Thursday, July 5, 2012

Choosing Studio Flooring

We tend to think of the pretty or decorative items for our studios when planning a renovation but one of the most critical elements of a good studio design has to be what we place on the floor. When looking at flooring, think of these critical elements:

  • Safety-we don't want flooring that we can slip or trip on
  • Comfort-we can often be on our feet for lengthy periods cutting fabrics 
  • Cost -what kind of flooring will fit into our budget

When I was planning my studio I considered many options, some were impractical, some too expensive, but I'd like to tell you about the possibilities:


Probably the least desirable choice, concrete is hard on your legs and feet, but anti fatigue mats could be used. It can be cold, but that maybe appreciated in hot weather. Concrete is easy to clean and can be painted in a wide variety of colours and patterns. It also maybe the only option if you are working in a garage.


Lino is probably the cheapest option, it can often be installed by a non-professional, there are almost limitless design and pattern options. You might consider the peel and stick tiles.

Carpet or carpet tiles

I had carpeting in my basement studio for many years, it was warm but I had chosen a creamy beige Berber that showed dirt, threads and stains very easily. I usually steam cleaned the carpet once a year and vacuumed frequently but pins and beads were often lost "forever"!

If your studio does double duty as a guest room, then carpeting might be the only option, I would recommend a medium light or darker value and remember a loop pile will often grab hold of pins and not let them go, even with vigorous cleaning!

If carpeting is your best option then consider the peel and stick carpet tiles as a less expensive option.


Rubber or composite flooring is often found in gyms or play areas for children, it is rather expensive. It is very easy on the feet and legs, although colors are limited. It will be marked or dented by heavy furniture.

Cork has many redeeming qualities, it is warmer than other laminate or wood floors, it's a renewable resource, and it has some cushioning properties. Cork flooring was my first choice for the floor in my studio. Unfortunately, the cost of 324 square feet with underlay was going to be over $2500.00, too high for my budget.


Perhaps your studio is in an older building and you are fortunate to have some sort of hardwood flooring. Lucky you!  If you have it in your budget, it might be an option, however if the flooring is varnished or treated it might be susceptible to scratches and marking. 


Laminate flooring was the final choice for my studio,  we purchased it on sale and also bought the best quality underlay we could find. Once we had taken up the old carpet, we discovered that the cement floor was terribly uneven, too uneven to lay the laminate, darn! Fortunately I have a talented son in law who laid a plywood subfloor to level it out. I was surprised that there was a 2" difference from one corner of the room to the opposite side. 

My husband laid the floor and I love the look.

Other considerations:

DIY or professional installation? Consider the cost of hiring someone to install your flooring if you don't want or are unable to do it yourself. Most flooring installation is fairly straight forward, but if you run into problems like I did, then going to the professionals might be your best route.

Additional flooring: consider placing anti fatigue mats in areas where you are standing for periods of time such as in front of the cutting table.

Place mats under chairs to protect surfaces and prevent wear in front of sewing machines and computers.

You can save money by using or repurposing furniture in your studio, but don't skimp on flooring, buy the best that you can afford. It will pay off in years to come.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Great tips, Susan on studio flooring. Many will benefit from this post. Thanks for taking time to document this.

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