Picking out floors for any room in your home is a big investment. It’s an even bigger investment when it’s the largest room in the home — your living room. Fortunately, when it comes to picking out flooring for your living room, there are all kinds of possibilities and aesthetics to choose from.
The best living room flooring options are inviting, easy to care for and withstand the test of time, as we all know that living rooms are high-traffic areas. Below, we cover nine living room flooring ideas that are not only stylish but durable.
What Are the Best Flooring Ideas for a Living Room?
When it comes to the best flooring for a living room, there are a number of factors at play. Living rooms are typically the biggest and highest-traffic room of a home, so it’s important to pick a flooring material that can withstand heavy foot traffic. You’ll want to consider if you have young children or pets, which can add to the wear and tear this room receives. In this case, you may want to avoid materials that can’t withstand spills or are harder to clean. Hardwood and tile floors can be some of the preferred options in this scenario.
Noise is another factor you’ll want to consider. If you have a big, open room that tends to echo, carpet or vinyl flooring is quieter underfoot than tile or wood floors — something you may also want to consider if you live in an apartment or condo and have neighbors beneath you.
Hardwood is the gold star flooring option for many living rooms and is known for its quality aesthetic and timeless look that gives homes a luxury feel — not to mention it can increase the real estate value of your home.
Like many types of flooring, hardwood has a wide array of options, from imports like Brazilian cherry, Santos mahogany and Australian cypress to domestic species such as maple, pine and oak. For installation purposes, hardwood floors come in planks and strips.
This timeless flooring option is both low maintenance and durable, making it a great choice for living room spaces that tend to see lots of foot traffic. However, natural hardwood doesn’t handle moisture well, so it’s important to be diligent in cleaning up spills as soon as they occur.
- Price per square foot: Wood flooring options average between $4 and $6 per square foot. However, some imports or more exotic woods can be as expensive as $15 per square foot. Price varies depending on the variety of wood and if you’re choosing solid or engineered hardwood.
- Types: Hardwood floors are broken down into solid and engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is constructed from one piece of hardwood and can be sanded and refinished over time. Engineered hardwood is made up of several layers of wood and is designed to withstand moisture and humidity.
Carpet is often the most obvious choice for living rooms and for a good reason. It’s cozy, warm and inviting. If having a living room space that feels soft underfoot from wall to wall is your priority, then carpet may be the best option for you. Plus, it’s one of the most budget-friendly flooring options.
Because carpet flooring is so popular it’s also available in a wide array of textures, colors and patterns to give you plenty of options to match with your home’s overall aesthetic.
However, because living rooms are often highly trafficked, this means that your carpet is likely to experience wear and tear faster than some other flooring options. Carpet for living rooms has a tendency to get matted and is particularly prone to stains, so if you have small children or pets you may want to consider a carpet option with built-in PET or Triexta for optimum stain resistance.
For more durable carpet options, a split between wool and man-made fibers will help your carpet withstand foot traffic over a longer period of time while still looking nice.
- Price per square foot: Homeowners pay an average of $2 to $4 per square foot for carpet. However, carpet can range anywhere from $0.65 to $13 per square foot. Price varies significantly based on the type of fibers, weave and pile type.
- Types: Carpet has three main types: cut pile, loop pile and a combination of both. Cut pile is often made out of polyester and wool with sheared ends. It is less prone to crushing and matting. Loop pile carpet is uncut, creating a looped effect that is good for high-traffic areas. Combination options include both cut and uncut fibers that can create unique patterns.
3. Ceramic Tile
Ceramic tile flooring is one of the best options if you’re looking for a highly durable and highly stain-resistant flooring. Ceramic is one of the sturdiest materials, making it great for high-traffic living rooms, especially for those households with kids and pets that see a lot of spills and accidents.
Ceramic tiles are low maintenance. An easy wipe and clean will do the trick, but they can also be wet mopped due to their moisture resistance. If you live in a humid area, ceramic tiles may also be a good choice, since they’re one of the best materials for handling moisture. As a bonus, they’re cool to the touch, which can help be an energy saver during hot months.
- Price per square foot: Ceramic tiles have a wide price range that spans anywhere from $2 to $20 per square foot. Averages range from $4 to $6 per square foot.
- Types: Ceramic tiles are typically glazed or unglazed. Glazed tiles go through an extra firing process and are generally smoother and have a higher sheen than unglazed tiles. Unglazed tiles can be preferable if you need more texture and slip resistance to your floors.
If you’re going for a modern, contemporary living room aesthetic, concrete floors could be a good option for you. Originally designed for commercial spaces due to their durable, low-maintenance and hygienic nature, concrete floors have become an increasingly popular option for living rooms or just about any room in the house.
Concrete comes in two types: poured and concrete tiles. Both poured concrete and concrete tile floors can have a wide variety of finishes to give different textures and looks to your living room space. Finishes can also help increase the longevity of the flooring and make them more stain-resistant than without. Poured concrete, while beautiful, can have some downsides, as it’s difficult to replace in the event of a crack.
- Price per square foot: Concrete tiles can cost anywhere from $4 to $10 per square foot depending on the look and finish you choose.
