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Decorating Floors in Awkwardly Shaped Rooms

If you’re faced with an awkwardly shaped room, you can use floorings to reshape it. Consider the following list of trouble areas and how to incorporate all types of flooring materials, including carpeting, laminate, ceramic tile, stone, and wood. Draw on these suggestions when you’re ready to redecorate and reshape rooms in your house.

To reshape awkward spaces, use flooring materials to create designs.
To reshape awkward spaces, use flooring materials to create designs.
  • Confusing traffic patterns: Give busy rooms with confusing traffic patterns a green light by creating a “yellow brick road” pathway of stepping-stone-like inserts (circles, triangles, or rectangles) in different colors, textures, or patterns. This technique is a great way to create a pathway that keeps traffic outside a busy area (such as a kitchen).

  • Disappearing niches: Niches can seem divorced from the rest of a room, so rein a niche in with the same decorative border that circles the rest of the room.

  • L-shaped kitchens: These kitchens can seem disorganized. If you have an island, surround it with a strongly contrasting, decorative border. If not, create a strongly colored medallion (circular or oval) in the middle of the main work area. If the room is large, create a border around the perimeter in a color that matches either the border around an island or a central medallion. This technique creates lively, interesting interaction.

  • Narrow rooms: Visually stretch the room’s width with a series of broad stripes on the floor. The longer the room, the broader the stripes can be, and the more (and more dramatic) colors you can introduce. For shorter rooms, keep stripes narrow and palettes to two light colors. (Rough out your stripe design on graph paper and show it to the floorcovering dealer before you order material.)

  • Rectangular rooms: Divide and conquer a rectangular room by using floorcovering inserts. Position them so that they look like area rugs surrounded by deep borders. The largest of these virtual area rugs should occupy the center two-thirds or so of the room and be flanked by smaller area rugs. Work out your design on graph paper until you get just the right area rug size.

  • Square rooms: Make a stodgy square room appear dynamic by drawing an X from corner to corner and dividing the room into four triangles. Install one color in the top and bottom triangles and a complementary color of flooring in the remaining two triangles. Use this technique in any room that’s intended for a fun playroom, child’s room, or garden room. For a sophisticated Contemporary room, use tints and neutral shades.

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