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Hard floor coverings vs. carpeting 

Ensuring the correct floor coverings are in place in your property is important as the floor usually represents the largest expanse of space in a house or condo. When deciding what floor covering to use it would be wise to look at various examples of properties in the high-end market to get a feel for what constitutes a look of grandeur.

There are some interesting observations regarding floor coverings in hotels, especially in five star hotels. Most rooms and corridors use carpets, even in Thailand. Lower class hotels tend to use tiled floors or wood floors. 

Yet in the condo space carpet is very rarely used, even in high-end buildings. It certainly represents a quandary as to whether to fit carpeting to a condo when there is such a wide disparity of its use.

In colder countries carpets are used in properties almost all the time. They help to keep the warmth in the property, and make for a comfortable feel on cold days and evenings. There seems to be a shift towards hard flooring in places in Europe and the U.S., but the uptake is somewhat slower than that in Asian countries.

In Thailand, carpets are seldom seen in condos and houses since there is no need to preserve warmth in such a hot climate. Add to this the humidity of Thailand’s weather, and carpets may seem impractical. Yet hotels in Thailand still use them to project a five star image.

Much could be due to the fact that hotel rooms are predominantly sleeping areas whereas for condos, which have mixed uses and various areas such as kitchen, sleeping and living rooms, carpets are not so preferred.

Still you can make some inroads into projecting the same sort of quality that high-end hotels do by using carpets sparingly. Look to model a bedroom or studio room on the basis that some part of the floor is carpeted and some part has a hardwearing floor.

It might be the kitchen area can sport a tiled floor and the living room and bedroom can make use of carpeting to create a comfortable living environment that is still hard wearing.

Look to incorporate designer carpets that are more like oversized rugs as compared to fully fitted carpets. This will allow you to have the softness of carpet along with the in-vogue hard floors underneath. As for hard floors there are some options here, with tiles and wood floors both popular. Wood floors, or even floors that look like wood using a veneer, are often seen in new condos so a look at recent developments on the market should be a good start in trying to identify flooring trends. Developers will have invested a good deal of money into ensuring their condos are the most up-to-date offerings and most saleable in the market. From here you can see what works and what doesn’t.

Real wood floors are quite expensive and are prone to damage from water. Look for mid-tones if you are fitting a real wood floor with dark tones somewhat more dated in the market. Pine floors are also popular but it is not uncommon to use veneer for this kind of colouring.

Tiled flooring with glossy tiles that don’t have chamfered edges and have virtually no visible grout between the tiles is also in vogue. You can see these floors in high-end office buildings, condos, and retail areas. They are arguably harder wearing than wood floors, but wood floors still look to have the edge when looking at the number of new offerings that include wood flooring. Traditional tiled floors do work well but are becoming more dated. Look for rustic tiles for a kitchen or bathroom area. These can come in a light cream or fawn colour or in a brown or grey tone. The grout doesn’t have to be white with these tiles and they look elegant especially if they have some texture to them. Try offsetting tiles at a 45-degree angle so they give a diagonal dimension to the room. A mosaic design can work quite well, although this looks better with non-grouted tiles. Look to incorporate repeating patterns, a border area in a different colour or even a centrepiece within the floor that can be a focus of attention. With a hard floor choice in place it is wise to continue the theme throughout the living space. Try to match the choice of floor coverings between different rooms. There are some exceptions where it is certainly possible to combine tiles and wood flooring. Consider tiling a bathroom and kitchen and then have these join up with a wooden floor in the living room and bedroom.

Carpets can then be brought in to supplement hard flooring in living rooms or bedrooms. Look to offset them to one side of the room such that the hard floor still shows up as an area instead of just a border. Carpets should be chosen that cover not more than half the total room area, then when they are offset you can be sure that a good contrast can be put into place. For a look at how things might turn out before making an investment, it is worth visiting local furnishing stores who sell tiles, carpets and wood flooring elements. Usually they have a mock-up of various rooms and you can get a good feel for how things will ultimately work out. A 3D modeling program will also be a good way to choose colour schemes etc., but if you can visit places that have actual examples on display then you can be sure to have a clearer idea of the exact finish since texture and finer detail will be more apparent. A look online at both condos and hotels will also bode well. Here you will usually find plenty of pictures that can give you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

There may not be a single solution when it comes to choosing hard vs. soft flooring options, but by being open-minded to the possibility of combining different floor coverings you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.