Flooring can have a dramatic effect on any room, changing its personality from bright, bubbly and airy to sleek and sophisticated. But finding the perfect combination of material, color and pattern is a tall task. For more than 40 years, Floor Décor & Design, a full-service design center based in Rockville Centre—with a separate, extensive lifestyles showroom in Syosset—has remained a bastion of not only sound but creative flooring ideas. Owner Glenn Altarac, whose grandfather started the business, shared his expertise on how to make the best flooring choices for your home.
Tell us what’s new, what trends are you seeing?
We’re seeing very clean and sleek flooring. People are leaning to more contemporary, but not busy, patterns. We see a lot of luxury vinyl tile. I’m a vinyl enthusiast, we have an affinity for vinyl. For a kids’ room, you can do luxury vinyl tile or wood.
Color-wise, a lot of gray—gray is very strong. Blues are also a really popular color to design with, whether as a carpet or an area rug. I can’t remember the last time I sold a beige carpet. In wood, we’re getting away from reds and brown to soft taupe. Colors relate to the room you’re working on. If you’re designing a girl’s room, the colors can be vibrant blues, purples or silver. For a boy’s room, we’re still doing traditional grays and navies, not a lot of tan.
What do you like about luxury vinyl tile?
Quality luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is the best flooring choice, period. If I had to pick a floor that you can use everywhere (except the shower) and not have to worry about refinishing, that could give you tremendous value, provide the look of wood, that would be a 10-to-15-year floor—and if you can get over the stigma of the word—it would be LVT. I’m glad the world is finally catching on. Just don’t fall into the trap of the cheap stuff.
What are some tips for choosing the right color?
Color choice is so personal. People take bigger risks with color in area rugs because you can roll it up and get rid of it if you don’t like it. But color is a collective, not a stand-alone. What are you thinking about the walls? If you’re going with gray, then punch up the floor color. Do you have white furniture? Then maybe a purple floor. Neutrals will always be in for installations. People don’t want to take a risk. They don’t want to rip up carpeting or flooring. If you have a neutral color, everything can work off of it, both furnishings and drapery treatments. It becomes a canvas for everything else.
How should a homeowner decide the best flooring for each room?
The trend is to have a continuous flooring on the main living area level, with the exception of the bathroom. And you may carry this flooring to the upper level hallway, then change the flooring for the different bedrooms, maybe a different color carpet for each bedroom, kids and parents. When someone is deciding on flooring, we have to ascertain budget. There are so many levels of cost and price points. Then comes lifestyle: kids, dogs, a messy husband, does everyone in the house take their shoes off…is there a pool? If you’re an empty nester spending half the year in Florida and you want white everywhere, God bless you; go for it. For carpeting, we recommend darker choices if you are concerned about soil. Most people assume wood is easier to care for than carpets because they won’t have to vacuum. But wood is more difficult to take care of.
What’s your opinion on hardwood in the kitchen?
If someone wants wood, we have an honest conversation with them on their expectations: scratches will appear, it will get dinged. I recommend a more rustic texture of wood for the kitchen that may have an oil finish. If it gets beat up a lot, it shows less than something with a high gloss. Also, lighter colors show less scratching than darker colors. Oaks have a very busy grain so that could work, too. I’m just not the biggest proponent of wood in the kitchen. Ask yourself: how upset do you get when your car gets its first ding? If you get very upset, you can’t get a wood floor in your kitchen.
What do you think about patterns on bathroom tile flooring?
Patterns in bathrooms add a little interest to the floor. But I like a less busy floor. It gives you the opportunity to do more things elsewhere in the room. You can use a more quiet tile and lay it in more interesting ways, like a brick-, herringbone- or chevron-style.
What makes cork a good choice for flooring?
Cork flooring is a wonderful floor that no one buys. It’s high style; you can’t get anything that looks cooler. It’s nice to walk on because it’s soft. And it’s very environmentally friendly. You can even get colors and patterns. You can do anything with it. Cork flooring needs to appear on a home decor show to put it on the map; get some buzz going on it.