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Decorating with Laminate Flooring

Posted: July 01, 2002

Decorating with laminate flooring is very similar to decorating with wood flooring. Although similar to wood flooring, laminate flooring does not have as much texture as wood floors, so basically your choices are in color.

As with most other types of flooring, remember that the color of your floor will be the background and foundation for your overall decorating scheme. If you're working with dark furniture, you may want to consider a lighter colored floor. With light furniture, a medium or darker colored floor may be a better choice.

Although most of the patterns and colors available with laminate flooring resemble wood, there are some ways to get creative if you have the space in which to do it. For example, WILSONART and BRUCE make a line of color coordinated tiles that can be used for an entire floor, or as a border with the wood look patterns.

Generally, you want to make sure that you have a large enough room or total area if you plan on using these tiles as borders. For instance, if you are doing a small bedroom—let's say a 10' x 10' area—using these borders might be a mistake. In a small area such as this, after you place all of your furniture, you will probably not see as much of the border as you would like. In addition, bordering out a small room will tend to make the room look even smaller.

On the other hand, if you have a larger area—a living and dining room together that measure 14' x 25' for example—the border may look very attractive and accent the room very well. It will probably not cut down the overall look of a larger room either, as it would in a smaller room.

In some cases you can even use these borders as an inset in one area to highlight that area. For example, let's say you have that same living and dining room, 14' x 25', you can use the tiles in the dining room inset in the middle of the wood pattern underneath the dining room table. This will give you a very formal and classic look and will help distinguish one room from the other.

Another consideration when deciding on the finished look of your laminate floor will be the baseboard or quarter round molding you will use. Since the laminate floors are all free floating, you must leave a space or "expansion joint" along all the walls in order for the floor to expand and contract properly. In doing this, you can leave a gap that then needs to be covered. If you have no existing baseboard on your walls, or you're planning on removing your existing baseboard, than you will need to install new baseboard after you install the laminate floor.

The decision you will need to make in this case, is whether to use a matching baseboard or a painted baseboard. Our preference is to use a painted baseboard. We feel this way because we have seen both, and the painted baseboard is a nice contrast with the floor while blending with the walls. Since the baseboard is on a vertical surface up against the wall, it is a part of the wall and should match the wall. If you're doing a lager area, you will find that using the matching baseboard is a lot more expensive than using the painted.

Remember, this is only our opinion, if you like the look of matching baseboard, there's nothing wrong with it, and you should use what you like. After all, you will be living in the house, not us. We can only tell you through experience what we feel looks the best, and what the majority of homeowners are using.

If you have existing baseboards that you will not be removing, you will need to install what's called "quarter round" molding. If you can picture looking at a circle and dividing it into four, each would be a quarter round. The quarter round molding should match the existing baseboard. Again, you can use a quarter round that matches the floor, but it will most likely stand out if you have a light colored baseboard such as white, and your laminate floor is a wood pattern such as oak. For more information on baseboards, quarter round, and other moldings, please go to our "Laminate Flooring Installation Products & Accessories" page.

Remember, please call us if you are the least bit confused, have any questions at all, or just want to talk about laminate floors some more.