How to Mix Floors for Maximum Design Effect

Who says you have to have one type of flooring for each floor of a home? Who says that you even have to have one type of flooring in a room? If you open your mind up to installing mixed floors in your home, the design possibilities are endless.

Let’s face it, any space has its dark and light areas. And the way different areas of larger rooms are used can differ greatly. For example, the area around an open fire might benefit from carpeting providing somewhere to lay down and relax. And the dining area of the same room might benefit from wood, tile or laminate flooring.

Professional carpet flooring

The way we use our homes and the individual rooms inside them – is changing. And our flooring solutions need to reflect this.

Not convinced? By following these tips, you can ensure the mixed flooring in your home delivers on all fronts.

Choose the Right Floor for the Right Room

Before you start searching for flooring, you need to assess how you use the space. For example, if there’s a significant chance of mess or spillages in space, a hard floor that’s easy to clean might be the best option. This is usually the case when small children are present. But why lay wood flooring throughout your home when certain areas are more conducive to carpet?


There’s also the issue of natural light to consider. For example, if you’re laying flooring in a particularly large space, parts of the room might be flooded with light during the day. These areas often benefit from dark wood flooring made with walnut and darker shades of oak. Conversely, darker areas of the space might be improved with lighter flooring.

Think About Continuity

Particularly if you’re laying flooring throughout the entire home, you need to be sure that each floor type and color complements the next. You’ll be glad to know that there are no fixed rules in this regard. However, depending on issues such as decor and room dimensions, certain combinations probably won’t work.

Flooring options that suit to painting

For example, imagine you’re fitting real wood flooring throughout the first floor of your home. Choosing three different wood types of colors might overload the senses and make things appear mismatched. But sticking to one wood for rooms and another for hallways and thoroughfares should deliver both contrast and continuity.

There’s no reason why carpet and tile, for example, can’t coexist in the same room. However, there usually has to be a reason for the sudden change. If there isn’t, space may lack continuity. Ask flooring specialists for photos of mixed flooring in order to see which combinations will work best in your home.

Make Sure Contrasts Work

While continuity is important when laying mixed floors, so is contrast. After all, if there isn’t a discernible contrast, what’s the point? You can create striking rooms by choosing two or three-floor types that deliver a pronounced contrast.

For example, imagine you’re working on a large living room. You might want to tile the edges of the space the areas that are functional or endure high levels of foot traffic. But when it comes to the flooring in the area of the room devoted to relaxation, you might want carpet. You might even decide that a warm wood or laminate floor is best.

Dark Wood Flooring

If you’re going to strive for contrasting floor types, approach the process robustly. Don’t choose slightly different shades, as people might think you’ve made a mistake. Be bold and brave in your decisions, but always get the advice of a flooring expert before you make purchasing decisions.

It’s also important to remember about contrasts with the rest of the room. For example, darker wood floors look great when laid in lighter rooms. Things get a little more complex when choosing multiple, contrasting floors. However, as long as things don’t get too busy, some amazing results are possible.

Stick to a Maximum of Three Flooring Types

One or two significant contrasts in a large room can deliver a unique aesthetic. But it’s important not to push for too many types of flooring in the same space. To do so usually creates a messy and confused look. In smaller spaces, try to stick to just two contrasting floors. Larger rooms might take up to three.

Lay the Flooring Correctly

How mixed flooring is laid is crucial to how it will look once finished. The direction of laminate planks, pattern or grain can change the feel of the space considerably. And when there is more than one type of floor involved, things can end up looking confused and downright silly.

Professional flooring installation

Imagine you’re laying two different types of the laminate in a narrow hallway. The immediate impulse may be to lay the planks parallel to the walls. You might have a lighter shade along the baseboards, and something darker in the middle. But laying laminate or wood in this way can exacerbate narrowness and create the so-called “bowling alley” effect.

One potential solution to the problem above is to lay the planks widthways. Alternatively, you might decide to lay just the outer floor widthways, and the inner section lengthways.

It’s also important to be consistent when you’re laying two separate floors in adjoining rooms. This is particularly the case when there is no room divider in place. Always maintain the basic directional flow in both spaces. If you’ve fitted the laminate planks lengthways in one room, do the same in the adjoining space.

