular option and of course, all laminate flooring in the kitchen should be waterproof, if possible.
A bedroom is, by nature, a more personal room that should reflect your unique personality. Laminate flooring for bedrooms is generally darker, as darker hues are more likely to make us want to go to sleep (which is ostensibly what the bedroom is for), but there is plenty of scope to experiment within that. Consider going for a loft apartment look with an oak effect design or installing something more rustic you want your bedroom to feel like it belongs in a traditional English cottage or farmhouse. You might even prefer the light an airy vibe, particularly if you’re designing a loft bedroom. Also, note that you’ll be barefoot a lot in this room, so a thick underlay or underfloor heating might be something to consider.
Laminate flooring might not be 100% waterproof, but it is significantly more resistant to water than hardwood, which will warp over time after countless baths and showers. Laminate flooring for bathrooms also means you can give your bathroom a more unique design, if you so wish. If you want to explore the possibilities of an industrial look and pretend your bathroom is situated in the bowels of the Titanic, you can do just that. Conversely, if you want a more ‘classic’ look, you can get an effect that looks just like tile to create a design that is consistent with your tiled walls. The best laminate flooring for the bathroom, however, is anything water-resistant. Thankfully, many manufacturers offer the option of sealing your laminate planks to prevent water from dripping between the seams. It might cost a premium though.
Finally, the conservatory is all about bringing in as much natural light as possible, so your conservatory’s laminate flooring needs to reflect this is you really want to make the most of it. Try to keep it light and simple, with whites and beiges and light wooden effects. A thinner floor will also give your conservatory a more Mediterranean feel, and as it will be getting so much sun, the floor will rarely be cold. On that note, however, the extra UV exposure does mean any laminate flooring in the conservatory will probably fade faster than in other rooms in the home. So keep that very much in mind when selecting your colour and pattern.