The flooring in your house is the stage upon which all other activity takes place. Though it’s easy to take the real estate under your feet for granted, floors have a big impact on your décor. Replacing flooring can be expensive, especially if you opt for wood or ceramic tile. You can find less expensive options if you’re willing to invest some creativity and elbow grease into transforming or replacing your existing flooring.
If you live in a house built on a concrete slab, you may be able to stain the concrete for a custom finish that’s easy to maintain. Stained concrete is the choice for high-end homes in the South and the West. It can be scored to look like tile or polished for a rich look. Staining concrete requires several steps, including smoothing and etching of the surface. You can do the work yourself with kits available from online sources and flooring specialty stores.
The Victorians painted floors to resemble elaborate parquet, stone or tile. You can achieve the same look in your home if you have worn wood floors. Use tape to create patterns, free-hand designs, or alternate squares in a checkerboard pattern. You’ll need to clean the floor and remove any varnish so the wood will accept paint. Look for special floor paints and sealants to help your paint job last as long as possible.
Floor cloths provide another old-fashioned option. Cut inexpensive canvas to the size you want, finish the edges and paint it with a roller and latex paint. Create elaborate designs, use graphic color-blocking, or apply a solid color with a contrasting border. Seal the paint with varnish and spread it over carpeting or other existing flooring to achieve a new look for a low cost.
If you need to replace your flooring entirely, consider peel-and-stick vinyl flooring or carpet squares. For smaller spaces, look for carpet remnants or boxes of discontinued wood flooring at bargain prices for your least expensive flooring options.
Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University.