In many households, the kitchen is the room that sees the most use.
It’s the room where your family prepares and eats meals. It’s also where people tend to congregate at the end of a busy day and where things, such as new packages, mail and laundry, pass through on their way to other rooms in the house. At parties, you might notice that people tend to hang out in the kitchen, even when there are welcoming and comfortable seats available in the living room or dining room.
Since your kitchen sees so much action, it’s essential that the kitchen flooring you choose can withstand whatever life throws its way.
From sauce and soda spills to dirty paws and dirty boots, the best flooring for kitchens should be durable, easy to clean and attractive. If you’re remodeling your kitchen or building a new one from the ground up, here is your guide to good kitchen flooring options, which includes tips to help you choose the flooring that will work best for your home.
What to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Flooring
Although the kitchen is usually the central hub of the home, everyone uses theirs differently. Several factors can influence whether one type of flooring is better for your kitchen compared to another.
Here are seven things worth thinking about when choosing between new kitchen flooring options for your home:
1. Your Lifestyle
Think about how you live your life. Do you have young children or pets tearing through the house, leaving a trail of mud and toys in their wake? If so, you’re going to want a kitchen floor that can take whatever your kids and animal companions throw its way — and still look good at the end of the day.
It’s also worth thinking about what you will do in your kitchen.
Do you have cooking skills that put even Michelin-starred chefs to shame? On any given day, would someone find you in your kitchen, cooking a quick meal or trying out a new recipe?
Since the kitchen has transformed from a space purely for food preparation to an area for entertaining and coming together, it’s worth it to consider whether people will hang out in your kitchen or eat their meals there. The more action your kitchen flooring sees, the more likely you are to want to choose a durable, easy-clean material.
2. Your Home’s Design
Take a few minutes and think about the design of your home, as that’s another consideration when weighing kitchen flooring options. If your house has an open floor plan, then the flooring in your kitchen might flow through to the living room and dining area. In that case, you want to consider how the flooring will work in all those areas, rather than only in the kitchen.
With an open layout, it’s usually ideal to use the same type of flooring in all the spaces of the home.
Choosing different types of flooring, such as carpet in the living area, hardwood in the dining area and vinyl in the kitchen will create a choppy, disjointed look. The beauty of an open floor plan is that it expands your home and makes it look bigger and more welcoming. Having mismatched floors will detract from the appeal of the open layout.
If your home doesn’t feature an open floor plan, you have limitless options when it comes to kitchen flooring ideas.
3. Your Kitchen’s Lighting
If your kitchen is bathed in sunlight for much of the day, lucky you.
The amount of light in your kitchen can also influence the best type of kitchen flooring for it. For example, if the room gets a lot of sunlight, having a shiny, white tile floor might produce glare, which can make being in that area during the daytime uncomfortable. If you choose kitchen flooring with a darker color or matte finish, however, you can usually avoid glare and reflectivity.
On the other hand, if your kitchen is on the smaller side or has windows facing a direction that doesn’t get much sunlight, you might prefer a lighter floor color. The light color will help reflect whatever sunlight your kitchen does receive, making it look more open and brighter.
4. Your Kitchen’s Uses
Everyone uses their kitchen in different ways.
For some people, it’s a space to pour takeout food onto a plate or into a bowl. For others, the kitchen is the place where they put together culinary masterpieces. If you find that you’re on your feet for long stretches in the kitchen, you want to think about how the flooring affects your comfort.
Some flooring materials are softer and more giving than others, making them more comfortable to stand on for long periods.
Just think about the last time you visited a big box home improvement store with its concrete floors or strolled around a convention center with hard, concrete floors. By the end of your shopping trip or visit, your feet were probably tired, and your legs might have felt achy. Concrete is particularly unforgiving, and luckily, isn’t an option for kitchen flooring.
Some flooring options that look attractive, however, can also hurt your feet and legs. Hard tile, for example, has less give than vinyl or hardwood flooring. Of course, if you decide that you love the look of tile, but spend a lot of time on your feet in the kitchen, you can make the flooring more comfortable by putting down a rug or cushioned pad where you usually stand or cook.
