Tiles, carpet, wood, rugs — your choice of flooring has a big impact on the overall look of your home or office.

American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Love of beauty is taste." And
of course no one would say they don't love beauty. Here in the UAE, we have many lovers of beauty and therefore, from Emerson's point of view, many of the most tasteful living, working, shopping and hospitality areas with some of the most striking interiors in world. And again, obviously, no interior is complete without a floor that matches the rest of the décor.

"In terms of flooring, it is the use of different types of flooring that helps segregate the different activities within a space," says Mirna Sarji, Senior Interior Designer at Internal Line interior design, a corporation that designs commercial and hospitality interior spaces.

The choice is yours

"In today's world especially, flooring plays a very interesting role both aesthetically and functionally. It
is a matter of research and being able to make the correct decision and 'think green', impress the client and enhance the space aesthetically taking into consideration the environmental conditions," Sarji says.

There is a great deal of choice when it comes to attractive and functional flooring for commercial as well as residential areas, with the growing use of mosaic tiles in different textures and colours. Ceramic parquet, which can imitate marble, wood and stone, is also popular.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles always add a new look as they can bring colour, texture and style and can be laid on a diagonal or in a variety of patterns. Natural stone, granites and marble are also very popular.

Cushion floor, a kind of soft vinyl flooring, is ideal for health clubs and indoor play areas for children. With designs ranging from intricate to simple, cushion floor looks fantastic and will give the beauty of natural tile and wood without the hard cold drawbacks.

"Using different types of flooring helps to identify different or separate areas within the office, hotel or shops or any other commercial space," says Nivi Ann Monsy, Interior Designer at Internal Line. "For example, the types of flooring used for a reception area and a conference room are usually different, as they are used for different purposes."

Interior decorators in the UAE have seen a growth in the popularity of wooden flooring, especially in offices and retail areas. As the wooden floors are in well-ventilated air-conditioned spaces, high humidity or other weather conditions do not affect them. Moreover they are treated for any damage before use. Solid wood floors of oak and other woods are expensive, so designers can use alternative and cheaper types of flooring like laminates or melamine, which come in a variety of grains and finishes to look like wood.

The real deal

Alomi Real Wood Floors LLC, established in England in 1927, is the largest independent stockist of wooden flooring in the Middle East with manufacturing facilities in England, South Africa and the UAE. The company supplies and fits solid wood, laminate flooring and decking from around the world.

Over the years Alomi has supplied flooring to many buildings in the UAE, such as Dubai International Financial Centre, Hilton, the Ritz Carlton, Mall of the Emirates, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, the British Embassy, and many others.

"Our high-quality British products are made and installed to British standards and we are honoured that in this country and region, we have a loyal customer base that continues using our products in their projects," says Simon Braschler, Alomi sales director.

A clear winner

One of the most exciting types of flooring to enter the UAE market is that of glass tile floors named Crystal from Diametral, an Austrian manufacturer. It has been three years since the company started making glass tiles inlaid with Swarovski crystals.

"There are almost 100,000 crystals in a square metre and it is a patented product because the resin used to glue the crystals into the tile is exclusively of Diametral. This product makes any property — whether it is a hotel or residence — stand out from the rest. It is very special and people are willing to pay for it," says Tom de Kort, Managing Director of Diametral in Dubai.

A large quantity of Crystal tiles have been supplied to La Cigale Hotel in Doha, Qatar, to adorn the floors and the walls of seven elevators, the royal suite and the nightclub. They have been installed in some residences and private palaces in the UAE.

A new nightclub called Bang being built in the Old Town in Dubai will have a Swarovski crystal inlaid tiled bar top. The other upmarket glass tiles such as Eldorado, Rainforest, Silverlounge and Autumndream from Diametral, decorate some of the walls and floors of the Burj Dubai, leading hotels and private residences.

Floors that complete the look of any space, indoor or outdoor, range from the simple single shaded carpeted ones in offices to the ultra-modern and beautifully designer glass tiles inlaid with gold and crystals and more. But it is the beauty that each beholder sees in them that makes them expressions of good taste.

Safe and effective cleaning tips for rugs and carpets

- Rotate rugs regularly for an even wear.

- Direct sunlight can make colours of rugs/carpets fade. Limit exposure to sunlight that comes in through glass windows. Protect them using curtains or blinds on the windows.

- Vacuum rugs regularly, as dust and soil can damage their fibre. Be careful with the fringes of rugs while vacuuming.

- When any liquid such as juice, coffee, tea is spilled on the rug, scoop up the spill as quickly as possible and then use dry cloths or paper towel to blot the liquid.

- If the spill does become a stain, apply warm water to the stain and then blot again until the stain is gone. Laundry detergent with warm water can be applied to the stain. Use clean dry cloths or paper towel to blot the area well. Use a vacuum cleaner to dry the washed area. If the stain is solid, such as chewing gum, wax, etc, then use a spoon to remove it and then wash and dry the area.

- If a precious Persian carpet or Oriental rug is damaged, it is better to have it fixed by expert repairers, thereby extending the life of the rug. With timely care you can have the pleasure of carpets/rugs for a long time.