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Flooring ideas that elevate the space

Timely concepts for spring decor or selling.The answer may be under your feet.

Everyone knows that a fresh coat of paint can transform a room, but did you know that a brand-new floor can make just as big an impact? Whether you’re sprucing things up for spring or putting your home on the market, plenty of options abound.

We talked to local experts to help you figure out where to start.

Legends of the hardwood

Perennially popular, hardwood is here to stay, according to our experts. However, the look of hardwood floors is changing. “In the eighties, everything was two and a quarter inch oak in a golden color,” said Katie Fitzgerald, president of Floor Coverings International — Cincinnati East, located in Blue Ash. “Now we’re seeing a pretty clear trend toward much wider boards. Three, 4, 5, 6-inch-wide planks are pretty popular.”

If you’re going for a classic look versus a trendy one, you may want to stick with the narrower planks. “The question is will [the wider boards] still be popular” as time goes on, said Doug Bockrath, owner of Bockrath Flooring and Rugs in Kettering. “The three-inch-wide boards will always be popular.”

Board size is important, but finish matters, too. A glossy sheen gives a room an elegant look, whereas a distressed finish creates a perfect shabby chic. “Five years ago, it was ‘How distressed can you get it,’ ” Bockrath said. “People are going back to smooth finishes that are lightly distressed. A little bit of distress hides your living … if it’s completely smooth and it gets scratched, the glare will draw the eye.”

Keep carpet fresh

Hardwood may be king, but don’t count carpet out — unless it’s shag. “Ten years ago, shag was all the rage,” Fitzgerald said. “Now it’s kind of falling out of favor again. People are moving toward your basic plush carpet or a patterned carpet in a cut-and-loop style where some of the fibers are cut and some are looped to create patterns.”

Carpet updates are an easy fix, especially if you’re putting your home on the market this spring. “Primarily, you want to make sure that [the carpet] is fresh and clean,” Fitzgerald said. “And there’s no better way to get a fresh, clean look than to have brand-new carpet. It doesn’t have to be really expensive carpet.”

“We work in a lot of homes that people are putting on the market,” she said. “Typically, we do a relatively inexpensive carpet because you don’t know if what you’re going to buy is going to be something that the buyers will like. You don’t want to invest a lot of money in something that someone’s going to tear out right away.”

Although the buyer ultimately might not want to keep the carpet long-term, a home listed with all new carpet, as well as the visual appeal of brand-new flooring during showings, will still draw more buyers and more value.

Vinyl haven

If you’re thinking about adding tile or wood to the kitchen or bath, one of the year’s biggest flooring trends may be for you. “The biggest growth I’ve seen is the vinyl wood look and the vinyl ceramic look,” Bockrath said.

Both Fitzgerald and Bockrath recommended Armstrong Alterna, a brand of luxury vinyl tiles.

“It looks so much like an authentic ceramic or porcelain tile,” Fitzgerald said. “What people love about it is that it’s easier to stand on — it’s softer on your feet, it’s warmer than ceramic.”

Vinyl is also a very durable type of flooring, as well as easy to maintain and install. “[The brand] Konecto is our biggest selling floor,” Bockrath said. “You can lay it right over the existing floor, and it looks just like wood. Laminate’s going away, and vinyl’s taking off.”

“There are so many things with real wood,” he continued. “You have to watch humidity levels; if it’s not conditioned right, you can get gapping. The vinyl wood look is goof proof. You can spill water on it and put it wherever you want.”

These types of floors are often more affordable than hardwood and are a good option for a quick update by home sellers.

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