• Column
  • Design
  • Design Trends
  • Flooring
  • Interiors

The Irish Times Column: Ask The Expert

Interior designer Sara Cosgrove, a fan of TC Matthews, talks flooring, from pet-friendly to eco-friendly options. 


1. What are the most popular flooring options for interior spaces today?

At the moment, several floor finishes are incredibly popular, herringbone for example, for its classic yet fresh style. For a softer finish, looped pile carpet in neutral tones looks great and echoes the currently extremely popular naturalist look. For more contemporary homes, we are seeing poured concrete becoming increasingly popular, using a mixed colour aggregate which can then be used to co-ordinate rugs and any adjacent flooring Another thing we’re seeing a lot is the layering of flooring, such as rugs on timber.


2. What type of flooring would you recommend for high-traffic areas like living rooms or hallways?

For high traffic spaces such as the entrance hall, you need to know what level of wear and tear you are happy to live with. Some people love a weathered and rustic style wooden flooring, whilst others want a clean and sharp look. In that case, tiling or laminate is always a good solution. This is especially true when layered with a runner rug to ensure it still feels welcoming and it helps to improve the acoustics. In living rooms, we love to layer – for example wooden flooring using rugs for zoning.

 3. Are there any flooring options that are eco-friendly or made from sustainable materials?

Increasingly, we are looking at using more sustainable types of wool carpets, particularly if they come from reputable sources. They are sustainable, natural, and gorgeous underfoot. You can also get great indoor-outdoor rugs made from recycled plastic bottles and the technology is such that you would not be able to tell that it was actually plastic. They are super durable and great if you’ve got young family members around prone to spilling their juice!


4. How should I consider my lifestyle and family dynamics when selecting flooring?

It is so important to consider your lifestyle and family dynamics when choosing your flooring. Some people take off their shoes at the front door and they’re very light on the house. In that case you can get away with lighter, less robust materials and paler colours. However, if you’ve got a busy family life and have lots going on. It’s so important to think about your ability and ease of cleaning and make everyone’s life more manageable. There are some great really hard-wearing carpet options which are cleanable, washable and even bleachable.

5. Are there any specific flooring options that are especially pet-friendly or resistant to scratches?

Laminate flooring or tiles with an easy clean rug are the best options for areas where you’ve got pets. Another practical choice is stone polymer composite (SPC) vinyls – they are extra durable. These products can give you really nice warmth whilst having good water resistance and soundproofing qualities. They’re also quite useful if you’re working with an older home and you’ve got different floor levels since a vinyl finish is super slim and can sometimes be laid over an existing floor.

6. I want to revamp my living room – but want to keep the existing sofas which are grey – where do I start and what order should I work in?

I love a room refresh challenge. When bringing a living room up to date it’s best to work from the outside in. I often wax lyrical about the power of a new rug and a new paint colour to transform a room, but it’s best to put a mini mood board together first. Your vision needs to be clear, and then make the changes. So, for example if you want to go monochromatic in colour using your existing grey sofas, pull a few images together of a room style you like, then list the details. Gather samples of the paint, flooring, and fabrics, and visit showrooms where you can speak to experts to help you make the best selections for long-term satisfaction.

To continue reading the Irish Times article find it here and for carpets and flooring inspiration visit TC Matthew.


Sign up for the Design Journal Newsletter.