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What colour laminate is best in my living room?

If you are redecorating your living room – or perhaps it is just time for some new flooring – you will face a whole world of decisions. Once you have decided to go with laminate flooring, you might think the hard work is over; however, you will soon find the choices of finishes, textures and colours are almost limitless. Getting the colour of your floor right makes a huge difference to the look and feel of your living room, so here are a few things to think about before you make your final decision.

Think about the size of your room

The colour of the floor has a considerable impact on how big the room feels. If you have a large room that sometimes feels a little cold or unwelcoming, opt for a darker yet warm wood, such as a walnut or oak. The latter is particularly prized for its warmth and adds a classy touch to any room. If you are dealing with a smaller room and want to make it feel more airy and spacious, consider a lighter colour. Pines or light maples can really help to open up a small space and make it seem much bigger than it actually is.

Get hold of some samples

The problem with viewing your potential new flooring in the store or online is that it might look very different in your own home. The artificial lighting in stores is usually harsh and very different to the lighting in our homes – natural light makes a big difference. Get hold of some samples of the laminates you are interested in and view them in different lighting conditions. Ideally, you should take them home and place them on the floor so that you can get a good feel for how the room will look if you use them for the entire floor. The time of day also makes a difference, so see how you like the look of the laminates in the morning light, afternoon sun and at dusk. You will be surprised just how different it looks in different conditions! Don’t forget to see how it looks after dark with the curtains or blinds closed and your normal living room lighting on.

Consider neighbouring rooms

If your hall – or whichever room your living room is entered from – has very distinctive flooring, consider whether this will look OK next to your new laminate. You might even choose to stick to similar colours throughout your home to create a pleasing flow between rooms.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

What is the best flooring for an office?

Whether you are setting up a new office from scratch or simply refitting an existing one, you have probably already thought about the office flooring. You might be determined to opt for traditional carpet due to its sound-muffling qualities, or you might be looking into whether wood is a practical choice because you simply love the luxurious image it presents. This article aims to give you a quick rundown of some of the most popular types of office flooring, along with their pros and cons.


Carpet is a popular choice for offices, particularly carpet tiles. These are affordable, hardwearing, and allow small sections of damage to be replaced without having to lay a whole new carpet. Carpet is great for muffling sound, which is something you might be grateful for if you work in a busy office. It is also warm and comfortable underfoot. If you are fitting out a smaller office, or you want a more luxurious feel, you can switch from the tightly-woven heavy-duty tiles to something with a deeper pile.


Wood flooring looks great in modern offices and traditional spaces alike. It is the timeless choice and is ideal for luxurious or aspirational brands. While it is hardwearing and can last for decades if well cared for, it is prone to scratching and does not always stand up well to heavy foot traffic without losing its lustre. It is not as noisy as tiles, but it does not have carpet’s sound-absorbing qualities. It is also expensive and will require specialist attention from time to time to keep it looking its best. If you want a luxe finish, however, polished hardwood is hard to beat.

Vinyl or laminate

Both vinyl and laminate floors are available in planks that can be laid quickly and usually fairly easily to modernise any space. Both types of flooring are available in an endless array of colours, finishes and styles, meaning there will definitely be something to suit every taste. Both are hardwearing and require very little in the way of maintenance or specialist attention, if any. They are easy to keep clean and can handle heavy foot traffic. With the right underlay, laminate can absorb a lot of sound, although it will generally not be as quiet as vinyl. These are good choices for busy offices, but you might find them too noisy if you have a lot of foot traffic.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Commercial Flooring

How carpeted floors can help to keep you warm this winter

Carpet might never have completely gone out of fashion; however, it is no longer the case that every home has carpeted floors in at least some rooms. Laminates, tiles and vinyl flooring have become increasingly popular in recent years, leaving carpet a far less common floor covering than it was just 20 years ago. Many people still prefer carpet in certain rooms of the home, however, even if they have wood or laminate elsewhere. Carpet is still a popular choice in living rooms and bedrooms, where people want to feel warm and cosy all year round. With so many other options on the market, it is easy to forget about the benefits of carpet and how much warmer it can make your home seem.

If you have a cold home that you struggle to heat in winter, carpet could help you to insulate your property and could even help you to reduce your energy bills.

Carpet for insulation

Carpet has excellent insulation properties and helps to keep heat inside your home. If you have exposed floorboards, as is currently extremely fashionable, you will no doubt be aware that they can be tricky to insulate properly. You will probably be accustomed to the feeling of draughts from your floor. While this might be OK – and even pleasant – in hot weather, once winter comes, you will struggle to heat your home. Carpet can stop cold draughts coming up through your floorboards and keep any heat from your central heating or fire in the room. Some homes save up to five per cent on their heating bills by installing carpet instead of hard flooring – you could save even more if your floors are currently very poorly insulated.