5. Your Kitchen Flooring’s Cleaning and Care Needs
Ideally, your kitchen floor will be easy to take care of and a snap to keep clean. You don’t want to have to spend your evenings pretending you’re Cinderella, scrubbing stains off the floor on your hands and knees.
For that reason, even if you don’t plan on doing much cooking in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to look for stain-resistant flooring options. It’s also worth looking at the recommended cleaning methods for your new kitchen flooring. You want flooring that you can clean with soap and water, rather than flooring that requires specialized cleaning products and complicated procedures.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some flooring materials are porous and require sealing when installed. The sealant makes the floor water-resistant and less of a hassle to clean. You might need to reseal the floor every year so that it continues to be water-resistant, though. Sealing, however, helps protect it from wear and tear.
No matter which kitchen flooring you choose for your home, make sure to research what it requires in the cleaning and care department.
6. Your Kitchen’s Style
Your style preferences and the style of your kitchen will also influence your kitchen flooring options and ideas. One thing to consider is whether you want the floor to be the center of attention in your kitchen or a neutral backdrop, against which other style and design elements can “pop.”
Another thing to consider is the overall look of your kitchen.
If you are going for a mid-century diner look, for example, a tile floor might be a better match than hardwood. If your kitchen has a rustic or farmhouse style, however, a warm hardwood floor will look more at home.
7. Your Kitchen Flooring Budget
For many homeowners, price is a factor when choosing new kitchen flooring.
Some materials do cost more than others. It’s up to you to decide what works with your budget and also meets all your needs. Vinyl flooring, for example, tends to cost less than tile or hardwood, but some people don’t like the way it looks compared to other kitchen flooring options.
If you are redoing your entire kitchen or building a new kitchen, make a list of your priorities so that you can allocate your budget appropriately. You might find that you want to spend more on flooring than on cabinets and appliances or less on flooring and more on other kitchen gear.
Best Types of Flooring for Kitchens
Some types of flooring are better than others for kitchens.
For example, although carpet might be an excellent choice for the bedroom or living room, it’s usually not a good flooring idea for the kitchen, as you don’t want to spend your free time scrubbing spaghetti sauce out of carpeting. The best kitchen flooring options are those that are not only easy to care for but also look great too.
So, what are some of the best flooring options for kitchens? Here are our top four picks:
Laminate flooring looks like real hardwood or real tile but comes from synthetic materials. The construction of laminate flooring means it’s water-resistant and can withstand a fair amount of wear and tear, making it an excellent option for pet owners and parents too.
Take a look at a few of the pros and cons of using laminate for a kitchen floor:
Pros of Laminate Flooring
A few of the advantages of laminate flooring are:
- It’s durable.
- It’s easy to clean with soap and water.
- It’s quick to vacuum or sweep.
- It’s attractive.
- It’s available in a range of colors and styles, from imitation hardwood to imitation tile.
- It’s available in a matte or glossy finish.
- It’s generally installed in a single day.
- It’s priced lower than hardwood or tile, usually.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
Some of the drawbacks of laminate flooring include:
- Getting exposed to a significant amount of water or moisture can damage the flooring.
- Removing scuffs or scratches via sanding isn’t possible.
- Finding a perfect match is challenging if you need to replace part of the flooring.
Tile flooring has been a favorite pick for kitchens for many years.
It’s often attractive and available in a range of colors and styles. Usually, tile comes from either ceramic or porcelain. Like other types of kitchen flooring, tile has several benefits and drawbacks. Consider the pros and cons of tile before deciding if it’s the best kitchen flooring option for you and your home.
Pros of Tile Flooring
Some of the benefits of tile flooring are:
- It’s durable.
- It’s available in a range of colors and styles.
- It’s easy to clean and can be swept or vacuumed.
- It’s water-resistant.
Cons of Tile Flooring
Tile flooring does have some disadvantages, including:
- Standing on tile can become uncomfortable because it’s a hard material.
- Dropping a dish or glass often results in shattering, versus chipping of your dishware.
- Pricing for tile is usually more than laminate or vinyl flooring.
- Maintaining some types of tile flooring requires regular resealing.
Vinyl flooring has come a long way in recent years, in durability and style. Today’s vinyl flooring options can look as good as hardwood or tile. Vinyl flooring is also known for its water resistance, durability and ease of care.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider if you’re thinking about vinyl floors for your kitchen:
Pros of Vinyl Flooring
Some of the most useful advantages of vinyl flooring are:
- With a protective urethane wear layer, it’s durable and can resist scratches, tears and other damage.
