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A sure-footed way to choose new flooring

When spring-cleaning uncovers a worn floor it may be time to consider purchasing a new one, especially if you’re selling your home in the near future. A new floor, like refreshed paint and updated fixtures, makes a home more enjoyable to live in as well as more marketable.

Floor purchases are often postponed because homeowners are confused about how to make a selection. But Erinn Valencich, celebrity designer and contestant on NBC’s reality home design show, American Dream Builders, says choosing a floor is easier than you think.

“Selecting new flooring may seem like a momentous task, but it doesn’t have to be,” she says. “If you approach it understanding the selection process, bringing in images of spaces you like for color reference, it’s not intimidating ... but really quite fun.”

When considering new flooring you should evaluate your lifestyle. Many people prefer hard surface floors for high traffic areas of the home and carpet for bedrooms or dens.

Valencich is a fan of the warm look of wood in her designs and often uses premium laminates in place of hardwoods for active families.

“With all the new options of laminate available today, I often use it in place of real wood,” says Valencich, “The primary reason - durability. Laminates simply can withstand more punishment. And seriously, with quality laminates like the Reclaime Collection from Quick-Step, it’s next to impossible to tell the difference.”

So how do you choose your new floor? Valencich offers three easy steps to help guide you through the process.

1. Think color first

When redoing a room, Valencich always starts with fabric swatches to determine a color palette. So if you’re refreshing a room, you’ll want to select a floor that will complement the new color palette of your fabrics and walls. Valencich recommends finding a floor color that contrasts with the walls and furniture in the room. If you have rich, dark walls, a lighter floor creates a dramatic difference. White and light walls may look more dramatic when paired with mid-tone or dark floors.

The popularity of gray-toned furniture hasn’t faded and you’ll be seeing these rich patinas for some time into the future. Likewise gray floors remain hugely popular because they create an amazing foundation for a room.

2. Choose your style

With the resurgence of vintage looks in furniture and accessories, reclaimed, time-worn and rustic textures are extremely popular while smooth surfaces are always a classic.

Valencich often combines a rustic textured floor with the clean lines of a contemporary space. “I like to pair a warm rustic texture with a variety of smooth finishes. They create a nice contrast in a space and make a more modern look feel warm and accessible,” she says.

Of course rustic floors are the perfect fit for the contemporary cottage look and smooth surface floors work well in any decor. There’s no right or wrong, so choose what speaks to you and your style.

3. Visualize your floor in your home

When you’ve narrowed your choices it’s time to visualize the new floors in your home. There are several ways to do this. Most manufacturers provide some type of visualization tool on their websites. Quick-Step flooring allows you to visualize a new floor in your room by downloading the free Style My Floor app from This tool lets you play around as much as you like, trying out new floors in your room, before you make a purchase. You can also share the visuals with family and friends via email or social media to get their input.

Once you’ve narrowed your choices, it’s best to see actual flooring samples in your room with available light. Samples can either be ordered online or checked-out from your local retailer. It’s wise to involve your retailer early on in the process; he can provide great information on product specifications, durability and maintenance. Your retailer will also measure the room, order flooring and arrange installation.

For more information on Quick-Step floors or to view Erinn’s video on “How To Select A Floor” as well as more of her design tips, visit

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