Ten years. That’s how long it took to get rid of the ugly family room carpet that we inherited with our house. First it just wasn’t a priority. Then It made sense to keep the old carpet so kids, strollers, and pets could do what pets and kids do to carpet. Then it was the dilemma of what to replace it with. Ten years is long enough. I am so thrilled with our new family room carpet, and am ready to show it off.
Choices for family room flooring
This room was added on to our vintage home, and is the only room on a cement slab. You have no idea how it pains me to show you this pink carpet, dear reader.
With each room, some materials work better than others. I considered these replacements.
Carpet was the easiest replacement choice, and would theoretically keep the room warmer. However, you can read about how all of my family’s allergies vanished overnight when I removed the carpet upstairs. For the sake of our health, I really didn’t want to keep carpet with padding.
Hardwood makes sense, since the rest of our home is hardwood. However, going over concrete, we’d need to choose carefully. It would likely need to be a floating engineered floor, which was a good option. But the room is rough pine paneled on all walls and slanted ceiling, and I didn’t think I could handle any more long straight lines in the room. The room also has two skylights, and I knew that there was a good chance of considerable bleaching of a wood floor almost immediately. Although it’s usually a huge upheaval to have your hardwood floors sanded like we did in the rest of the house, new installation for just this room could have been much easier.
Laminate was a really good option. Shaw Floorte has performed well for me, and is a decent DIY option. It is waterproof, which works well for the movie room, like this basement renovation that I loved. The big downside was that it wouldn’t provide any cushion at all over the cement pad, and I’d still end up with a really large rug-over-pad, so we were back to the allergens.
I briefly considered stenciling the concrete, which would give me the option of adding some pattern to the room, in order to take the focus of the funky walls. Although I adore the look, I didn’t really have the time to stencil. Also, back to the rug-over-pad for comfort.
Our new carpet squares for the family room flooring
I found the best of all worlds with my FLOR floor. FLOR are carpet squares that you can install yourself in traditional, funky, or designer styles and patterns. What I love most about them is that the carpet and pad is all in one product, so there are not a lot of places for allergens to hide. They are not nearly as thick and cushy as standard pile carpet, but they can be very soft to the touch. They ship via UPS right to your door.
Installation is simple. Lay the squares in your preferred patterns and use the enclosed FLOR dots to stick the corners of the squares together. They don’t stick to the floor; they stick to each other. Got kids or pets (or husbands)? If there is a spill, you simply pull up the affected squares, wash them in the sink, let dry, and re-lay them. See a traffic pattern over time? Swap some squares for extras or squares that usually hide in corners or under furniture, and you’ve got a refreshed look. You can’t do that with carpet.
I also love that the company thinks about the lifecycle of the product. instead of putting FLOR at the curb to land in the landfill, FLOR allows you to ship them back to be recycled into new FLOR squares.
Installation was even easier than expected. We pushed all the furniture to one side of the room, and removed the carpet a section at a time.
My kids really got into helping with this one day when they were off from school, although I honestly could have done it solo. Taking the tack strips off is always the worst part! I hate tack strips!!!! But removal is a good way to get out some frustration!
We vacuumed and swept. That was it for prepping the area. We laid the FLOR squares in the first third of the room. Once you see what is under your carpets, you might never install carpet again!
We simply slid the furniture from one end of he room to the other, and kept working, removing carpet, pad and tack strips, then cleaned the area and laid down FLOR squares. Honestly, our installation is so tight, we didn’t even put the FLOR Dots underneath.
Loving it already!
The whole project took less than 5 hours. We paused at dinner time. I could not stop walking back in to admire it. I came back later that night to cut the few custom pieces we needed. The only tool required was a utility knife. The picture below is the same corner I showed you up above.
We started installation along the wall with the sliding glass door, after I talked with the FLOR design rep and chose which wall was likely to be the most visually important and the straightest. We decided that if there were any leftover cuts, we’d want them on the inside wall, not here.
I was really afraid that the girls were going to dislike the lack of padding. Surprisingly, they not only love the pattern, they don’t even notice that missing layer of pad. I did buy them each a sheep skin to cuddle on, if they want to lay on the floor, but you see where they ended up, and who enjoys them the most.
Also surprising, I like the furniture better now. I’ve never been in love with this brown leather couch, but it is a workhorse, so I haven’t gotten rid of it yet, although I have my eye on a Joybird lounger. I’m really fighting the dark and light here, but the light is winning, slowly but surely.
Let’s talk pattern. It’s called Lasting Grateness, and was on sale. The color is called teal/bone. It may no longer be available, as FLOR tends to change their inventory quite often. It turns out that I really like ironwork design. The quatrefoil is one of my favorite patterns. It’s an irresistible combination of geometry, repeating patterns, timeless multicultural style and curves. Because this will not ever line up, the random “almost pattern” is a good contrast to the monotony of the paneled walls. All of the partial tiles and wonky cuts are here around the steps and the inside walls, and you don’t see any of it.
It takes regular vacuuming, just like carpet.
Some OCD friends have said that they wouldn’t be able to live with the non-continuous pattern. I find that it’s similar to having a brightly pattered oriental rug in the room, fun but best if you don’t obsess over the detail. I guess there are two kinds of people in the world…
But if you like the idea and hate the pattern, don’t worry, there is probably still a FLOR tile for you. They come in a huge array of styles, patterns and solids. The company is great about sending you out samples so you can see what the tiles would look like before you commit to a whole room. For the right project, FLOR tiles would also make an economical and stylish choice for staging.
We really couldn’t be happier. I haven’t had to clean up cat yak yet, but the few minor spills that we’ve had were easy enough to clean up, and the area inside the slider isn’t showing any wear at all.