5 flooring mistakes to avoid – according to architects and interior designers

Creating the perfect scheme begins with the floor upwards – here's what to avoid, according to those in the know

Kitchen diner with patterned blue vinyl flooring, wooden dining table with white dining chairs, white painted walls with red and cream striped blinds
(Image credit: James Merrell)

It is often easy to forget your floor's importance in your overall scheme, but one common mistake can lead to a space that feels disproportionate and outdated. Therefore, whether you're renovating your entire space or you're looking to elevate your flooring ideas quickly, it is important to know about the mistakes to avoid, according to the experts. 

Flooring mistakes to avoid – 5 decisions to rethink this season 

Whether you're looking for hallway flooring ideas to create the right first impression, or you're looking for the right type of material for your kitchen or living room – the mistakes remain the same. Here's what to avoid, according to those who know. 

1. Avoid stripping your wooden flooring 

Scandinavian living room with dark wood floor and white walls

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Recent trends may point towards stripped gray flooring; however, this movement is not one that works for everyone. Instead, Manhattan-based architect Anastasia Harrison urges you to embrace your floor's natural beauty and step away from stripping. 

'There is such a [demand for] washed gray flooring. However, sometimes I will see individuals who strip historic floors and try every combination of semi-transparent stains to achieve a gray color, and it doesn't look natural,' Anastasia says. 

If you're set on experimenting with this color trend, the architect suggests choosing ready-made flooring that is already stained the perfect gray to avoid damaging your home's natural assets.  

2. Know your function before selecting your flooring 

Modern hallway flooring with encaustic tiles

(Image credit: Alexander James)

'I see so many clients installing delicate flooring materials (beautiful wool and hand-made rugs) in high traffic areas, and as a result, the material is stained, destroyed, and requires lots of maintenance,' Anastasia warns. 

It is, therefore, best to elevate the function of your room before choosing your flooring to ensure it is suitable for the job over a long period of time. 'The best tip is to select man-made rubber materials or jute for high-traffic mud-rooms,' she says. 

'Recently, I had a client who has an apartment in a high-rise luxury building, looking to expand her balcony as a living space. She needed a woven floor mat to ground the room. We recommended a Chilewich rug, which is made from durable, renewable vegetable content and woven textiles. Not only did it function forward, but it completely transformed the space.' 

3. Opting for the wrong colored flooring 

bedroom with monochrome stripe wallpaper, white armchair, black floor lamp and yellow blind

(Image credit: Simon Bevan / Claudia Bryant)

Despite all its design power, flooring is, above all, a practical feature. And its color should reflect its purpose, Interior Designer Aaron Lebowski suggests. 

'Be sure to keep in mind how many people will be walking on your new flooring, as well as what types of shoes they wear when they visit,' Aaron suggests. He urges you to consider a darker entryway or kitchen flooring idea such as black or navy blue to conceal dirt more seamlessly. 

4. Neglecting other features in your space 

Modern hallway flooring with wood tiles

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti / Future)

Your floor is supposed to not only complement your room but tie your space together. So, it is important not to forget how it will work with the other decorating ideas in your home. 

'If you're looking for something bolder than neutral colors like beige or white, consider using colors that coordinate with your existing décor rather than ones that clash with them,' Aaron warns.  

5. Forgetting about future renovation plans

hall with green checkerboard tiled floor, sideboard and green upholstered chair

(Image credit: Polly Wreford/Sally Denning)

When choosing your floor, it is understandable that you would simply consider your scheme as it currently stands. However, flooring is often a long-term commitment, so it's important to plan for the seasons to come. 

'When planning out a room, make sure that you include enough space for future additions such as furniture or appliances that might need to be moved around later on (such as adding a refrigerator),' Aaron says. This will prevent you from making any more investments in the near future and ensure your space spends the test of time for seasons to come. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.