Kitchen Floor Conundrum

First of all, I forgot to post that I finished painting the kitchen… and wonder of all wonders,  I actually like the color (now there’s a first!)

I wanted it to be similar to the silvery blue of the dining room but with a touch more green. So I went with Benjamin Moore “Silver Crest”

Benjamin Moore Silver Crest

….which looks totally green, further supporting my theory that there is no neutral silver/gray:

Kitchen painted

So with that problem solved, its time to pick the kitchen floor.

I had my heart set on a vinyl or linoleum traditional/retro checkerboard floor.  I didn’t want tile because its too hard on the feet and I didn’t want wood because I thought it wouldn’t stand out enough from the bordering dining room and living room oak floors.

I like the retro-ness of the checkerboard, but I am also aware that there’s a fine line between retro chic and retro kictch and I don’t want to cross it.

Here’s a hack photoshop job of what our kitchen might look like with black countertops and checkerboard floor:
small checkerboard patterh

At any rate, I had my heart set on Vinyl because of its resiliancy, (no broken glasses, springy softness underfoot!) but some sales people were saying that the white of the vinyl will yellow over time, or get dirty too easily.

Jeff came across this cool stuff called Duraceramic made by Congoleum. Its a limestone composite tile (?) and is supposed to have the durability of ceramic but the feel of vinyl. Perfect, where do I sign up?

Unfortunately, they damn tiles only come in 16″x16″ which is MUCH too big of a pattern for our little kitchen floor.

Plan B was this floating laminate floor by Fausfloor. Its wood laminate that’s painted with a 12″x12″ checkboard pattern. The salesperson was kind enough to let me take the display board home to see it in our kitchen:

 Fausfloor checks

Excuse the bad photoshopping and super shiny black patches, (the product information stickers.)

Somehow I think the scale is still wrong. Am I crazy or is the 12″x12″ pattern still too big for a retro look? It looks a bit more dr. seuss than vintage to my eye.

Compare it to this smaller 9″ x 9″ pattern:

Mannington Vinyl

It feels different right?

The nice thing about the laminate big squares is that they aren’t pure black and pure white which will hide dirt better and look slightly more ‘worn’.  The other advantage is that its super easy to install -just click and go. No glue, and subfloor already attached to the back of each plank..

So no I’m back to square (check?) one.. thinking of scraping the whole checkerboard idea and going with a washed wood look in either laminate or vinyl (though not necessarily this color):

Amtico Washed wood blue

I’d love to hear what you all think… (i.e. HELP!)

14 Responses to “Kitchen Floor Conundrum”

  1. I’m actually surprising myself by loving the whitewashed look. It gives a sort of country house feel but not overwhelmingly so, and then the black countertop and silver/green/gray/whatever paint pull it together to keep it retro. You’re right about the big squares — they give it a commercial kitchen vibe, which is weird.

  2. I agree with you that the larger square might be a bit too much. The 9×9 looks cool. That is my fave. :)
    I love the whitewashed look, but to me it is very beachy Nantucket-esque. Totally different from the retro squares!
    The gray/green paint looks great!

  3. My grandparents’ kitchen had what was probably 8×8 checkerboard. But scale comes into it — if you had a big room, the smaller pattern would be too busy spread across the whole thing.

  4. One look that I’ve been seeing lately in Cottage Living and other publications is a wood floor painted with a checkerboard pattern. I haven’t worked up the bravery to look under my kitchen’s cheap-o vinyl, but my hope is that there’s a slightly battered wood floor that I can paint. It could be a nice middle ground between the whitewashed look and the strong black and white checkerboard. And, of course, you could pick your own size.

    They have instructions on their website:,00.html

    Some more good pictures:,00.html

    I’m going to pretend I didn’t see the last post about the Penney’s furniture on clearance. Nope, sure didn’t. No great deals that would look perfect in my house…

  5. If you think you’d like the soft feel underfoot of vinyl, would consider Marmoleum or Marmorette? They are much more environmentally friendly than vinyl (linseed oil and sawdust composite linoleum) and more durable too. Marmoleum is often called a “40 year floor” because it will last forever. It doesn’t show scratches and tears the way vinyl will because the color goes all the way through. And one day, when it gets removed, it will biodegrade, which vinyl will not. The big downside though is the cost.

