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Choosing the best flooring styles for different office areas

There are a lot of factors in the choice of the right flooring for any environment, and that applies just as much to your workplace. Because flooring does the ‘hardest work’, its long-lasting resilience is imperative – but other factors such as feel, noise and visual impact also come into play.

Choosing the best office flooring for your business will depend on the space you’re looking to cover, the amount of foot traffic each gets each day, your budget and the overall interior design style of your workplace. Using the same flooring for an entire workplace can provide visual continuity, but differing materials can also be helpful in denoting different areas according to their various uses and ambiance.

Here are the most popular flooring styles we use for our clients’ office interior designs – along with their pros and cons for different workplace areas.

Carpet tiles

Carpet tiles are a popular choice for a number of reasons. They’re great at absorbing sound and are typically cost-effective compared to other flooring options. They also offer the versatility and flexibility of tiles, with the softness and quality of carpet. If tiles get damaged – for example, under desks or in high-traffic areas – you can replace them without pulling up the whole carpet. Best of all, you can get creative with how you arrange the tiles, by mixing patterns, colours and textures – to denote different ‘zones’ or simply to create visual interest in large areas. Like wall-to-wall carpet, tiles are unsuitable for kitchen or bathroom areas.

Timber

Timber flooring is still one of the best workplace flooring options available, adding a natural warmth and professional look to any space and available in an extensive range of colours, widths and grains. While it’s fairly durable, it can get scuffed and scratched over time, so may need repolishing every few years to stay looking its best. On the downside, you’ll need a generous budget to cover a large area and ambient noise can be an issue in open-plan offices.

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring looks very similar to wooden flooring, offering a premium look with a range of colours and grains, at an affordable price tag. The fact that bamboo grows faster than wood means it’s also a more environmentally sustainable choice. Bamboo looks beautiful and is easy to maintain, making it perfect for high-traffic areas within your office. Again, ambient noise can be an issue in large open areas.

Read more: Ultimate guide to planning your new office space

Vinyl & laminate

If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative to wood or stone flooring, vinyl and laminate are an excellent choice. They’re resilient, quiet, low-maintenance and easy to clean, which makes them ideal for large and busy offices. Unfortunately, if areas are damaged, the whole flooring must be replaced. However, like carpet tiles, vinyl and laminate is available in smaller tiles, so you can replace a small number of tiles if they get scratched or torn.

Because flooring does the ‘hardest work’, its long-lasting resilience is imperative. Click To Tweet

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are available in a range of textures and finishes, including imitations of natural stone. They’re most ideal for bathrooms, kitchens and foyers, or used in conjunction with other flooring materials, as we’ve done in our own office. Tiles are hard-wearing and don’t fade in sunlight, so will stay looking their best for a long time. The kind of tile you choose will depend on the area that needs to be covered, but our design team can suggest the most appropriate options.

Concrete

Concrete not only looks great, but it’s easy to clean and resistant to flood and fire. It’s extremely durable, which makes it perfect for high-traffic areas. Polished concrete has become extremely popular with companies looking for an industrial-style workplace feel. While concrete is stylish, it can be cold, noisy, pricey and may need rebuffing every few years to restore its shine. If you’re looking for a warmer and more affordable alternative to a single slab of concrete, you can choose pre-finished, oiled and polished concrete panels, which can also be used on walls and ceilings.

Stone tiles

Natural stone tiles are a durable flooring option ideal for lobbies, waiting rooms and other high-traffic areas. The range of options to choose from include limestone, marble, sandstone, granite and more. Stone tiles offer a sleek, high-end look that suits professional companies such as law firms and financial services organisations. They’re an expensive option that can be unyielding, cold and noisy in large working areas, but definitely add a wow factor in smaller public areas where it really matters.

This article in our four-part Design Series examines your choice of flooring options for the different areas of your workplace. Check out our other articles on ceilings, lighting and office wall ideas

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