Q: There's a wonderful room in our house that's used for family relaxation and for entertaining guests. The furniture, which is generally large, has a more formal appearance than the pieces typically found in a family room. Because this space gets a lot of use, we're considering installation of a vinyl flooring. Do you think that's a good idea? Please keep in mind that we prefer traditional styling.
A: Yes, I think vinyl flooring, either in sheets or tiles, would be a fine choice for the setting you describe. But I wouldn't stop there. I'd also introduce a more intricately designed area rug, so that the vinyl serves as a background rather than as the main flooring material.
The photo illustrates an approach that you may find suitable. Here, designer Raymond Waites of the Gear firm installed Armstrong's wood-grained, parquet-styled vinyl tile as an insert to be framed by a solid-colored buff tile. Marbleized black tile was added as a decorative feature at each of the four corners of the tile border. This detail produced a pattern that resembles the floors of English country manor houses. You can't get much more traditional styling than that.
An area rug is usually an integral part of such a composition because it will provide visual relief from the bold pattern of the vinyl flooring. A soft surface in part of the room also offers a welcome contrast to the hard vinyl. Either a large, textured rug or a small, patterned covering to be used underneath a seating group would be appropriate.
Such a combination of colors, patterns and textures makes for a very decorative, almost festive, look. And that's perfectly consistent with the spirit of a family room that doubles as an entertainment space. Even without a rug, as can be seen from the photo, a multicolored vinyl floor helps create an aura of nonchalant elegance, ensuring that the space will never be mistaken for a rumpus room. The fringed, upholstered sofa, the abundance of pillows and an intriguing selection of accessories all point in the same design direction.
Best of all, at least from a functional point of view, vinyl is a relatively inexpensive and serviceable flooring material that's easy to maintain. I think you're definitely on to something smart in considering this type of floor covering. It's sure to enhance even a room that's wonderful to begin with.