Plan Transitions Carefully

Most transitions are best executed in a straight line whether you’re dividing one room or going from one space to the next. For example, a good, clean transition often involves a straight line at the chosen threshold (often at the door). Flooring specialists often use T-molding to create a smooth transition.

Remember: a big part of getting mixed floor transitions right involves choosing colors or floor types that complement one another. And you can never be sure that the combination will work until you’ve seen it in action — in a showroom or a catalog.

T-molding Strips

Think About the Size of the Room

Using two or three different floor types in space can deliver a unique and interesting aesthetic. But the best way to bring them all together is to make them blend in with other decals in the space. For example, a large room might benefit greatly from a combination of beech and dark oak flooring. But to make this contrast work in a large space you might need to include beech and dark oak decorative features throughout the space.

Beech and Dark oak flooring options

Generally speaking, the smaller the room, the lighter the flooring should be. But this doesn’t mean you can’t use mixed flooring in a tighter space. Assess where the natural light and dark areas are, and choose the floor type that makes the most sense. As a simple rule of thumb, darker areas benefit from lighter flooring. And vice versa.

Consider the Bigger Picture

Try to imagine how your home will look in its entirety once the mixed flooring has been laid. While you might be happy about the results in one room, they may not be as successful when looking at the floor from a different part of the property.

Open all of the doors in your home. Stand at the point that gives you the best possible view of all the floors at the same time. Now imagine what the different colors, textures and materials will look like once they’re in situ. Will they still work? Do they complement one another? And are the transitions between areas or rooms easy on the eye?

Mixed Flooring Tips the Professionals Use

There really are no hard and fast rules when it comes to installing mixed flooring in a home. But there are quite a few tried and tested tricks of the trade you might want to implement.

Stark Color Contrasts

Fortune favors the bold when it comes to mixing floor types. Flooring experts know this, which is why they usually choose flooring combinations that embrace both ends of the color spectrum. The deep brown of mahogany can look fantastic when set against the brilliant white of ceramic tiles — when executed correctly, of course.

Flooring Stark Color Contrasts

Subtle Transitions in Tiled Floors

If you’re going from one type or color of tile to the next, doing so abruptly in a straight line isn’t always the best course of action. One way to get around this problem is by gradually transitioning from one shade to the next.

Subtle Transitions in Tiled Floors

Imagine you’re tiling a kitchen floor and you want a black and a white section. Rather than going straight from one color to the next, a flooring specialist might create a transition area.

Curved Dividing Lines Between Carpets and Hard Floors

If you have a multi-use room, there’s a good chance that both carpet and hard flooring are required. A good way to mix the two is with curves. For example, the carpet from the relaxation area of a living room might come into contact with the laminate of the dining area in a curve. This is a great way to break up a large, open space.

Multi-Directional Flooring

Large or particularly narrow spaces aren’t always suited to rows and rows of laminate or real wood planks. Laying planks in this rigid way can create the illusion of a much smaller, narrower space. Flooring specialists use several methods to get over this problem, including laying planks in different directions. This is a good way of sectioning a room with the same type of floor. But it’s also a good way to bring different shades of wood together.

Tiled Transition Strips

If you really want to make a bold statement with your flooring choice, adding a third-floor type might be the answer. But you need to do so sparingly. Imagine you have an area where real wood meets the light tile. The transition, in this case, might be a little abrupt. You can create a smoother transition with the addition of mosaic tiles. Choose a color that sits naturally between the two main flooring types, and lay a strip of around three inches. This works very well on the threshold between two rooms.

Tiled Transition Strips

Wooden Floor Strips

Long strips of laminate or real wood don’t always look great alongside thick carpet. But to create a much more aesthetically pleasing finish, flooring specialists fit wooden strips to divide the two sections. This is a simple and relatively affordable way to bring two jarring surfaces together.

Wooden Floor Strips

It involves experience, creativity, and practical know-how. Put your trust in the flooring experts at Express Flooring, and take the first step towards the mixed floors you’ve always dreamed of.

How to Mix Floors for Maximum Design Effect was last modified: February 11th, 2019 by Express Flooring