Cheap and Beautiful Flooring For Your Home
Few improvements make a statement and make a room look better than the floor. One of the nicest ways to find cheap flooring is by removing existing carpet or linoleum and discovering a hard wood floor was under there just waiting for you. In the fifties 'wall-to-wall' carpeting was all the rage and for the next thirty years people caprted over their beautiful hardwood floors, which were considered 'old fashioned.' So check under that old carpet! A little work with a sander and some varnish and you've got a wonderful floor.
Ceramic: Ceramic floors last forever and require very little upkeep. You can save a ton of money by installing your own ceramic floors. Home improvement stores will help you with the supplies and even offer classes in installing ceramic tile floors. Go to a floor tile supply place, one that caters to builders, and you can get great bargains on overstocks. You can also find several different colors of the same style, like gray/tan/light rose or green and make a pattern with your bargains. Lay them out on the floor and number the backs so they'll be easier to put in order as you're working.
Reclaimed Wood: Sadly many old homes are abandoned in inner city areas or must be torn down to make way for newer buildings. If you're enterprising and do your homework, you may actually get the hardwood floors for free if you're willing to remove them from the premises. Be sure you get permission from the owner, as even abandoned houses are often owned by banks or mortgage companies. Salvaging old houses is a lucrative business in some areas, so be sure you have permission and get it in writing.
Some old floors, like plank wood floors were made of cheaper wood and aren't that attractive when stained. You can stencil designs and borders on them and seal them with several coats of clear varnish. This is often done in kitchens and bathrooms. One painted floor I saw was in a bedroom and someone had spent a lot of time literally painting a Persian design on it, so it looked like an expensive carpet. The floor was over thirty years old and still looked perfect. To paint your own design, first sand the floor smooth, then apply a layer or two of sealer. Next paint a base coat of your primary color. Next start in the far corner of the room and paint your design or apply your stencils. After it is completely dry, apply several coats of clear varnish. We have used boat deck varnish as it's tough as nails!
Another floor I saw was painted a pretty sky blue with a hand painted border of ribbons and roses around the edge and a floral ‘throw rug' painted next to the bed. You could tell it was hand painted as every flower and design was just slightly different, which made it even more beautiful and interesting.
If you're renting, and have a small room, check out carpet stores for 'remnants' or smaller pieces of carpeting that you can just lay down over an unattractive linoelium or wood and give your room a fresh look or color. When you move, roll it up and take it with you. This is also a bit better if the landlord refuses to replace carpeting and you don't want to have your kids (or anyone) laying on whatever the previous tenants did or left on the carpet.
With just a little creativity and some hard work you can end up with unique and beautiful floors for a fraction of the cost of having new traditional floors installed.