No more cold feet

Whether you like to walk around your home barefoot or in socks or slippers, you will soon notice the difference warm feet can make to the rest of your body temperature. If you are used to hard, cold floors, imagine how nice it would be to be able to walk around your home barefoot no matter what the weather outside. The soft, comforting warmth of carpet is great for helping you to relax, and carpet will never feel cold – even in the harshest winter. If your feet are cold, it can be hard to warm up the rest of your body when temperatures drop. You will soon notice how much more comfortable your home feels in the winter months with carpet, even without turning the heating up.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

Why do I need underlay?

If you are in the market for new flooring, you possibly have a rough idea of your budget; however, don’t make the same mistake as many homeowners and forget to factor in the cost of a new underlay! While your existing underlay might look OK, the chances are that it will need replacing if it has been in place for a few years or longer, or if you are switching from one type of flooring to a completely different type.

What does underlay do?

Underlay offers a range of benefits, some more obvious than others. Here are just some of the things underlay does:

It adds comfort

Underlay provides you with a more comfortable, cushioned floor, which is particularly noticeable when it is installed under carpet or vinyl. It is a great benefit in family homes, especially if you have little ones who tend to spend a lot of time playing on the floor or falling over as they learn to walk. You can choose from underlays of different thicknesses, with a cushioned underlay making even thinner carpets feel more luxurious underfoot. Not only does underlay protect you and your family from the hard floor below but also it protects the floor from wear and tear, acting as a shock absorber.

It muffles sound

Underlay helps to limit the amount of noise that travels between floors and from room to room. This makes it particularly useful in upstairs rooms, such as bedrooms. Whatever type of flooring you have, underlay can help reduce the sound of echoing footsteps or of items being dropped. You can also purchase special noise reducing underlays that are specially designed for properties in which noise might be a problem, such as flats or workplaces.

It can help to reduce your energy bills

This is probably not the first thing you think of when you start looking at underlay for your home; however, it is an important benefit that is often overlooked. It goes without saying that a thick carpet helps to keep your home warmer than draughty old floorboards, so think how much energy and warmth you could conserve with a thick, cushioned underlay. If your home tends to be cold during autumn and winter and you struggle to heat it, consider whether a better underlay would help. Not only would this make your home more comfortable but also you would use less energy heating your home, saving you money in the long run.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

How to lay vinyl sheet flooring

Whether you opt for sheet or tiles, vinyl flooring is one of the most versatile and durable types of flooring on the market. Available in a seemingly limitless variety of finishes, styles and colours, it is suitable for use in just about any room of the home and is far more affordable than many other flooring options. If you are thinking of installing vinyl flooring in your home and fancy laying it yourself, this article will give you an overview of the process from start to finish.

Where to start

First, you will need to acclimatise your vinyl by leaving it in the room in which you will be laying it for 48 hours. This brings it up to the temperature of your home. If it is very cold, switch the heating on to stop the vinyl becoming brittle. When you are ready to start laying your floor, unroll your sheet of vinyl, with the longest edge running parallel to the longest wall.

You will now need to trace the profile of your room’s skirting onto the vinyl to ensure a perfect fit. Even if your skirting looks straight, it might not be. Place the vinyl approximately 25mm from the skirting board. Take a small piece of wood and hammer in a nail approximately 30mm from the end, ensuring you hammer it far enough in so that the point of the nail is sticking slightly out of the other side. This will be used as your scribing gauge. Gently slide it along the length of the wall, with the nail lightly marking the skirting outline onto the vinyl. Cut the vinyl along this line using a suitable knife or pair of scissors and push the vinyl up against the skirting.


To ensure a neat finish in corners, and to help the vinyl to lie completely flat, you will need to cut out a small triangular notch in every corner. You can do this by pressing the vinyl into the corner with a chisel to leave a sharp crease in the vinyl. Carefully cut along the crease with a knife and a metal guide. If you are dealing with external corners, cut from the vinyl edge to the floor and remove the excess, leaving between 50mm and 100mm of vinyl turned up against the skirting. Using a metal guide pressed up against each crease, cut the vinyl with a knife held at an angle to ensure the neatest finish.

Finishing off

When the vinyl is all laid, use a recommended adhesive or sticking tape along the edges to hold it down.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Vinyl Flooring

Choosing the best flooring for your conservatory

Choosing the best flooring for your conservatory

If you are wondering which flooring to install in a new or existing conservatory, you are probably weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the various options. While the best choice will depend on a number of factors, such as the size and aspect of your conservatory, your budget, the climate where you live and how you use your conservatory, there are a few things you should know about the available flooring types.


