Eco-friendly flooring options

If you're looking to update your flooring, why not choose an eco-friendly option. Julia Kendell examines the green virtues of bamboo, cork, natural linoleum and natural fibres like jute, sisal and coir.

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ABOVE: (Left) C651 sisal small bouclé carpet in Classic Light Honey, £38 per m². (Right) R501 sisal rafiki carpet in Antique Silver, £82 per m², both Crucial Trading.

If you’re looking to update your flooring, why not choose an eco-friendly option?


A fast-growing sustainable grass that re-grows after harvesting, bamboo is very durable (equivalent to many other hardwoods). Its natural grain is an interesting alternative to timber and it can be used in any room as it doesn’t have shrinkage problems, making it suitable for moist spaces. When used as an engineered board it is suitable for underfloor heating.


The cork oak tree can be harvested for up to 200 years and retains carbon, making it a very sustainable choice. Cork is more comfortable than tiles and other hardwoods and doesn’t absorb water (if it has a coated surface), so it’s perfect for a kitchen and bathroom. Natural cork is a useful background colour for any room scheme, but other colourways such as red or brown are available.

Natural linoleum

A natural linoleum made from linseed oil, wood flour and pine resin (as opposed to synthetic alternatives) is great for a kitchen and bathroom as it’s anti-bacterial, stain and waterresistant. Invented in the mid-1800s, it suits period properties and can last for up to 40 years. Although it can give off a slight smell of linseed oil, it’s made without any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which can pollute your home’s atmosphere.

Jute, sisal and coir fibre

Natural fibre carpets work well in modern and traditional settings. Made from natural grasses, coconut husks or leaves, they are sustainable and very hardwearing. The downside is the scratchy feel underfoot and difficulty in stain removal, but you can add a stain-guard treatment when it’s laid. Prices start from as little as £6 per m².

All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing