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New Laminate Floors

A few months back I told you I was partnering with BuildDirect on new laminate floors for the main living areas in our house. And I also asked for your opinions on which flooring I should go with. But we’ll get to those results in a second.

I feel we should start with the ‘before’ photos.

The center of our house is what I call the ‘great room’. It’s a big room with vaulted ceilings that contains our living room AND dining room. I haven’t shared the great room on the blog very much because I’ve really struggled with the space the entire time we’ve lived here. It’s a difficult room because there’s multiple things I have to work around– the doorways and doors, the kitchen passthrough, where we can put the TV, where we can put the couch, where we can put the loveseat (we can’t fit two couches), the tall walls, and the big open space.

The room also doesn’t get much natural light. It might look like it in the photo, but it’s because I shot it in the morning when it gets the most light and I lighted the photo some in Photoshop.

One of the ways I wanted to help improve the look and function of the room was by tearing out the frieze carpet and putting down wood laminate flooring. We also knew the laminate flooring would reflect light rather than absorbing light like the carpet did.

After almost 8 years of use, the carpet was starting to look pretty worn down in our high-traffic areas.

And the seams were starting to come undone in a certain spot. I’m guessing from Jack’s ‘running fits’ as we call them. You know, when your dog gets excited and runs around your couch 15 times without stopping?

We decided to go with laminate floors instead of engineered hardwood or hardwood for a couple reasons. The main reason is because laminate is a lot more economical, especially for the price bracket our house falls into. Laminate is also very durable, which is important when you have a dog and toddler.

Back in late November, I showed you the options we were considering for the new laminate floors. And 49% of voters went for the darker flooring, which I can appreciate. But I’ve learned that I’m just not a dark flooring kind of gal. I hate how dark floors show every speck of dust and crumb. One thing I’ve always loved about the oak laminate floors in our kitchen is how well it hides stuff. Another thing I had to consider is the lack of natural light in the great room. I wanted the room to look and feel as light as possible, so I knew I needed to go with a lighter floor.

 I ended up going with #5– Batavia Hickory because I wanted something lighter and more on the modern side. It also helped that it got great reviews.

We’re really happy with how it looks in the space. The flooring makes the room feel so much lighter and bigger.

Plus, the solid surface seems to be helping with Brad’s dog allergy. It’s also helps when Owen drops entire containers of Greek yogurt on the floor.

Now I feel like I need to paint the walls because they don’t mesh well with the floors. But I’ve never been a huge fan of the wall color. It’s probably time to paint anyway since the people we bought the house from painted the entire house this color before we moved in.

Our friend, Aaron, installed the floors and shoe mould. He typically does custom builds, so if you’re in the Indy area and need a kitchen island or custom built-ins, he’s your guy.

I had the super fun task of caulking and painting the shoe mould and baseboards. I have some shoe mould/baseboard painting tips that I plan on sharing because I’m basically a professional now.

To make everything flow, we carried the flooring through the great room, entryway, kitchen, and pantry. But since our kitchen laminate flooring was about the same color, it wasn’t that big of a difference.

Here’s what the kitchen looked before.

And here’s how the kitchen looks now.

You might notice that the direction of the flooring is different then how it was with the old flooring. Since we started the flooring from the front door with the flooring leading into the great room, we had to continue that direction in the kitchen.

I think the new floors look great with the color of the kitchen cabinets and wall color (SW Mint Condition).

You can really see in the side by side before and after photos below how the carpet absorbed light and how the laminate floors reflects light.

And while it was, literally, a pain in my butt to caulk and paint the new shoe mould and baseboards, I like the look of it.

In case you’re wondering why we went with laminate instead of engineered hardwood or hardwood. It’s because laminate is a lot more economical, especially for the price bracket our house falls into. Laminate is also very durable, which is important when you have a dog and toddler.

Again, big thanks to BuildDirect for donating the materials for this project.

BuildDirect is having their Spring Sale until March 31st. They have up to 50% off more than 8,000 products from 16 categories (flooring, decking, carpet, furniture, home decor, etc.). Definitely something worth checking out if you’re looking to upgrade some things in your house.

So, what do you think about the new floors compared to the carpet?

