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Flooring 101: History of Floors, Pt. 1

If you have a computer, possess an internet connection, and are reading this article right now, chances are very high that you have some type of flooring that isn’t just a bunch of dirt. You may have carpet, hardwood, tile, vinyl, linoleum, cork, or any combination of the above. It’s no surprise that we have an abundance of options that are available for use in our home flooring designs. However, this was not always the case. Where do floors even come from? Who had the idea to actually put floors down in their homes? In this article, we go way back to explore the foundations (pun intended) of flooring throughout world history.

In early human civilization, a floor was usually just the dirt contained within the walls and ceilings of a residence. The most advanced humans got for a good long while was to strew hay, straw, and cow dung across the surface. This would get packed down after use, solidifying into a cement-like material. In early European, some peasants would actually spread mint across these dirt floors to make the room smell more pleasant.

The ancient Egyptians are the first people we can pinpoint that used stone floors. It wasn’t long before they were using the stone not only as a practical flooring surface, but also an artistic medium. This is where we got such artwork as tiles and mosaics. Stone flooring continued into the modern day, with the Greeks using oblong stones and pebbles in their work and the Romans learning how to use stone floors to heat their living spaces by lighting fires under the rooms.

During the middle ages, we saw the rise of wooden flooring. To begin with, the planks were rough and asymmetrical. Over time, the planks were sanded and smoothed. Varnishes and stains were created to add to the floors’ longevity. Carpets and rugs began to spring up across the globe, with rugs being developed by the Romans and perfected by the Persians (modern-day Iran). Carpets can be traced back to the Chinese Sung Dynasty throughout the 10th to 13th centuries. These wonders found their way back to Europe, due in no small part to explorers such as Marco Polo’s adventures eastward.

Stay tuned for our next installment in the history of floors!

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Living Room Flooring Ideas

living room

The living room is often the focal point of any residential space: it’s where the family gathers to spend time together, it’s where you entertain guests, and it is often one of the largest spaces in the home. Therefore, it’s important that you do your homework when selecting a flooring option for it. You need to take into consideration such things as the style of house, how much money you have to work with, sustainability, and the overall look you are trying to accomplish. Here are four of our favorite flooring ideas and why you may wish to consider them for your own needs:

  • Wood. It looks great, adds substantial resale value to the home, and requires very little in terms of care (usually a simple vacuuming is enough to keep it clean for long periods of time). The drawbacks are few, but include cost ($3 to $12 per square foot) and the occasional need for refinishing if installed in a high-traffic area.
  • Tile. It is generally quite durable and resistant to scratching, comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and is water resistant. Like wood, it is easy to maintain and shouldn’t often need more than a vacuuming to clean. The cons of tile: it can be cold to your feet and on the off chance that they start to crack or disintegrate, they can be difficult to repair.
  • Carpet. Always a great go-to option for old or new homes, it makes any space look soft and cozy. It is easy to walk on and simple to install (even over old floor!). The costs vary depending on quality, ranging from $2 to $5 per square foot. The only problem you’re likely to run into with carpet is that it stains easily and needs more constant maintenance to stay looking good. Carpets need to be vacuumed regularly and occasionally steam-cleaned.
  • Cork. It’s environmentally friendly, warm, feels wonderful, and absorbs sound so you don’t have to worry about making too much noise by walking on it. Again, the costs vary depending on quality, but you will most likely be looking at somewhere between $2 and $8 per square foot of space. Be warned: since cork is a natural material, it can be prone to fading in direct sunlight and can swell substantially if it gets too wet.

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