- It’s water-resistant.
- It’s easy to clean, sweep, or vacuum.
- It’s available in a range of options, including vinyl planks, tile and sheets.
- It’s priced less than tile or hardwood, usually.
- It comes in a wide array of designs, including patterns and wood grain.
Cons of Vinyl Flooring
Although it’s a good kitchen flooring option for some homeowners, vinyl flooring can have a few drawbacks, including:
- Choosing a lower quality vinyl flooring can result in a less attractive look than higher quality vinyl options.
- Installing lower quality vinyl flooring gives your home a less durable flooring, as it is more prone to tearing.
- Without a protective layer, vinyl is susceptible to staining over time or with spills.
4. Luxury Vinyl Tile
While it has the same layered construction as standard vinyl, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is thicker, more durable and has more realistic designs. It’s made for busy homes and the areas you’re frequently in or walking through. You can install it as an alternative to hardwood or ceramic tile.
Before choosing luxury vinyl tile, consider the pros and cons:
Pros of Luxury Vinyl Tile
The best advantages of luxury vinyl flooring are:
- It’s thicker and more comfortable than regular vinyl.
- It has a coating that makes it resistant to wear like scratches, scuffs, staining and more.
- It’s completely waterproof.
- It’s easy to clean, sweep and vacuum.
- It comes in many different patterns, including realistic wood grain and classic stone designs.
Cons of Luxury Vinyl Tile
While it is a great option, luxury vinyl also has its downsides, including:
- It can still take on damage like scuffs and scrapes.
- It needs a completely flat subfloor surface.
- It doesn’t have the longterm value of hardwood or tile.
Hardwood isn’t probably the first option that comes to mind for kitchen flooring, as solid hardwood is usually susceptible to moisture damage.
If you like the look of hardwood flooring, though, or have an open floor plan and want to create a cohesive look in your living area and kitchen, engineered hardwood is a solid kitchen flooring idea. Engineered hardwood features a multi-ply construction, which helps it resist water and makes it less likely to get damaged by moisture.
There are some pros and cons to consider if you are contemplating hardwood for your kitchen floor.
Pros of Hardwood
Hardwood offers many benefits in the kitchen. Some of the advantages of hardwood kitchen flooring are:
- It creates a unified look when installed in an open layout.
- It offers access to different types of wood in a variety of colors and finishes.
- It can be swept or vacuumed for easy cleaning.
- It includes moisture-resistant options, like engineered hardwood.
- It provides a lifetime product because you can sand or refinish solid hardwood as needed.
Cons of Hardwood
Some of the drawbacks of hardwood flooring in the kitchen include:
- It isn’t as moisture resistant as other kitchen flooring options.
- It can cost considerably more compared to other kitchen flooring types.
- It can range in price based on the type of wood you choose.
Tips for Choosing Kitchen Flooring
Do you still need some help finding the best flooring for your kitchen? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Think long term: Try to think about how you use your kitchen today and how you’ll use it in the future. You want a floor that will work with you and meet your needs for years to come.
- Remember care and cleaning: You don’t want to choose kitchen flooring that dominates your time with its care. The best flooring for kitchens is durable and a breeze to clean and care for, which means you can spend more time in the kitchen cooking and chatting, instead of cleaning.
- Consider your cabinets: Ideally, flooring will complement a room, from your kitchen cabinets to your appliances. It’s usually better to stick to kitchen flooring ideas with a color or material that contrasts with your cabinetry some, rather than matching it exactly.
- Calculate all the costs: When deciding whether a particular kitchen floor works with your budget, don’t forget to factor installation costs and the price of accessories, such as underlayment or pads.
Schedule an Appointment With 50 Floor to Get New Kitchen Flooring
One of the best ways to choose the kitchen flooring that’s right for you is to see it in your home before you install it.
50 Floor offers shop-at-home appointments, during which we bring our floor samples to you. You can look through our kitchen flooring samples and see how each one will look in your home’s lighting and against your home’s other design elements. If you’re in the market for new kitchen flooring, schedule an in-home shopping appointment with us today.