One minute she is playing on the floor, another minute she is fast asleep right there, on the floor. You cringe with guilt and disbelief. It’s ceramic, it’s cold! Gosh! Then you beat up yourself for choosing ceramic tile that is not so kid-friendly.
Don’t kill yourself, she’ll be fine and it happens all the time, but it is also true that your eyes should be on the right flooring material if you have kids. After all, the floor is where your little ones tend to play, do their homework, and, yes, fall asleep. Luckily, just because you’re aiming for kid-friendly, it doesn’t mean you have to compromise looks, style, or break your budget. There are plenty of attractive and durable flooring choices out there that are ideal for families.
Here is What to Look for in Kid-Friendly Flooring
Comfortable Options— First things first: comfort. Your little ones have no shame in curling up with a book or an iPad on the bare floor, so you want to make sure they have a place to play and relax that’s not too cold or hard. This rules out ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone floors, at least in bedrooms and living rooms.
Stain-Resistant — Kids are messy. All floors in kid-friendly households are bound to get dirty and worn out over time, and some floors are better at handling beatings than others. Avoid any single-piece flooring—i.e., broadloom carpet or sheet vinyl—or anything hard to keep clean.
Low-Maintenance — If you’ve got kids, there’s a tiny chance that you have oodles of free time to sweep, mop, and polish. Thus, you need to look for a floor that’s relatively low-maintenance and doesn’t require a ton of deep cleaning.
Easy to Fix — From toddlers to tweens, the destruction won’t slow down until the teenage years. Accidents are inevitable, so you need a floor that can handle dropped juice bottle, crashed tricycles, paint spills, and all sorts of your floor finish compromising spills, scratches, and dents.
Kid-Friendly Floors to Consider
You might be asking yourself: Are there attractive flooring options out there that meet the above criteria? Indeed, there are! The following flooring types are all entirely kid-friendly, no matter how many children and pets you’ve got.
- Hardwood + Area Rugs — If you think hardwood is too fragile for kids, consider that it’s one of the most long-lasting, forgiving types of flooring. No matter how severe is the scratch or stain, a hardwood floor can be sanded and refinished an infinite number of times. Look for light-colored hardwoods with a stronger grain to better hide scratches and dents and opt for high-grade polyurethane finishes for extra protection. In high-traffic areas or areas where the floor is for playtime, cover and protect the space with area rugs.
- Luxury Vinyl — An excellent and economical alternative to hardwood, luxury vinyl floors bring an authentic wood look with additional water-resistance and surface durability. You can expect your luxury vinyl planks or tiles to stay in excellent shape when placed at the center of a bustling kid-friendly home, as they’re two of the most spills, stain- and dent-resistant flooring types out there. Vinyl is also easy to clean and can be spiffed up as part of your weekly cleaning routine or in case of accidents. Vinyl floors come in an endless array of styles, colors, and patterns.
- Cork — Supremely comfortable but often overlooked, cork flooring is exceptionally soft, durable, and low-maintenance. The fact that it offers natural antimicrobial properties and is a supreme sound-dampener make this type of floor an excellent choice for the kids’ bedrooms or playrooms. Cork has millions of air cells per inch, meaning a good chunk of its makeup is air. As a result, the material is often used to insulate and dampen noise in recording studios, libraries, theater rooms, and anywhere the kids are using their voice. It also contains a naturally occurring substance called suberin, which acts as an insect repellant as well as naturally fire resistant. Finally, cork floors are hypoallergenic, so they’re great for the snifflers in the family.
- Carpet Tiles — Don’t discount them even if it seems that they are harder to clean. Since kids tend to lounge, sleep, and play on the floor, carpet makes an excellent option for the living room, bedroom, or playrooms. However, wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting isn’t the best choice. Use carpet tiles instead. They bring the comfort of wall-to-wall carpeting while allowing you to replace small sections in the event of an accident.
- Foam Tiles — If you’re looking for cheap kid-friendly flooring for the small playroom, check out foam tiles. These ultra-comfortable, easy-to-install tiles offer an exceptionally cushy and soft feel that makes them perfect for long play sessions. Plus, they’re typically designed to click together for fast installation and can be easily cut to any size or shape. Foam tiles are great for adults who want a comfortable, kid-friendly floor-topper in the interim. Kids grow up, so a temporary flooring solution such as this is often a wise choice.
How to Protect the Existing Floor?
We all want to make our homes as safe and explorable as possible for our little ones. Even particularly fragile flooring types can become kid-friendly with the right accessories and cleaning products. Make sure always to use soft furniture leg protectors and glides to prevent scratching, and to place dirt-collecting mats at each entryway.