- Types: Concrete can either be poured or laid as tile flooring. Poured concrete is the most expensive option, as it requires a professional crew to install. Concrete tile can be more practical and versatile, especially if you need to lift the flooring or make a repair.
5. Porcelain Tile
Porcelain tiles can elevate the look of your living room, as they’re more luxurious and pristine than other flooring options. It’s similar to ceramic in some ways, but differs in that it is fired at higher temperatures and built of dense clay, which makes it incredibly durable and a great choice for living rooms.
Porcelain tiles tend to be on the expensive side of flooring options. It’s also expensive to install, as the heavy and thick nature of the tiles are hard to cut properly. Porcelain is one flooring material that we don’t recommend DIYing the installation. Leave this to a professional crew.
- Price per square foot: Average costs for materials range from $4 to $25 per square foot.
- Types: Porcelain tiles come in unglazed, matte and polished looks depending on the aesthetic you’re going for. Matte and unglazed options tend to offer more texture, while polished options, while beautiful, can be slippery for living rooms.
Travertine floors give your living room a luxurious old-world aesthetic — think Roman architecture. Travertine is a form of limestone that is available in earth tones like creams, tans, rusts, browns and golds.
Travertine is a very durable stone and fairly easy to care for, so long as it is sealed regularly. It’s very porous in nature, so without sealant, it’s subject to stains, which can be prevented by applying a penetrating sealer, followed by a barrier surface sealer. Not only does this treatment need to be applied upon installation, but it will also require the dual treatment throughout the life of the floors. Once sealed, Travertine is fairly easy to maintain and can be spot cleaned or mopped, making it a good choice for a living room.
Because Travertine has a naturally earthy and ancient architecture look, any scratches or chips that happen over time won’t stand out as much due to the rustic nature of the material.
- Price: Like other natural stones, Travertine can vary greatly in price, ranging from $3 to $25 per square foot.
- Types: Travertine is classified in four different types: polished, honed, tumbled and brushed.
Marble is a natural metamorphic rock that is quarried and cut into slabs and tiles. While often confused with granite, it’s created under heat and pressure which results in beautiful colors and veined patterns. It’s used in both commercial and residential applications, making it a great choice for living rooms that lean more elegant. Marble has multiple colors, color mixes and various wave or veiny patterns. In fact, no two pieces of marble are exactly the same.
Marble is higher maintenance than other flooring materials, as it needs to be routinely cleaned and sealed due to its porous nature. Spils or standing water that are not immediately cleaned up can penetrate the stone and cause stains. Additionally, marble tends to react poorly to acidic cleaning materials or acidic substances due to its naturally alkaline pH, although this can be prevented through regular sealing.
- Price per square foot: Marble is a premium flooring and ranges from $10 to $40 per square foot.
- Types: Marble comes in a wide array of types depending on where in the world it’s imported from. These include carrara (Italy), calacatta (Italy), statuary (Italy), emperador (Spain), crema marfil (Spain), talathello (Turkey) and levadia black marble (Greece).
8. Luxury Vinyl Plank
Luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) is a popular choice for living room spaces because not only does it mimic the look of natural hardwood, but it can also mimic natural stone materials like concrete, marble or granite without the high price tag. Luxury vinyl can come in materials shaped like tiles or planks depending on the material it mimics.
LVP is a significant upgrade from vinyl of decades past, as it’s structurally stronger and has several layers that make it five times stronger than a sheet of vinyl that some people might associate with old homes. Vinyl plank flooring is one of the easiest materials to maintain, making it great for living rooms and households with kids and pets. It can simply be swept and spot mopped for regular maintenance. While LVP is water-resistant, any kind of steam cleaning should be avoided, because this can drive moisture down into the seams of the planks and cause warping.
- Price per square foot: LVP is a lower-cost flooring, ranging from $2.50 to $5 per square foot.
- Type: Vinyl plank flooring comes in planks to mimic various wood species, tile shapes and natural stone materials.
Bamboo has many of the same benefits and downsides that hardwood flooring offers. However, it has a bigger upside than hardwood flooring because it’s a fairly eco-friendly natural resource. Unlike trees that take decades to grow, bamboo stalks only take five to six years to mature and come from mass-production farms instead of natural forests. For this reason, bamboo tends to appeal to homeowners looking to use renewable resources.
Bamboo can add to the real estate value of a home, although not quite as much as wood. When considering bamboo for your living room, it’s worth keeping in mind that it is prone to scratches as well as cracking if it’s exposed to prolonged humidity. Overall, it’s a fairly durable material and can last for decades if taken care of properly.
- Price per square foot: The price of bamboo floors is comparable to hardwood, ranging from $2 to $8 per square foot.
- Types: Bamboo comes in solid bamboo planks, engineered bamboo and stranded bamboo. Solid bamboo and engineered bamboo mirror the look of solid and engineered hardwood, whereas stranded bamboo is made from shredded bamboo strands compressed into sheets and cut into planks.
Your living room is one of the most used spaces in your home, so what you choose for flooring is a big investment. If you need support with living room flooring ideas, our design team at Floor Authority offers consultation services to give you the benefit of viewing flooring options from the comfort of your own home with our mobile showroom.