I am of the opinion, that when juggling your budget and assessing your finishes, don't skimp on floors and windows.
Floors have so much magic in them. I love mine. Every time someone comes to my home the very first thing they notice when they walk in the door are my floors. "Oh, I LOVE these floors", they say. And so do I. I didn't go crazy on the cost but I got something I really loved and of good quality.
These days, you have a ton of good options available to you from from laminate to hardwood. Even tile companies, feeling the competition to hardwood floors have cleverly designed ceramic and porcelain tiles to mimic hardwood floors. These prove to be a very economical option and some of them are gorgeous.
There are a lot of places you can go to for floor options. Home Depot and Lowe's have some good options. Lowe's will even install their floors for you. Other places to consider are Lumber Liquidators and Floor and Decor. Your General Contractor might have a membership at ProSource Wholesale. I looked at options everywhere and bought my floors from ProSource.
I put a lot of thought into my floors. Today, the trend is dark, rich walnut stained flooring. Contrasting it with grey walls is really stunning. But as much as I loved them with the grey, I was in love with the light color of hickory wood. I was also attracted to it's durability. But the thing that sealed the deal for me was that I was able to find flooring that varied in width and length pieces. And I found something that alternated in color and wood pattern. My floors say "Hey, look at me".
Believe it or not, they don't really distract from the overall look of any room. And they keep the room light, which is extremely important to me. I wanted as much natural light as I could get and keep.
Here are my suggestions as you begin looking at floors. Do go to a lot of places. I started and pretty much settled on something from Lumber Liquidators and then I fell in love with what I found and purchased from ProSource. One thing I observed about my choices was that no matter where I was, I ALWAYS found myself attracted to the same thing. Whenever I saw a flooring that I really liked, I would pull out the sample and discover it was Hickory. I never found myself attracted to any other wood type and I paid attention to this.
KNOW YOUR SUB-FLOORING. It is very important that you know if your sub-flooring is plywood or OSB. This matters when you are deciding between engineered wood floor and solid wood floors and maybe even laminate or tile. When a floor installer is going to put in floors they need to know what the sub-flooring is. AND DON'T LET YOUR GENERAL CONTRACTOR SWITCH IT ON YOU IF YOU'VE ALREADY ORDERED YOUR FLOORS. If you have floors that are to be installed on plywood and your G.C. decides to put down OSB, your floor guy is going to have a fit and it could cost you quite a bit of money to rectify.
I decided, almost at the last minute, to forego hardwoods in my master bedroom and instead opted for carpet. I threw caution to the wind and fell in love with a beautiful white carpet. It's not a room I spend a whole lot of time in and as long as I can minimize pet exposure, I probably will be very happy with it for a very long time. I actually love having carpet in my bedroom.
I wish I could see everyone's floor choices since there are so many styles, colors, textures and types from which to choose. Whatever you pick, I'm sure you're going to love it. Just make sure you listen to your heart and pay close attention to your budget.