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How To Pick The Best Living Room Flooring

Last Updated: 30/04/2024

How it looks matters but the floor in your living room must be functional. Durability in the living room is crucial as the floor there has to withstand countless footsteps daily. Because of this daily use it also needs to be fairly easy to keep clean and maintain it.

Between children, pets, and the mess of daily life, living room floors have to be up to facing all the issues that come with these factors. There’s a wide range of possible flooring you can opt for with your living room makeover which can either feel exciting, or it can feel overwhelming.
To make the final choice you just need to weigh up the pros and cons of each type and opt for a pattern or colour within that flooring type.
First off, let’s consider carpet as a living room flooring option…


The Benefits of Living Room Carpets

Carpets have long been the staple flooring for living rooms. Many would argue that there are few daily scenarios more blissful than coming home from a long day at work and sinking your feet into a soft carpet!

Living rooms are for relaxing and unwinding, and carpets enhance this in ways that other flooring types simply do not.

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Carpets and the underlay beneath them work together as two thin layers of insulation. Air gets trapped in the fibres of the carpet as well as the foam of the underlay which then acts as a barrier for temperature. The warm air inside your home bounces against this air barrier and back into the room. This keeps the cold beneath your floor at bay since the temperature there can’t penetrate through the carpet and underlay combo. 

This means that having carpet in your living room keeps the space warmer, thanks to the dual layer floors. It also means that walking on carpet on a cold morning is a lot more comfortable and less jarring than stepping out onto cold, hard floors.

The same principles with heat also work with sound too. Carpets help to stop echoes and the movement of sound so you’ll have a better cinematic experience in a carpeted living room. Likewise if you love to sing while relaxing on the sofa on a weekend, carpet on your living room floor will help drown out the noise and prevent your neighbours from hearing every note out of your mouth.

The Downsides Of Living Room Carpets

Everyone knows that stains are difficult to remove from carpets. Red wine on a cream carpet is the stuff of nightmares for homeowners so you need to consider how likely spills are in your living room.

While carpets can help sufferers of dust and pollen allergies by trapping both dust and pollen in the fibres of the carpet until vacuumed meaning they aren’t floating around the room instead this is only true if you clean the carpets regularly and thoroughly. The opposite is actually often true for carpets since it is harder to remove dust and allergens from carpet than from hard flooring. 

In addition to this, it’s a lot harder to eliminate germs and bacteria from carpets. You can’t bleach a carpet. You can get a rug doctor to deep clean the dirt, however that adds more moisture to the carpet which sinks to the base of the carpet where germs and bacteria can thrive.

If you or a loved one have a compromised immune system, there’s other flooring options you might want to consider over carpets for the ability to remove germs.

While you’ll get a fair few years of good quality from your carpet, they are less durable than other alternatives. If you care for a carpet and maintain it you can absolutely achieve 10 years of quality time together, but you can double that for the likes of laminate and vinyl flooring.

With all this considered, opt for carpet if you haven’t got young kids or pets and you’re not prone to spilling things.
Carpets in general are slightly more skewed towards comfort than practicality. That being said, consider that you’ll be spending a lot of time on it in the living room and it does improve the quality of your time here due to the feel of comfort and luxury a carpet provides.


The Benefits of Living Room Laminate

Next on the list of materials to consider is laminate. There are many benefits to laminate flooring that are essential to consider when picking your living room floor. Laminate flooring is strong and practical – essentially it’s the opposite of carpets here where it sacrifices comfort and turns durability and practicality up to 11.

Laminate flooring is moppable, bleachable, scratch resistant and water resistant. Spillages that would ruin a carpet can simply be wiped up from laminate with ease. Germs and bacteria also become less of an issue as they can be bleached away completely. Where a Rug Doctor’s deep clean should only be done every now and then, you could get your favourite cleaning chemicals on your laminate on the daily if you wanted to.

Laminate gives you a sophisticated look with its wood-inspired appearance. It’s easy to lock in place and fit as well as being a firm and sturdy flooring option. It’s come quite far as a flooring type in recent years in terms of both its quality and how closely it can resemble real wood. There’s a wide range of shades and colours to choose from and you can even create patterns with it in the flooring.

Laminate is the most durable type of flooring we offer. Its hard surface will withstand heavy foot traffic, pets’ claws, thrown toys from young children and the vast majority of spills and accidents for well over a decade.

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The Downsides of Living Room Laminate

When it comes to durability, laminate is a strong contender, but its functionality comes at the cost of comfort. There are few things worse in a morning routine than waking up in the colder months and having to walk barefoot on laminate flooring

While you may have underlay beneath the laminate, it won’t be enough to keep the surface of the laminate from going cold. This is through what’s called Heat Conduction where the cold air around the laminate makes the surface match the surrounding temperature. It happens with everything, but the process of heat conduction is much slower in vinyl and carpet flooring. Even in summer, a hard floor will always feel a fair bit colder than the room it’s in. 

