Begin with an open mind. Don’t rule anything out at first. Keep reading this section on planning and the next on choosing, then read the installation sections to determine what best fits your living needs. You may prefer the look of hand-stained oak hardwood floors, but your budget may keep telling you vinyl tile. In the coming pages you’ll learn about features and compromises as well as how to save time and money to get more of what you want for your floors.
Don’t forget to look down as you visit other people’s homes and places of business. You may discover designs, colors, textures, and materials that appeal to you. You may rule them out later for cost, installation, or other reasons, but keep an open mind for now.
Flooring ideas are all around you -- under foot. Before selecting flooring look at dozens of floors and note what you like and didn’t like about each. Then, ask about ones you especially like. Most homeowners and businesses will gladly share their experiences -- good and bad -- with you. You’ll learn not only what to buy, but where, and what problems you need to overcome. Doing so may help you identify a local dealer who isn’t trustworthy, saving you hundreds of dollars and loads of frustration.
If you have a decorating theme in your home that you want to continue, gather decorating magazines that feature your favorite style and look at each room photo with an eye on flooring. You may determine that your mission furniture will look best with a red oak or a medium pine flooring. Or your chosen style may look best with light-tone plush carpeting. Popular magazines include Better Homes & Gardens, Fine Homebuilding, House Beautiful, Country Home, Southern Living, Sunset, and Architectural Digest.