Hardwood is one of the more expensive options and it is vital that you choose a product that can cope with the fluctuating temperatures of a conservatory. The main advantage of wood is that it is extremely attractive and can add value to your home when the time comes to sell; however, engineered wood tends to be a more practical choice.


Laminate flooring is a popular option for conservatories, as it is relatively affordable yet creates a realistic wood-like finish. As it is available in so many finishes, it should be easy to find a shade and design that complements your conservatory. It is also easy to maintain, durable, and can be finished with a rug if you want to add more interest and warmth.

Stone or ceramic

While this looks very attractive, it will be cold in cooler weather and might not be the best option if you use your conservatory all year round. Adding a large, soft rug might be necessary to soften the chill from stone or ceramic in colder weather. It is great in warmer climates, however, or if you tend to only use your conservatory during the summer.


Affordable and available in a seemingly limitless variety of styles, colours and finishes, this is a low-maintenance option. While modern vinyl flooring is of high quality and stands up to heavy wear and tear, you should be aware that constant exposure to strong sunlight – such as in a south-facing conservatory – might fade some vinyl’s over time. On the plus side, it is hygienic, warmer than tiles, and softer underfoot than some options.


Carpet is not a particularly popular choice for conservatories these days, but it is a great option if you want to use your conservatory in cooler weather. It provides a more luxurious finish than hard floor coverings; however, it is not suitable for conservatories with a lot of foot traffic – both human and animal. Carpet flooring in a conservatory might require more cleaning than carpets in other rooms of the house, so consider the upkeep before opting for this type of flooring.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Flooring

Top tips for maintaining vinyl flooring

Versatile, durable and easy to maintain, vinyl flooring is enjoying something of a resurgence in British homes. It is quick and simple to clean your vinyl floor and these straightforward tips will help you to keep your flooring looking brand new for as long as possible.

Protect flooring with a doormat

Ensure you have a tough, rugged doormat at each entrance to your home to trap any sharp pieces of gravel or debris that might get trodden in from outside. Sharp stones can easily scratch even the toughest flooring, while dirty shoes and boots can quickly dull your pristine vinyl. Vacuum doormats regularly and roughly shake them out to loosen any trapped gravel or stones. You might even want to remove your shoes whenever you are in the home and wear slippers or socks instead. This is a great way to protect all the floors in your property and minimise the amount of cleaning needed.

Don’t let dirt build up

Vinyl is more resilient than many other popular types of flooring; however, the longer you leave it between cleaning, the harder it will be to get a beautiful finish. Once dirt becomes ground into your flooring, you will find it takes far longer to clean. Sweep your floor regularly – every day if necessary – and mop it every few days or more frequently if it is in a busy room of the home with constant foot traffic!

Use felt pads on furniture legs

These are cheap and readily available in a range of sizes, or you can cut them to size yourself if you find larger pads too unsightly for delicate items of furniture. These handy pads prevent furniture scraping and scratching your vinyl floor. They can be removed from your furniture if you change your flooring or move your furniture to another room.

Don’t use too much water

While vinyl is waterproof – making it perfect for all rooms in the home, including kitchens and bathrooms – try not to get too carried away when cleaning your floor. While water will not penetrate your flooring, it can easily spill over the edges of your floor, causing problems under skirting boards or in areas in which two rolls or tiles of vinyl have been joined. It is easy to forget that vinyl flooring does not mean that your entire room is completely waterproof!

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Vinyl Flooring

Laminate floor cleaning tips

Laminate flooring is generally very easy to maintain and clean; however, if you want to keep it looking brand new for as long as possible, here are a few tips.

Don’t use too much water

Even laminates designed for high-moisture rooms – such as bathrooms or kitchens – should not generally be left wet for too long. If you are using water to clean your floor, use as little as possible and dry up any residue as quickly as possible. Damp mops and cloths are always better than dripping wet ones.

Invest in a microfiber mop

These are readily available and are a godsend if you need to quickly clean your floor of dust and debris. A microfiber mop can be used dry and will attract any dust and other small particles. If you want to use a more traditional method, or your floor needs a more thorough clean, simply dampen your mop, wring it out, and mop as usual. Microfiber mops are very gentle and won’t scratch or otherwise damage your floor. The fact they can be used wet or dry makes them very versatile and a cleaning cupboard staple for many homes.

Avoid using traditional mops that hold a large volume of water – too much water is never good for your laminate flooring and can cause it to warp.

