We ask a lot of our hallway flooring. It needs to stand up to all the foot traffic of inhabitants (including, perhaps, those with paws) and visitors. It must not demand more time to clean and to care for than we’re prepared to give. Pattern or color that doesn’t show the first speck as soon as the vacuum or mop have been returned to the cupboard is high on the requirements list for many of us… How to end up with a hall floor that cuts the mustard? Use our advice, of course.
What choices are there for hallway flooring?
It may be a demanding space, but there remains a huge range of flooring suitable for a hallway. You’ll need to select between hard flooring and floor coverings that are more forgiving underfoot. Think about color as well. Do you want a floor that’s available in a dark hue that won’t make what’s tracked in immediately obvious? Prefer pattern for the same reason? Alternatively, you may favor a pale finish that can make a dark hall lighter. Or lay tiles diagonally to make the hallway look larger?How do you prefer to clean the hall floor? Is vacuuming sufficient or do you like to be able to mop as well?
Hard floor coverings for hallways
Tiles are a popular choice for hallways. Select from natural or manmade floor tiles. If you prefer natural stone, bear in mind that not all are suitable for high traffic areas. Speak to your supplier to be sure that a particular stone tile will cope with the workload of a hall, and be aware that it will need ongoing care. The advantages of real stone? Natural beauty and a unique floor.
Manmade tiles may not have the individuality of stone, but they are still an attractive and practical option. Ceramic tiles are hard wearing and easy care, plus porcelain is extremely durable. Encaustic tiles can bring period style back to a home that’s lost original features and a lively pattern will keep the hall looking good for longer between cleans. In an older house it’s worth looking under the carpet as old encaustic tiles can be restored.
Wood can be a winner in a hallway. Mid-toned finishes and dark woods will be more forgiving in terms of showing up dust, while pale wood will demand more work but can help the space look more expansive. Wood flooring has a lasting style and durability. The advantage of wood flooring is that it can be refinished if any damage occurs over time.
Don’t just think wooden boards for hallways. Parquet makes for a handsome hall floor because plenty of the design will be on show rather than covered by furniture.
Composite wood is an alternative to solid wood for hallways. Made from several layers, composite wood is designed to be more stable in response to changes in humidity than solid wood. The best quality designs can be refinished if they become damaged.
Laminate can create the look of solid or engineered wood in the hallway at a lower price point. Good laminate flooring will stand up to the wear and tear it’s subject to in the hall. Stay away from the cheap options which won’t wear well.
Vinyl flooring can reproduce the look of wooden boards or parquet, stone, or patterned tiles. It’s softer and quieter underfoot, so might be the way to go to cut down on clatter when the family troop in and out. Vinyl flooring is a breeze to clean as well. Like laminate, it’s a cost-conscious buy.
Carpet and natural flooring for hallways
Warmer and softer underfoot than hard floorcoverings, carpets and some of the plant-fibre flooring options can be a success in a hallway.
Carpet is the hallway flooring choice for many homeowners. Carpet can’t be mopped if shoes or paws bring mud in, but carpets can have good resistance to soiling and be hard wearing enough for hallway life. Try a wool-rich version (80 per cent wool, 20 per cent manmade fibers). Carpet is also a good noise-dampener. Pattern, including stripes, can make an impact in the hall and will look nice between vacuuming sessions.
Natural flooring is made from plant fibers and has pleasing texture that can add subtle decorative interest in the hall. Not all natural flooring is suitable for a hallway. However, look for sisal and coir, which are tough enough to take the traffic. Coir comes in golden tones and will keep their look, while sisal comes in a wide variety of colors.
Runners make for a more relaxed (if smart) look in a hallway. Match – or co-ordinate – it with that of your stairs for a cohesive look, and bear in mind that stripes, like these below will visually lengthen your hall, a bonus in a small hallway. See our design ideas for small hallways for more inspiration.
Teaming hallway flooring with underfloor heating
Hard hallway flooring such as stone, porcelain, and ceramic tiles combine effectively with underfloor heating and provide good heat output.
Solid wood flooring can be suitable for use with underfloor heating, but check with your supplier. Composite wood should be compatible as well.
High-quality laminates and vinyls can be used with underfloor heating.
Carpet can also be combined with underfloor heating, however the carpet and underlay needs to conform to the maximum TOG (thermal resistance) rating specified by the heating manufacturer.
Top tip: Whichever hallway flooring you choose always lay a door mat at the entrance to your home to prevent grit damaging the floor covering and to prolong its life.