Flooring Ideas: 18 Eco-Friendly Options For Your Next Home Renovation

If you’re doing a home renovation or are in the market for some new flooring, you’re in luck. Right now, it appears that just about every type of flooring company has some exciting option you’re bound to love.

Before choosing your flooring there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure that you understand which options are best for the space you’re covering. Consider which materials hold up better in bathrooms and kitchens, or high traffic areas. Also, if you’re concerned about which floors are eco-friendly and environmentally safe, be sure you know how products are manufactured before you buy them, especially when considering man-made floorings like vinyl and laminate.

Also consider that many floors, though timeless and beautiful, may be difficult to maintain. For example, natural stone floors may be tougher to seal and clean than they appear. Also, be aware that some materials cost more to install, like marble and slate.

Always buy extra flooring so that if you’re ever in need of a repair, you’re not stuck trying to hunt down an exact match. You may have a hard time finding the same pattern or hue again, especially with natural materials like wood and tile.

From wood to stone, linoleum to carpet, there seems to be endless options. Let’s jump in and take a look at 18 flooring ideas for your next home reno.

1. Hardwood

By far one of the most popular flooring options is hardwood. Hardwood is durable and easy to clean, and the beauty is timeless. The downside of hardwood flooring is that they’re pricier than other options, they’re easily scratched and dented, and installing them is outside the skill set of most people.

2. Reclaimed Hardwood

There is a trend in hardwood flooring right now that favors reclaimed wood. Builders and homeowners alike use boards from old barns and other decaying buildings as flooring. Not only is this option environmentally responsible, but there’s something about aged wood being part of a new story that gives a home more depth of character.

Another thing to consider is that reclaimed wood is much harder than its virgin wood counterpart. And like all hardwood, it’s best to keep reclaimed wood out of rooms with a lot of moisture such as bathrooms.

3. Laminate

The great thing about laminate flooring is that you can easily install it yourself and maintenance is a breeze. Laminate is man-made, however, so it’s a less sustainable option. If you go this route, we’d recommend getting the most durable options you can find to maximize the lifespan of the product.

Take note, however, that some laminate floors are made with chemicals that may emit toxins. Also, these floors are not biodegradable when you dispose of them.

4. Bamboo

dark bamboo flooring
Ron Frazier / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Because bamboo is a highly renewable resource, and the options are varied and attractive, this flooring has become especially popular. Installing bamboo on your own is possible, but it’s best if you already have previous flooring installation experience.

5. Cork

Cork floors are made out of the thin bark of cork trees without damaging the tree itself. They’re also surprisingly durable and much different in texture and appearance than a cork board or wine cork.

They are, however, soft enough that they’re ideal for areas where you’ll be on your feet a lot, which is why avid home cooks sometimes choose this flooring for their kitchens.

6. Ceramic Tile

women standing on ceramic tiles
Alex Plesovskich / Unsplash

Ceramic tile has been around for millennia and can last just as long. Ceramic tile is popular because it’s durable and can be placed in virtually any area of the home. This is an excellent choice for high-traffic areas and kitchens and bathrooms because it doesn’t harbor germs. Many homeowners choose to install ceramic tile themselves.

7. Porcelain Tile

Porcelain tile is similar to ceramic, though it’s harder and more durable. However, with that comes a higher price tag.

Both porcelain and ceramic come in recyclable options that will cost a bit more but are more sustainable in the long run.

8. Travertine

One of the things people love most about travertine is that because it’s a natural stone, no two rooms will ever look the same. It’s incredibly durable but does require a bit of maintenance. However, these floors should last for many years to come. Travertine tends to run on the pricier side, and because it’s heavy, it’s best to not install this yourself.

9. Slate

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Slate is a timeless natural stone option that is known for its durability. And while it’s high-priced, it will add significant value to your home. The downside to slate is that it requires a high level of maintenance and because it’s so heavy, it makes the installation for you or your contractor more difficult than other options.

10. Sandstone

Sandstone is another flooring option that will always give you a unique look that is not easily replicated. You’ll be able to find a wide variety of colors to work with but be careful when choosing this option. Sandstone isn’t as durable as other stone flooring. It easily stains and scratches, and because it’s porous, it isn’t ideal for wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, basements and exterior spaces.

11. Recycled Granite

Granite flooring is another option that can add considerable value to your home. Like hardwood, granite is highly sought after by home buyers.

While granite flooring is durable, and requires simple maintenance, keep in mind that with many stone flooring options, their mining practices are not always environmentally safe. Check in your area to see if there are recycled granite flooring tile options available.

12. Glass Tile

Glass tiles are having a moment right now, especially in backsplashes, but glass tile floors are also on the rise. Glass is one of the most commonly recycled materials in the United States, which makes its availability plentiful. Glass tile floors are highly durable, and while they work in most spaces, they’re most commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms.

13. Concrete

Concrete floors are making a splash right now and for good reason. They’re an option you can do yourself. That being said, if you’re installing concrete on top of a sub-floor, be sure to get help from a structural engineer.

Concrete floors are relatively inexpensive and can withstand just about anything. Concrete floors can be recycled, making them an eco-friendly option.

14. Linoleum

At first, hearing the word linoleum may make you think of your grandmother’s old kitchen, but it’s resurfacing as a popular choice again. Why? It’s eco-friendly, it’s durable, it’s easy to clean and maintain, and you can usually install it yourself.

15. Wool Carpet

Carpet is still one of the most commonly purchased floorings. There are a wide variety of carpet options to choose from. However, many of those are made with volatile organic compounds or toxins.

Wool carpets have a different feel than modern carpet and have been used for years. Not only do they last for decades, but they are also non-toxic and air-purifying.

16. Carpet From Recycled Water Bottles

If you like the idea of sustainable flooring options, you may consider this carpet. It’s made of recycled plastic bottles and has a minimal environmental impact. It’s durable and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Keep in mind that because this carpet is made of plastic, it’s a little tougher to the touch, and if it’s snagged, it’s a bit tricky to repair.

17. Sisal Carpet

Sisal carpets are made from the long, spiny leaves of agave plants found in Brazil. This sustainable, eco-friendly option is durable, low-maintenance, and non-toxic. You’ll have to get creative with cleaning this carpet, though, as you can’t shampoo or steam clean it.

18. Recycled Metal

What? Metal? On the floor? Yes. Metal has long shown up inside the home and is now popping up in flooring. These tiles are normally made of 50% recycled aluminum and are incredibly durable.

Written by Jessica Barrett Halcom

Jessica is an outdoor enthusiast who can be found dreaming up any excuse to make her way to the woods, the mountains, or the beach. Growing up in the country in a small town in Wisconsin, she had aspirations of one day moving to a big city to make her living as a writer. Her love of the country won out over the city, and though she makes her living writing, she has chosen the hills of Tennessee as her home where she lives with her family.


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  1. Those are bright ideas for flooring, especially on the recycled ones. The Sisal carpet seems very hard to maintain though especially if there are messy kids in the house.

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