Transitioning Flooring in Your Home
Feb 15, 2023
Creating Seamless Flooring Transitions Between Rooms
When it comes to choosing the perfect flooring for your home, finding a one-size-fits-all solution can be a challenge. Therefore, in many homes, you’ll find varying flooring solutions as you move from room to room.
Each space has unique needs. Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms typically need waterproof and durable flooring, such as tile or laminate flooring. But for other spaces, like your bedroom or living room, you might be in search of warmth and comfort, so a carpet or warm-toned hardwood flooring are likely contenders.
With so many different elements at play, it often makes sense to choose multiple flooring options to fit the needs of each space. When this is done well, it creates a seamless design while still allowing for separate spaces. When done incorrectly, however, the change in flooring can feel abruptly jarring and, in some cases, can cause a tripping hazard at the threshold.
So how do you design a seamless flooring transition? With so many flooring options and factors to consider, it can feel like a daunting task. However, seamless room transitions are easy to create when you follow simple guidelines for choosing the best floors for your space.
Choosing Your Floors
The first thing you need to do is identify your primary flooring. If you’re starting from scratch or conducting major home renovations that aren’t limited to just one room, your primary flooring is simply going to be your first choice—whether that be hardwood flooring, laminate, tiles, vinyl, or carpet.
If you are going to renovate one room only, your primary flooring will be the floor you are not changing, which borders the room you are changing. Identifying your primary flooring choice is essential as you create a seamless room transition because you’ll base your secondary floor on your primary floor.
Your secondary floor may be the more difficult choice of the two. With your primary flooring, you have only to consider the needs of the space and your personal taste, but you must weigh your secondary flooring as an option not only for the designated space but in relation to the primary flooring. So, what questions should you ask yourself as you design your interesting transition?
What are the needs of my space?
To narrow down your choices, you should first consider the purpose of the space. What you plan to do in a room plays a huge role in determining the right kind of flooring. Is it a living room that doubles as an at-home game room? You may want a floor such as a carpet or engineered hard surface floors that absorb sound for those lively game nights but is durable enough for a high-traffic area.
Will it be exposed to a lot of moisture? It may be beneficial to consider waterproof options, like laminate, vinyl, or tile floor. Do you want your bedroom to feel warm and cozy, but need a smooth surface for your corner home office? A warm-toned hardwood or wood-appearing laminate would be a great option to explore.
How do I choose a secondary floor?
As you determine your wants and needs for the space, narrow down your choices to whatever solutions fit best. Doing so will help you decide on a complementary secondary floor, like hardwood floors or engineered wood flooring. After determining the kind of flooring you want, you can consider other elements that are important for creating a seamless transition between two different floors and different zones.
What color flooring should I choose?
There are a few things to consider when selecting colors for your flooring transition. First, consider the color of your primary floor. If it’s wood or has a wood-like appearance, what are the undertones? Is it a warm brown, or is it a cool grey? Is the flooring dark, light, or an in-between shade? Is it one solid color, composed of multiple colors, or shades of the same flooring color? These questions will help you determine what color your secondary flooring should be.
It’s best to err on the side of complementary, but not identical. Oftentimes, when you try to make an exact color match you might create the impression that you tried to match but couldn’t. It’s a better practice to choose a color that’s complimentary and has similar undertones to the original to avoid clashing colors and flooring materials for your transition piece.
For example, if your hallway floor is warm, medium-toned hardwood and you want carpet in the bedroom, you could go lighter in color with a warm beige or go in a different direction with darker, deep brown transition pieces. Similar but different is a good rule to follow as you create your room transition.
Do I want or need a transition strip?
Floor transition strips are a piece of flooring material that covers the edge between one space and the next. Specifically, a transition strip (t strip) has construction adhesive that connects works to transition one kind of floor to another.
Although a transition strip is often made of wood, they also come in a metal strip, aluminum strip, or vinyl strip. If you chose floors of the same material, like two different types of hardwood floors, it may be that you don’t need a transition strip between the edge of the rooms.
However, if your floors are different materials, like carpet and laminate, you will need transition strips to account for varying floor heights in the rooms and to smoothly transfer from one of the flooring types to the next, such as hardwood flooring or engineered wood flooring.
There are three major types of transition strips for floors; which type of transition strip seam binder you choose will depend on the transition piece and the two floors you’ve chosen to bridge together with the transition strip.
T-Bar is a seam binder made of solid wood and is good for transitioning from hardwood floors to other floors in rooms with a hard surface and the same height, like another hardwood or ceramic tile floor. If you have two floors that are different heights, the next transition strip is recommended for those two floors.
Reducer Molding is a transition strip that is also often made of wood and is used to bridge the edge of two floors that are different heights such as laminate floors and carpet floors.
End Bar is a transition strip that is used in the installation process to bridge the gap between the edge of hardwood or laminate in rooms with another type of flooring, like carpet. Like the reduced molding, it is designed to bridge the gap between floors going in different directions of thickness and ones of the same thickness as well.
Go with your gut
Above all else, the best room transition is one made with two floors you love. Be sure to choose a flooring type that fits not only the needs of you and your space, but also suits your unique home design vision. While considering these helpful guidelines, know that if you go with your gut when transitioning floors, there are ways to fill in the gap and seamlessly transition any two floor options.
Visualize Your Flooring Dreams
Want a preview of how new floors will look in your home? Try our room visualizer, My Floor Style. Upload a photo of your room, select your style preferences, and get a virtual look at each different flooring style. With My Floor Style, there are no surprises. Only beautiful new floors.