The lost insulating feature that carpets provide stands for sounds too. If you’re big on watching movies then you’ll hear a slight echo and the sound will travel further around the house because it’s not being absorbed by carpet.

To sum up, there are many considerations to take into account with laminate flooring in your living room. You can bleach laminate flooring and wipe up any spills, but you will require slippers and you’ll be tempted to turn up the thermostat sooner than you would with carpet.


The Benefits of Living Room Vinyl

Vinyl is the third and final flooring type we offer and is also a great one to consider for your living room. Vinyl, much like laminate, tips more towards the practical side but does provide some additional comfort factors.

Like laminate, vinyl is scratch resistant, stain resistant, handles every day cleaning chemicals well, making it a preferred option over carpet in these aspects. One key difference between vinyl and laminate flooring is that while laminate flooring is resistant to water, vinyl is actually completely waterproof once properly installed. 

Whether the issue is spilled water, leaking taps, or a broken freezer spilling recently melted water everywhere, vinyl will outlast all of these even if left for days. In contrast, laminate would start to swell and would need replacing. That being said, how likely are these kinds of issues in a living room?


Vinyl Flooring Living room

Vinyl also pulls ahead of laminate in other ways. It is slightly spongy underneath and has a bit of that insulating feature we talked about with carpets which means that walking on vinyl on a winter’s day isn’t as uncomfortably cold as laminate is. In fact it might even be comfortable.

The range vinyl comes in also gives exciting opportunities when it comes to styling your living room the way you want. With laminate, you get to choose from a range of wood shades. With vinyl, you can choose wood, or stone, or even colourful patterned flooring. There’s shades and colours galore, making it that much more customizable.

Price is also a key factor for many looking to redo their floors and vinyl pulls ahead of laminate when it comes to this. Vinyl is simply a cheaper material.

The Downsides of Vinyl Living Rooms

It’s not all positives with vinyl either though and there are some reasons you may choose not to put vinyl in your living room.

Like each flooring type here, once actually damaged then vinyl flooring can’t be fixed. Since vinyl is placed down in one large sheet though, the entire sheet would need to be replaced whereas with laminate it could be possible to only replace the damaged area.

While vinyl is resistant, it’s less impact resistant than Laminate flooring. This places vinyl flooring in between carpets and laminate in terms of its lifespan. The cushion effect from the insulation under the vinyl means that moving heavy furniture around can carve heavy grooves into vinyl where laminate may resist better. 

Although vinyl flooring is more comfortable to walk on than laminate, carpet still pulls out way ahead in terms of comfort on bare feet, particularly in terms of temperature.

Another thing to consider with vinyl is that it can cause lasting damage to the property upon removal. If extra adhesive is used in installation as well as the typical adhesive on the back of the boards, removing the boards can damage anything underneath. 

Vinyl flooring also isn’t as eco-friendly as carpets or laminate due to it being made primarily of plastic.


In Conclusion: The Best Flooring Option for Living Rooms

So that leads us into the big question: which is the best material for your living room? Well, that depends on your lifestyle and your priorities for your living room. What is it you want to get out of that space?

While it’s true that vinyl and laminate are both very practical with their scratch resistance and easy clean properties, it’s worth considering how relevant they are to your home’s living room? That’s not something that we can answer for you because it depends on the type of family you have.

Do you want the assurance that mess and hair from pets, dropped food from children and potentially spilled glasses of wine can all be cleaned fairly easily? We’d side with vinyl in this case because it’s more comfortable than laminate as well as being cheaper.

Do you prefer the easy clean nature of a hard floor but want the expensive wood look that laminate provides? Do you plan on staying in your property for over a decade and enjoy redecorating with your big furniture pieces? Then laminate would be the way to go.

Do you want a living room you can come home to and just be comfortable? Do you want to go barefoot on a warm floor and feel the texture of the carpet underneath? Do you want to watch movies on a winter’s night and not have to worry about losing the warmth from the blankets when you step out to get snacks? If staying cosy in your living room is your top priority then carpet is the option for you.

The living room isn’t necessarily functional in nature like rooms such as the kitchen or bathroom. The living room is a space where you can let go of the day’s stresses and unwind, and for this reason we personally would side with carpet as the best choice for a living room. However, it’s very much down to you, your circumstances and what you’d prefer.

Whichever flooring type you choose – spread the cost. There’s no interest added so you’ll be paying exactly the same amount, just split into more manageable chunks with our pay weekly carpet plans. Prices start from £10 per week. Fill out the form below to get started.

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