What flooring should I use in my home office?
June 29, 2014 5:10 PM   Subscribe

One of my bedrooms serves as my home office, and the old carpet needs to be replaced - with something. Requirements: 1) I need something that will be easy to clean when the cats puke. 2) I would really prefer to not have to use a mat under my desk chair. 3) Wood is probably out. The office already has a lot of wood furniture, and a wood floor would be too much.

Color information: The walls are a pale gold/yellow, with one accent wall a terra cotta orange. I brought home some samples of some vinyl tiles, in a sort of slate color, and discovered they were too dark to work well. My current carpet is a light blue/grey; a blue, green, or aqua (not too dark) would be ideal, and white (probably with flecks of other colors) might work, too. I don’t want to create any kind of pattern (as you do with some tiles); the space is too small for that.

Because the room is fairly small, I don’t expect cost to be a constraint if we’re talking about any normal type of flooring. I’d rather pay more for something that will last for many years than go for something inexpensive that will need replacing in a few years. I’m going to pay someone to install it, having almost no handyperson skills myself.

I spend a lot of time in this room, and would like it to look really nice. Any advice would be appreciated.
posted by jeri to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've got a wood-floored home office, and needed something to protect the floor from the casters on the chairs. I also have cats and had similar concerns. Wound up getting FLOR carpet tiles.

The pros are:
- You can replace one or two tiles if they get too messed up.
- Huge variety of designs, materials, textures.
- If you need to cut it to fit, again, the consequences of mistakes are limited.
- Ships to your door.
- Installation consists of laying it down and taping the tiles together.

It's a little expensive, but not crazy. I've had it since '06 and it still looks good.
posted by adamrice at 5:41 PM on June 29, 2014

I have travertine tile in my home office, which I share with my cat (I have to admit, he works harder than I do). The house came like this so I didn't choose it, but I like it a lot. The grout lines are small and the tiles are laid very flat, so my office chair rolls well. It cleans easily and looks great. Since I didn't put it in, I don't know the cost. I doubt the tiles were cheap, but it probably wouldn't be too bad in a small room.
posted by primethyme at 5:51 PM on June 29, 2014

I recently helped my parents put in some vinyl plank flooring (I believe it was this stuff) into a room that formerly had carpet in it. It only took about a day to do the smallish (110 sq. ft.) room, and it looks nice and isn't too expensive. Most of the stuff is made to look like wood, but they appear to have some non-wood options too. The nice thing about it is that it requires very little prep work compared to stuff that has to adhere to the sub-floor; just getting all the carpet, staples and tack strips up was enough.

Not sure that this is what you're looking for, since cost and ease of installation was definitely a big factor in going this route, but it is an option you might look at.
posted by Aleyn at 5:54 PM on June 29, 2014

Is it worth considering vinyl tiles in a color similar to your current carpet? I mean, the ones you brought home and tried didn't work--but surely they come in other colors, right?
posted by MeghanC at 6:06 PM on June 29, 2014

How about Terrazzo?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:22 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

What's under the carpet? Is it just plywood? A friend of mine did a beautiful low-cost floor by painting an oriental rug onto the plywood floor and sealing the whole thing with polyurethane. Its totally washable and prettier than vinyl tiles. Or consider linoleum.
posted by mareli at 6:24 PM on June 29, 2014

MeghanC, the vinyl tiles from the company whose product I brought home do NOT come in any colors that work for me. But investigating other companies is certainly worthwhile.

Mareli, I don't remember what's under the carpet. It might be those old-style square tiles you used to see in schools and such. (The house was built in 1964.) That's what was in the living room. I thought they might have asbestos, but I think we tested them and they were asbestos-free.
posted by jeri at 6:32 PM on June 29, 2014

Aleyn: "I recently helped my parents put in some vinyl plank flooring (I believe it was this stuff) into a room that formerly had carpet in it."

This is what I came here to suggest. This kind of flooring is inexpensive (so it's not horrible to replace someday if you have a problem or you need to go in a different direction). It's really easy to install, too, in my experience. It's also easy to clean, and you can get it in some non-wood patterns too. It can last for quite a while. My in-laws have this kind of flooring throughout their house as they have about 8 kitties, and it works well for them (and is holding up great).

That said, if cost and install time are really no factor in your decision, you can't beat tile flooring. You will have plenty of color options, it'll hold up for a long time, and it'll be a good thing for your home's value.
posted by Old Man McKay at 6:58 PM on June 29, 2014

I would question your assumption that wood floor (or laminate) + wood furniture = too much wood. I live in an area where hardwood floors are extremely common and nobody things twice about using wood furniture in them. If you have a predominant type of wood in your furnishings (since it sounds like you don't have hardwood waiting underneath the carpet already) you can go for a lighter or darker flooring if you want more of a contrast with your furniture. Area rugs can be had very inexpensively and go a long way toward keeping the place from looking and sounding like a bowling alley. For area rugs I think a dense low-pile rug would be best for cleaning up cat puke out of and would protect the flooring from your desk chair. It may seem counterintuitive, but in my experiences it's actually harder to get stains out of completely flat-woven rugs (such as sisal, jute, or cotton) than a rug with a low pile.

In a low-traffic area like a bedroom/office, laminate is probably just fine and will be very quick and easy for a contractor to put in.
posted by drlith at 7:25 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not tile because it is difficult to clean puke out of grout.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:15 PM on June 29, 2014

I have recently fallen in love with woodgrain porcelain plank tiles. unlike vinyl or Perego, it is natural (stone). It cleans really well, in fact the first time I encountered it was when a friend with a very sick dog installed it in her home and not only did it look great, it cleaned up beautifully after the poor dog got sick on it every day. Now I am seeing it everywhere. It comes in many different woodgrains and you can choose a grout color that either blends in (my preference) or contrasts. the grout lines are thin. Although not your issue, I also love how well it does over radiant heat floors....warms up toasty and never warps like wood, I have never priced it out and have no idea how it compares in price to carpet or wood. check it out!
posted by Lylo at 9:27 PM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

If your house is on a slab you could do stained concrete. My office at work is stained, and it appears to be remarkably durable. Any wear also seems to add to the character.
posted by ohjonboy at 9:23 AM on June 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks to everyone for the suggestions!
posted by jeri at 3:31 PM on July 4, 2014

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