Designers Can’t Stop Raving about Kid-Friendly Carpet Tiles — Here’s Why
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When my dad recently spilled red sauce pasta on the carpeted floor of our Colorado home, he fretted that I would be upset. But me? I literally LOL’ed. As the parent of a toddler with a dog, cat, and coffee mug-tipping husband to boot, what hasn’t been spewed all over our floor? Red sauce is nothing, folks.
Still, I fantasize quite a bit about the moment I’m ready to rip up our wall-to-wall carpet and put in an alternative that works better with our style. There’s just one little problem: I loooove carpet. I crave the Ugg-y plushness underfoot, especially in the midst of a Colorado winter. Wood and other flooring options are easier to clean, obviously, but they’re not exactly “hygge”-ready, something I value in the cooler months — and when my 19-month-old takes a fall. Know what I mean?
So: what IS the best flooring solution for busy families?
This is where floor tiles come in — they’re beloved by office and hotel designers for a reason, and available all over, from your local Home Depot to indie brands like Bolon and online retailers like Wayfair. “I used carpet tiles in both of my boys’ rooms,” says Arlington, Virginia, designer Susan Sutter, whose sons are now almost 14 and 11. “I chose them because they bring in fun texture and color into the space and are easy to care for — perfect for kids spaces. It’s not so much an issue now at their ages, but when we designed the rooms, the boys were 5 and 7, and durability was key to the overall design concept.” When one of her sons spilled something, Susan didn’t worry about their hardwood floors — she would just pull up the individual tile, wipe and rinse it, then replace it when dry. “I also loved that we could create our own design with a variety of colors and patterns. Both boys enjoyed picking out fun colors for their own spaces that turned out both functional and beautiful.”
Want something with an earthy look? Richmond, Virginia based designer Elly Poston has used Rush House’s seagrass squares in the homes of clients with kids.
I’ve interviewed many interior designers over the years who swear by FLOR’s myriad color, pattern, and texture choices — all of which fit together in carpet tiles that are washable and extremely easy to swap out, if they ever take a spill that’s impossible to expunge. Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at San Francisco design firm Modsy and mother of a 9-month-old girl, swears by FLOR’s carpet tiles: “[For] when you’re looking to create something that feels like it doesn’t skimp on the design aesthetics or feel like it was designed for a daycare,” she says.
“We use the tiles to create area rug solutions — they’re modular, easy to clean, and easy to install,” says FLOR product marketing manager Aly Brooks, mother of two young boys. “If something happens, you can easily take out one tile, wash it in the sink, and put it back. In a worst-case scenario — and by the way, I’ve always been able to get rid of any stain — you can just order another tile or two from our website and replace it.” She knows what she speaks of. “Just last week, we had red snow cones at the pool and my 3-year-old was jumping on his bed and threw it up all over his room,” Brooks says. “He has a beige FLOR rug. I cleaned it up in 10 minutes with soap and water and it looks perfect.”
But what are these floor tiles actually made of?
I had to ask: isn’t something that bulletproof, err, brimming with chemicals? “All the FLOR tiles are nontoxic, hypoallergenic and meet or exceed standards for low VOC’s,” says Katherine Cohen, who has two kids and two Great Danes and is a visual merchandiser for the brand. “We also have a return and recycle program — when you have a tile that’s soiled or just want to change designs, we will recycle them into FLOR tiles for the next generation.” When buying carpet tiles, be sure to take a look at the materials used.
They’re so easy to install that Brooks and her 5-year-old put together an 8-by-10’ rug from the tiles, which arrive at your door in pizza box-style boxes, in just five minutes. “And because they adhesive floor dots, they don’t move — there’s no sliding,” she says.
FLOR has seemingly endless pattern options, from graphic motifs to sandy-hued neutrals, but I myself am eyeing the Doe Re Mi. It looks, yes, a little like Bambi. And better yet, a little splattered spaghetti wouldn’t phase it in the slightest.