Use the correct vacuum attachment

While it is fine to use a vacuum cleaner on your laminate, you should only use recommended attachments. Other fittings might scratch or damage your floor, or at the very least fail to properly clean your floor. Many vacuum cleaners now come with a selection of attachments to allow them to be used on both carpets and laminates or wooden flooring, so check what is included when you are hunting for a new model.

Only use recommended cleaning products

It can be tempting to use whatever you happen to have in your cleaning cupboard, especially when you are confronted with an unsightly stain or spill and you are worried about cleaning it up as quickly as possible; however, many generic cleaning products are not suitable for use on laminate flooring and can permanently damage or discolour your floor. Ensure you always have a cleaning product specially formulated for your specific type of flooring to hand. This will allow you to tackle any spills or splashes as soon as they occur and will prevent damage to your flooring.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Laminate Flooring

The Perfect Flooring for Your Office

If the time has come to replace your office flooring, you might be wondering whether to stick with your existing type of floor covering – be that carpet, laminate or vinyl – or to switch to something new. Here is a quick overview of the most popular types of flooring for commercial offices and the pros and cons of each.


Carpet is a popular choice in many offices, absorbing noise and providing a comfortable surface upon which to walk. It also copes well with constantly-moving furniture, such as wheeled office chairs. Carpet tiles are generally a more practical option than a roll of carpet, as they are easy to replace if one is damaged or stained. Carpet is not always suitable in offices with very heavy foot traffic, as even heavy duty carpets can only withstand so much. Carpet is not generally recommended in offices that receive a large number of visitors on a daily basis due to the risk of staining and outside dirt being trodden in. Carpet is more difficult to thoroughly clean than other surfaces.

Laminate/wood Flooring

Wood is a classic and stylish choice, but office furniture can easily scratch softer woods. Tough laminates specifically designed for commercial use are a good compromise, as they can withstand wear and tear and occasional spills. They provide the pleasing look of wood without the high cost, but might make busy offices too noisy.

If you have an office that does not receive many visitors, does not experience heavy foot traffic and is not subjected to a great deal of wear and tear during the average working day, wood can be a timeless and extremely stylish choice.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl is a great choice for commercial premises, as it is tough, durable, versatile, and comes in a huge range of finishes. Vinyl can provide a cushioned surface, helping to absorb noise and feeling more comfortable to walk on than harder floors. It is easy to maintain and stands up well to spillages. It is perfect in commercial environments in which hygiene is a priority, as it can be cleaned with a variety of products or accessories as frequently as required; in addition, it won’t trap dirt or debris. It is also great for standing up to scratches and dents, but might not be suitable for high-end or prestigious businesses where a more classic appearance is desired.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Commercial Flooring

Carpets for beginners

Many homes in the UK have long replaced their carpets with wooden floors or laminates; however, the luxurious deep pile of a high-quality carpet can add a touch of much-needed comfort and warmth, especially in bedrooms and living rooms, or indeed in any space in which you want to relax. Many modern homeowners are choosing to floor their homes with a combination of flooring types to ensure the perfect finish in every room. While laminates or hardwood floors are great in dining rooms and hallways, there is nothing quite like the feeling of sinking your bare feet into a soft, cosy carpet when you step out of bed.

If you are thinking of reintroducing carpet into your home but do not know where to start, here is a quick overview of some of the most popular types you will find on the market today.

Saxony carpets

These are very popular, with a pleasing and elegant appearance that offers a stylish finish. They are perfect in bedrooms or living rooms, as they add a touch of luxury to any space and are soft, warm and comfortable underfoot.

Berber carpets

These are tough and durable carpets, ideal for rooms with a lot of foot traffic or where you do not want anything too soft and decadent. They are hardwearing and can look great in modern homes, as they are generally very minimalist in appearance and go very well with rustic, simple decor in neutral tones.

Shag-pile carpets

While these are often associated with the 1970s and 1980s, they are making something of a comeback due to their retro charm and fun appearance and feel. They are the ultimate in luxury and are ideal in decadent bedrooms where you want everything to be soft, warm and comfortable.

Twist carpets

These are produced using twisted yarns that create an interesting texture. They are often hardwearing, making them ideal for family homes. The twisted fibres and textured appearance gives these carpets a pleasing finish that can look very timeless and classic.

Before you buy any new carpet for your home, it is important you check that it is suitable for the room it is intended for. Deep pile carpets are not generally recommended for very busy rooms of the home, as constant foot traffic can cause visible wear and tear more quickly. Looped pile carpets are often unsuitable for homes with pets, as sharp claws can easily get caught; in addition, your furry friends might be tempted to scratch at your new carpet, quickly causing damage.

Posted on by Paul Smith | Posted in Carpets

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