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There are several things to consider before searching for your new flooring options, and it is best to think about them before you step out your front door. Preparing before you shop will make your experience much easier and more enjoyable. Function - How you use the room in question is the first consideration. If the room is a heavy traffic area, such as a kitchen flooring options, an entry, a heavily traveled pathway from, for example, entry to kitchen, you should be looking at a hard surface floor. Hard surface flooring options include ceramic tile, hardwood, laminate, cork, vinyl, linoleum, vinyl composition tile (VCT), luxury vinyl tiles, and even leather. Hard surface floors will wear much better and be much easier to care for in these areas. A lot of people choose a soft surface, carpet, in lower traffic areas for comfort and cost reasons. Recently, more and more people have been choosing hard surfaces for these areas too, for aesthetic and allergic reasons. Budget - Unfortunately, most of us have a budget that we have to work within. The easiest way to figure what flooring options are within your budget, is to determine how much area you need to cover, or the square footage. To do this, measure the length and the width of the room in feet, and multiply these two figures. This will give you the square footage. Keep in mind that this will be an approximation. The floor store that you work with will come to measure the room themselves and give you an exact amount. Your own measure, however, taken to a store, will allow your salesperson/designer to give you a good approximation while you are at the store. This will allow you to more easily make a determination of which flooring options will fit within your budget. Color and Design - This, of course, is the fun part! Some people have a very good idea of the look they want and how to achieve it. Other people just don't know what to do! If you are one of the latter, there is help available. You can, of course, hire a designer to shop for you or with you. Most good floor stores do have designers on staff and they are very experienced in assisting people to make choices. There is something important that you can do to help them assist you. Take as many samples from the room you are redoing as you can. If it's appropriate, take samples from adjoining rooms too. As an example, if you are looking for a new kitchen floor, take along a cabinet drawer or door. If you have a sample of your countertop, take that. If not, find some paint samples that are very close in color. Take along samples of your paint and/or wallpaper. You may also want to take samples from an adjoining room if that room is open and visible from the room you are working on. Another example would be looking for a family room floor. Take along samples of your paint/wallpaper, upholstery, drapery fabric, and drawer or door from an entertainment center. All of these things will allow a designer to better assist you. Now you are prepared to go shopping for your new floor. Grab your samples and measurements, and head out to your favorite floor store. If you haven't looked in a while, you will be amazed at all of the flooring options that are available! Recent advances in manufacturing technology and global availability have made your choices multiply greatly. Most stores will allow or even recommend that you take some samples home to make your final decision. It's always best to look at the samples in the lighting in your own home surrounded by all of your other colors before choosing your new floor.

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