When looking for interior design inspiration, many people look no lower than the skirting board. This is a grave mistake. Too many people will saunter through an exotic building on holiday, admiring the intricacies of the wallpaper or gazing at ornate ceilings, whilst ignoring the subtle beauty that lies beneath their feet. It isn’t a bungee jump – it’s safe to look down.
It’s understandable that flooring often gets little attention in this regard – it’s understated, largely practical and easy to overlook, literally. Many peoples’ thoughts are centred on practicality alone when deciding on the best flooring for their home, and conversations about the style or type of flooring they want often do not venture further than cost considerations.
This approach to flooring prevents people from taking full advantage of the many beautiful AND practical flooring options available to them. In the first of this two part blog series, we will explore some of the flooring styles from Europe and Asia that are sure to catch your eye and transform your home.
Typified by Scandinavian style, the flooring world of Northern Europe is dominated by wood. Hardwoods such as deciduous oak and birch trees are abundant while rolling hills of coniferous fir and pine forests are the quintessence of the Scandinavian landscape. This abundance of quality, sustainable timber not only found its way into the majority of Scandinavian and Nordic homes, but has also become an enduring interiors trend in the rest of Europe and beyond.
Characterised by simplicity and functionality, Northern European style flooring makes the most of available natural light – a necessity when winter days only see four hours of sunlight. You can achieve this look with both natural solid or engineered wood, or create it with laminate or vinyl flooring. As long as the flooring is simple, practical and light in colour, you will be able to achieve this beautifully rustic Northern European look.
If the subdued colours and minimalism of Scandi-Nordic style don’t float your longboat, then look further south of the continent for inspiration. Introduce some French flair into your interiors with parquet flooring. A favourite of French royalty, parquet flooring has adorned the floors of the Palace of Versailles for centuries, as it was a more practical alternative to marble but still beautifully ornate. Available in oak, walnut, pine and mahogany, parquet flooring is most stunning in the classic chevron or herringbone styles.
Look further south still and flooring begins to transition from rustic woods to crisp stone. The warmer climes of Spain and Italy necessitate a cooler surface while their rugged landscape provides the natural solution in stone and clay. Spanish flooring styles prefer the rich, warm colours of terracotta tiles while traditional Italian floors have been embodied by opulent marble for millennia.
While these sultry options may not be perfectly suited to UK homes, their aesthetic can inspire a particular Mediterranean look that can be replicated with stained concrete or stone effect vinyl. This flooring style is perfect for accessorising, allowing you to get creative with rugs and mats. Natural Coir and Jute rugs will maintain the pastoral, southern European aesthetic while woollen rugs will be warm underfoot during the colder months.
Rich in history and dripping in culture, you are spoilt for choice when looking Eastward for flooring inspiration. Whilst each region of Asia has its own unique charm and aesthetic, Asian interior style can be broadly characterised by its fondness for earthy colours and natural materials. Colours such as reds, browns and tans are popular all over the continent, and flooring materials such as terracotta and hardwood are wide-ranging.
Bamboo, perhaps Asia’s most symbolic plant, is becoming an increasingly popular flooring choice in the West, having been used in Asia for millennia. One of the most durable flooring materials, bamboo shares many qualities with hardwoods – though it isn’t a wood itself, it’s a grass! Sustainable, flexible and easy to maintain, bamboo can come in a variety of colours to work well in almost any room.
As with cooler Mediterranean options, Asian style flooring surfaces can be adapted to the UK climate with creative accessories. French inspired Chinese Aubusson rugs add a touch of luxury while also providing woollen warmth and comfort. A great accessory to an East Asian styled room is a Japanese style tatami mat. Ubiquitous in Japanese homes, tatami mats are made from compressed rice straw and are designed to be both functional and comfy – customarily, they are intended for sitting and sleeping!
Whilst a great deal of the Asian continent enjoys year-round warmth, much of it is seasonal and does experience similar chilly winters to the UK. This is great for carpet lovers who are looking to infuse their homes with an Asian flavour.
Seagrass carpets sourced from Vietnam and China are great for well-trodden areas of your home, such as foyers and living rooms, as they’re incredibly sturdy and can be woven into attractive Herringbone or Basketweave styles. Likewise, you can take inspiration from India with a traditionally woven jute carpet, a supple natural fibre perfect for bedrooms, dining rooms and other low traffic areas of your home.
If you want to learn more about how you can incorporate these styles into your home don’t hesitate to get in touch with our helpful experts at Hudson Flooring. We’d love to help you find the perfect flooring to achieve one of these striking Eurasian looks!