From mosaic to marble, from shag pile to parquet, flooring choices have always said a lot about us, our incomes, our interests and our culture, but did you know that flooring choices can make a room seem bigger, smaller, warmer or cooler?
The theory of colour and flooring choice
The theory of colour shows that our choices may stimulate or calm us. A brief outline of colour choice reveals that colours such as red, yellow and purple increase energy levels and may boost aggression and increase appetite, whilst grey, green and blue calm the psyche. Green is said to promote fertility (related to its use in pagan rituals) but also to encourage relaxation and intimacy, which is why the ‘green room’ where guests wait to appear on TV shows or theatre stages is so named. Pink is feminine and calming - sports coaches are claimed to paint the ‘visitor changing rooms’ pink to try and reduce aggression in their opponents.
The psychology of popular flooring colour choices
Warm shades of brown, whether in a rich carpet or polished wooden floor will suggest a genuine, neutral and comfortable place - men are most likely to respond to brown tones favourably, so this is ideal for masculine themed areas. To add drama to a brown carpet or wood flooring, consider a richly coloured rug which will break up the area and add stimulation for the eye.
Grey floors are relaxing or restful but be careful, because grey that moves into the light blue end of the spectrum is said to dull appetites! Using grey flooring in a dining room can be balanced with yellow or pink accents which lift the colour and also increase appetite A grey floor is the perfect foil for furniture, just as grey walls provide maximum impact for pictures displayed upon them, but if too much grey feels boring, it can be broken with accents of black or deep blue to create drama without reducing elegance.
Black floors are currently very popular, but they must be balanced with careful lighting choices as a black floor can ‘flatten’ a room, making it appear shallow and wide. Black flooring choices are best balanced by lighter toned furniture and pools of lighting that enhance chosen objects.
By contrast, a white or very light floor can open up a small room and light parquet or laminate floors or whitewashed wooden flooring naturally create a simple, rustic and relaxed ambience, commonly associated with seaside locations and holiday homes. As a result, this type of floor choice will work harmoniously with blues and greens - the shades we associate with the sea.
Flooring choices and the use of thirds
Jonathan Sapir an expert on flooring and MD of WoodandBeyond.com says ‘It’s not just colour that subtly changes our perception of space - the use of thirds is a popular interior design approach that can be applied to flooring’. The most basic version of the Rule of Three is that from any point in your home you should only be able to see three kinds of flooring, which gives a harmonious unity to your decor.
Another version of the rule of three is to create ‘third’s by placing an object on your chosen flooring that divides the room roughly into three equal parts. This could be a large rug (taking up around a third of the space) or a sofa and chairs which cover roughly the same area. Our eyes naturally accept the use of thirds so applying it to your flooring will immediately create a sense of balanced space.
Combining careful flooring colour choice with the use of thirds will ensure your rooms are welcoming and comfortable, dramatic and exciting, or relaxing and calming, according to your needs.