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We asked Italian Interior Designer Martina Pardo, founder of international design consultancy A Designer At Heart, to share some insights about about how she chooses flooring for her projects.  

Why would you choose wood flooring for a design project over other flooring options?

From the aesthetic point of view wooden flooring can easily be matched to design schemes and with their appealing pattern of the wood’s grain they provide a bold statement as well as a warm and cosy feeling.

From a practical point of view for its various long-term benefits. Wood floors are durable and if properly taken care of they can maintain their beautiful surfaces and colours for decades. They are also less likely to be damaged in comparison to carpets and other flooring solutions. Moreover, wood flooring is more hygienic, providing better air quality as it does not trap unpleasant odour, gather dust or animal fur and compared to laminate or other wood lookalikes it improves acoustics.

Do you prefer plank or parquet wood flooring for your projects and why ?

Our usual preference would be planks as we appreciate simplicity. We often like to create moments and spaces by selecting unique furniture pieces with unusual shapes or forms that are usually topped up with an interesting upholstery thus we try not to clash them with patterned flooring. However, that does not mean we never use parquet wood flooring or that we don’t create patterns with the plank wood flooring! We still do, just to break the areas visually. It’s all about the balance and harmony with the other interior elements.

To what extent is the surface texture of wood flooring part of your design choice ?

Texture plays a particularly important role in our design choices as it contributes to the visual effect. Some might argue that with smooth texture the grains are not that visible, especially on a big scale when laid down in a spacious room. However, it is still all about the details and the surface texture contributes to the overall experience. Smooth textures for instance can provide a very clean and sophisticated look. Aged and distressed textures communicate and display the charm of the natural imperfections of the wood. Interiors are not only about the visual but also about the tactile, we as humans experience places through sight, touch, smell and feel, thus, the surface texture’s importance cannot be diminished.

Does size matter ? Do you choose planks or parquet simply to suit the scale of the room or do you also use them to create a particular style or mood ?

It really depends on the design intent and personal taste. In some projects we aim to achieve a certain visual effect, thus the size of the plank or parquet plays a significant role. In bigger rooms perhaps smaller planks could get lost or provide a pattern that feels too busy. Generally with bigger planks it is easier to appreciate the surface/pattern/texture of the flooring and so we use them for this reason. But if we want a specific pattern to be protagonist then we may decide to go for smaller planks or a parquet option. It’s a matter of finding the best and most suitable solution for the specific room and visual effect.