Synthetic Surfaces under Foot

Designer, homeowners delight in a plethora of evolving non-natural options for flooring
Fridays on the Homefront
“People tend to look at vinyl and synthetic products for convenience,” including easier cleaning and maintenance as opposed to many natural surfaces, says interior designer Severine Secret. Popular synthetic flooring materials include vinyl (VCT) and ceramic tile, concrete, and laminate (as above).
Fridays on the Homefront
Terrazzo tile
Fridays on the Homefront
Linoleum. Photo: Rachelle Padgett

Last month 'On the Homefront' explored the reasons why some mid-century modern homeowners prefer flooring made from natural materials, a choice that many professionals endorse.

The fact is, however, there are just as many reasons why owners opt for synthetic surfaces for some areas of their home.

Popular synthetic flooring materials include vinyl and ceramic tile, laminate, and concrete, as opposed to natural flooring such as hard woods, cork, stone, and linoleum.

"People tend to look at vinyl and synthetic products for convenience," said Severine Secret, an interior designer and principal at Go2Design Studio in Saratoga. Easier cleaning and maintenance than many natural surfaces is definitely one of the advantages to synthetic.

While Secret admits to preferring natural flooring in most situations, she said synthethic materials can work if they look authentic enough.

"Eichler owners are purists, they're very sensitive to design," the designer observed. "It's such a pure design, it's so honest, that bringing something that looks fake does not fit."

"The great thing now is materials that create a cohesive look," she said, noting that various synthetic materials are almost indistinguishable from natural flooring.

"You've got tile in the kitchen, and wood floor in the living room, and it looks the same!" she marveled. "That's a big thing right now…They do terrazzo tile now, I think it looks great!"

Replication of other surfaces, including stone and concrete, is easily achieved these days with porcelain tile flooring, which is also almost three times stronger than traditional ceramic tile.