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Flooring often takes up much of your budget when it comes to home repairs. But let’s face it, not everyone can shell out thousands of dollars for luxury flooring. Most of us have to give up style, function, or both to cut down on costs. But why does it have to be one or the other? What few people know is that it’s possible to have the best of both worlds-without drying up your pocket. Here are five cost-friendly flooring options that are both chic and cheap.

1. Vinyl ($2-$9 per square foot)

Besides the cost, the main advantage of vinyl is easy maintenance. The plastic-based material is resistant to spills and moisture, and can handle a fair amount of heat. Cleanup is usually as simple as dusting and wiping every few days. Design-wise, vinyl is also very versatile-it comes in practically every color and pattern, so there’s sure to be one that suits your tastes.

2. Linoleum ($6-$13/sq ft)

If you want something a bit sturdier, linoleum may be a good alternative to vinyl. Linoleum is usually installed in a single piece like a carpet, so there’s no need to lay out tiles one by one. Both vinyl and linoleum are prone to scratches, so you may want to get some area rugs to cover up imperfections. Natural fibers such as jute and seagrass area rugs usually work best,, since the fibers are soft and will not scratch.

3. Ceramic tile ($5-$20/sq ft)

Tile has always been a popular flooring choice, and for good reason. Ceramic tiles are extremely durable for their price and offer a wide range of design options. Installation is also pretty simple-you can usually tile an entire room in a single weekend. The only problem is that high-traffic areas may wear them out pretty fast, What you can do is use sot wool area rugs on busy areas to minimize wear, or use a stronger ceramic tile.

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4. Laminate ($4-10/sq ft)

If you want the look of wood or stone but can’t afford the real thing, laminate is your best alternative. Laminate floors are made from layers of stiff kraft board, with a photographic print on the top layer. The print is usually of wood or some other natural surface, giving you the same look for less. Laminate works well with the anti-slip backings found on rugs and carpeting. Pair them with bamboo area rugs or cotton area rugs to create a softer look for your room.

5. Porcelain tile ($6-$14/sq ft)

Porcelain is the poor man’s stone floor-it creates the same look and texture but doesn’t cost half as much. It’s also slightly stronger than ceramic, making it a great choice for busy homes. However, porcelain tends to be uncomfortable to walk or stand on for long periods, especially if you’re wearing flats. This is easily solved with rugs and carpeting-just throw some rugs on well-worn areas to soften the impact. Wool area rugs work well for bedrooms, while oriental area rugs make great accents for living room.

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Source by Bill Brennan

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