As any parent knows, kids are hard on floors. Frenzied foot traffic and crazy cavorting expose floors to some serious wear and tear, not to mention the occasional sloppy spills or forays into artistic expression. If you have kids, you may be wondering about practical ideas for flooring. You want style with durability, good looks with easy maintenance. Fortunately, today’s product innovators are thoughtfully pairing modern technology with trendy designs to create flooring options that are perfect not only for kids’ rooms but throughout the home.

Hard or soft
Perhaps the most fundamental choice you’ll need to make when deciding on a type of flooring for kids’ rooms is whether you prefer the relative softness of carpet or a harder surface such as wood, tile or vinyl. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and weighing their attributes against what is important in your household can help you with your decision-making process.

Advantages of carpet:

  • Many styles and textures on the market, ranging from classic to whimsical
  • Available in a dazzling array of colors, themes and patterns appealing to children
  • Offers traction and a soft landing for toddlers and kids prone to roughhousing
  • Stain-resistant technology makes carpet easier than ever to clean and maintain
  • Dampen sounds
  • Provides insulation
Advantages of hard floors
  • Often extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Won’t contribute to allergies the way carpets sometimes can
  • Spills are easier to clean and surfaces less likely to stain
  • Room’s appearance can be instantly changed with the addition of throw rugs or play mats
  • Holds its value longer

While there are compelling advantages for each, there are also disadvantages, some of which are magnified by the type of abuse floors receive from kids’ activities. Carpets need to be replaced periodically because the fibers wear out over time. Hardwood floors require occasional sanding and refinishing. Grout between tiles may become stained in high-traffic areas. Vinyl can be scratched or scuffed with heavy use. No floor type is impervious to kids, but by taking into consideration each child’s age and activity level, you’ll be able to select flooring based on what is appropriate for your situation.

Involve your child in the decision-making process
If your child is old enough to have an opinion, allowing your youngster to have some say in selecting the floors for his or her own room can be a fun family activity. Beyond the fundamental question of hard floors or carpet, there are many other details to consider. Does your child prefer a solid-colored floor or one with designs? If the choice is for carpet, should it be a loop texture or plush? With hard floors, the size, color and style of rugs is a consideration, as well as their placement. A child who seems little interested at first may exhibit some personal creativity when offered a selection of themes, colors and textures from which to choose. An added benefit of collaboration is that children who have been allowed to give some input in selecting products for their floors will become more aware of their own role in protecting and maintaining those floors, and typically show more desire to do so.

Other considerations for kid's room
Kids grow up, so floors that were appropriate at one age may not suit as well when your child gets older. Also, if there is a likelihood that you will be selling your home before it’s time to update the floors, recognize that dinosaur whimsy might not be everyone’s preference. Flooring manufacturers have listened to parent’s requests for alternative choices for kids’ rooms by coming up with innovative products to help solve the longevity issue.

One floor product that is gaining in popularity not only in kids’ rooms but throughout the home is the carpet tile. Carpet tiles, also called carpet squares, are small pieces of carpet that can be used to create patterns on the floor similar to regular tiles. Carpet tiles can be purchased without adhesives, making them easily moved from one location to another to change the entire look of a room as often as desired. Alternatively, they may be secured in place with adhesives or glues, yet they are still easier to remove than regular carpet should the need arise. This is a big advantage, as single squares can be replaced to eliminate a stain or tear without having to switch out an entire carpet.

Your floor is the tangible foundation of your home, and just like you, your kids enjoy expressing their unique style and personality in the space where they live. Whether carpet or hard floors, muted shades or wildly creative, today’s versatile flooring choices offer options sure to suit the needs of growing families through all of the many stages of life.