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  1. Beautiful! If you are looking at paint, try Valspar Wave’s Crest with everything else you have going on. I think it would look lovely. Also, please please post about baseboard tips stat! We are getting materials delivered to redo our floors today, so baseboards are in my near future. I need your advice!!!

    1. Thanks, Danon! I’ll check out that color. I hope to get the baseboard post up this week. It’s nothing groundbreaking– just a few tricks I tried out and worked. 🙂

      1. I need those tips desperately. Thanks! And I just emailed Aaron with hopes that he could create some glass cabinet doors for me. 🙂 Please suggest away if you know someone who could do that – I’m not sure if he does something like that – we just want 5 simple (IKEA BJÖRKET type) white cabinet doors with glass to put over the sink.
        P.S. IKEA makes a sink similar to yours now. It’s gorgeous and I bought one!

  2. I’ll come over and help you paint! We can karaoke some Adele! It will be a great time!

  3. I just installed laminate flooring in both my kitchen and den and am absolutely in love with it! Because I can’t perform a complete redo of my kitchen, we are using the extra flooring pieces to cover my 70’s countertops. Covered a section over the weekend and it looks amazing! Can’t wait to cover the rest of the counters!

    1. I’m so glad you love them, Beth! I’ve never heard of using laminate flooring on top of countertops. My concern would be water. But I guess if you stay on top of wiping up any spills it could work.

  4. They look beautiful! Such a big difference it made in your space. So light and airy now! We’ve been wanting to get rid of our yucky worn carpet and replace with wood, but laminate may be better for us after reading your post. Now I’m even more excited to go for it! Can’t wait for more tips from you on those moldings!

    1. Thanks, Jalee! Yeah, like with laminate countertops, wood laminate flooring has come a long way in the function and aesthetic departments. 🙂

  5. Lee Brinkley says:

    In process of building new house and haven’t made our final decision on flooring; wood look tile or actual hardwood or laminate. Right now laminate is our last choice. I like the looks/durability of laminate but hate the “sound” when you walk across the floor. I have never seen a laminate that doesn’t sound hollow. How does this sound when you walk on the floor? I would love to hear your opinion!!!

    1. Congrats on the new house! We’re on a concrete slab foundation so I there’s not a lot of sound when we walk on our floors. Or at least enough sound that it bugs me.

  6. What color of paint did you use on the door in your entry way? I have been wanting to pain mine and i really like the color used! Thank you!

  7. Dorinda Selke says:

    Chelsea-I can’t get over how different the laminate looks over the carpet. What an improvement! Just love the color choice, too. You must love it ! And I know our dog Sophie Rose would just love to have Owen as a houseguest if he dropped containers of Greek yogurt. It’s one of her favorite things to eat LOL ~Dorinda

    1. For waterproof laminate flooring that does NOT sound hollow, use Smartcore or one of several brands making VINYL (Rubber) laminate flooring. It made it thru a full year in The snowy north with constant salt & snow boots traffic, and still looks brand new! It’s completely waterproof, unlike standard laminates.

      1. Mary Jo Christian says:

        The vinyl laminate flooring is what I am considering also. I have several pieces of very heavy antique furniture and I’ve been told that regular laminate flooring is prone to impression markings; while the vinyl laminate resists it better.

  8. Pat Watson says:

    The floors look beautiful, I also like the rich look of the cherry woods. But like you I do not like dark rooms so I picked a color called country maple and it is just beautiful love it

  9. Mary Jo Christian says:

    Did you look at wood-look vinyl tile? It looks like laminate and comes in strips like laminate; but is supposed to be even more durable; especially with regards to heavy furniture leaving “imprints”. I’m pretty sure that BuildDirect is where I got my wood-look vinyl tile samples from.

  10. Love the new look! Several years ago, we got rid of our really dark carpet. There was hard wood flooring underneath, so we refinished it. It turned out beautiful, but I cringe every time a mark is made on it! I just love the look of hard wood, whether it’s laminate, real, or otherwise. Nice job!

  11. The difference in how it affects the light is crazy!! Your floors look awesome!

  12. Hi,

    I love your kitchen! Can I please ask you what kind of clearance you have between the countertop of your island and the wall behind the stools? I have a long, narrow kitchen but I would love an island and yours is inspiring me! I also love the artwork, it looks like an art gallery display! It’s a really great space! Thanks 🙂

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