The floor is not the first interior design element to catch your eye when you walk into someone’s home. But the least considered part of a beautiful design is often the catalyst for bringing everything together. While wall colour, lighting fixtures or furniture might be the big-ticket items in a room, the floor is just as essential and getting it right can make the difference between a good design and an exquisite one.
There are so many options available but much of what works and what doesn’t will depend on the local climate. When choosing materials be sure to consider the times of year you spend in the house, who uses it and how much you are willing to spend, time and money, on maintenance. Here’s a brief rundown on the seven main materials used for flooring.
The oldest flooring material in the world, rammed earth is still a viable choice – especially as the technology has moved away from using kitchen waste and animal dung. Today’s rammed earth flooring is inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Sealed with natural linseed oil, these floors – if waxed every four years and oiled every ten – can last a lifetime. The natural material feels lovely under bare feet, providing warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer. While rammed earth is not ideal in wet climates or rooms that see high traffic, it is a healthy and clean option for smaller homes.
The first evidence of wood floors dates back 6,500 years and with good reason. Hardwood floors come in a variety of colours and finishes and look beautiful in most settings. When well cared, for they can endure decades of family life. There are some downsides including expense and more importantly for Ibiza, wood floors don’t perform so well in humid conditions.
This is not the first thing you would think about when it comes to floor coverings but textile finishes are an elegant alternative and work beautifully in smaller spaces. Differing to carpet, a range of materials and patterns can be employed to create a warm and welcoming look and feel. Obviously, longevity depends on how many feet are passing over the floor but for some homeowners, the short life span is worth the beauty.
Shag pile, tufted, woven, needle punched, cut pile, looped pile. Wool, linen, Tencel, jute, bamboo, nylon. The combinations for wall-to-wall carpeting are endless and don’t even account for the spectrum of colours available. Carpet is almost essential in cold climates where it helps keep space warm and cosy. For hotter zones, it’s not such a good choice until it comes to winter and there’s nothing better than rubbing your bare feet on velvety soft floors.
Like carpets, there are myriad choices when it comes to stone flooring. For places where home design embraces an indoor/outdoor ambience, stone floors can provide a visual flow in the transition between spaces. It can be an expensive option but good quality stone pays for itself in durability. Travertine is a popular choice at the moment but just as pretty are slate, marble, granite and limestone, all of which come in a variety of colours.
An excellent choice for Ibiza, cement floors are easy to maintain and come in so many styles it will be hard to choose. From extra shiny micro-cement and sandblasted textured concrete to terrazzo style, the options are limitless. Colour, texture, stamping and staining all offer a plethora of finishes. Durability is second to none but insulation is practically non-existent, which makes it perfect for hot summers but not such a joy in the cooler months.
Tile flooring has been used in Spain for millennia and is another great option for Ibiza. There are so many combinations available from classic geometric art nouveau designs and simple handmade clay slabs to bright modern colours and patterns. Herringbone, chessboard, chevron, basket weave, grid, pinwheel – the styles are endless. Easy to care for, perfect for inside/outside spaces and wonderfully cool underfoot in the summer, tiles are an ideal island flooring option.