    Marmoleum is available in sheets and tiles and a hard-backed large tile called “Marmoleum Click.” The Click tiles are too large for what you have planned and the basic tiles are 20×20 squares, but Marmoleum is soft, so maybe you could cut each 20 x 20 square into four 10 x 10 squares if you don’t have a ton of square footage to cover?


  6. Wow, your kitchen looks a LOT like mine! I’m not sure what your cabinets started as, but mine were brown, and we painted them off white. (I’m guessing yours were brown, too, from looking at the side where your appliance used to be.)

    My counters were almond laminate, and now they’re Hi-Macs in the color ‘black granite’ (LOVE, LOVE).

    I ‘had’ vinyl that looks identical to what you have now, but just today, the new Asian Black tile went in. (the grout is still drying, as I type this…)

    My walls used to be yellow, but now they’re Linen color by Restoration Hardware. It’s a hue similar to your silver crest, but in the ‘cool tan’ family.

    But back to your floors…I dunno about laminate…it’s easier on the feet than tile, but laminate makes a weird ‘clackity clack’ sound if it’s not done JUST right.

    By week’s end, I’ll post bef/aft pics of my kitchen.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  7. Thank you guys so much for your advice!!
    I picked a washed laminate… which I’m going to post about in a minute.

    @jamaila, you hit the nail on the head, “commercial” was the adjective it felt like but I couldn’t name.

    @dulcie 9×9 was is definitely the right scale!unfortunately its only available by one company and its vinyl which I’m liking less and less. Plus its a really pure black and white..which I’m told means scuffing on the white and dust and prints on the black.

    @Gene, your absolutely right, the scale is so important! Which is why I find it hard to believe companies basically have one size and leave it at that.

    @Ellen – I’m with you there completely! I had originally wanted to rip up all the layers on the existing floor and refinish the old floors in the kitchen. In which case hand-painted would be perfect. Unfortunately It took us an hour and a skill saw just to get down to one little patch – and its an inch down from the surrounding floors! So unless we wanted a sunken kitchen… plus the skill saw wouldn’t get in the corners and under the cabinets :( P.S. sorry about the Penney post!

    @ Stephanie – Yes! I did look in marmoleum.. I love the idea of it. Unfortunately they don’t have anything close to a pure white which is why I didn’t consider it further.

    @ Wabi – Yep, the kitchen cabs were DARK brown. ICK! I can’t wait to check out your after pics. I hope the laminate isn’t too clackity… cause we’re installing it ourselves which pretty much precludes it being done just right :)

  8. […] so much for all of your wonderful responses to my Kitchen Floor Conundrum post of yesterday morning!  Here’s an update.. […]

  9. Ariana –

    Since you’re doing it yourself, be sure to check with Home Depot or Lowes about the best backing to put underneath the laminate. The difference between them is like night and day – in terms of clackity noise.

    The first time I had laminate put in, I got the cheapest Home Depot had. Big mistake. TRUST ME. After 6 months, I had it torn out and replaced with hardwood – I simply couldn’t stand the sound. (fortunately, it was a small room)

    I’ll post pics of my kitch soon. (I can’t get in there right now since the floors aren’t completely done yet)

  10. I wanted to clarify: I got the cheapest ‘backing’ they had, and that’s what made the noise worse.

    (Have you looked at engineered hardwood? Sometimes it can be cheaper than laminate)

  11. Hi. I have 9×9 black and white vinyl tiles and love them, but they have been there a long time (I’ve had the house 28 years, and I believe the previous owner put them down), and need replacement. SO, which company did you find that makes 9×9 black and white vinyl tiles? Thanks for the info.

  12. Hi John,
    The 9×9 pattern was from mannington:

    Funny, I ordered a sample of it back when I posted this and got it only the day before yesterday.. It seemed a little too plastic or something…But is so hard to tell from one little sample how it would look on a whole floor. I hope you finds something great!

  13. We struggled with the exact same issues when we were choosing our kitchen floor. We knew we wanted the checkerboard look, but I thought pure black and white was “too retro”, especially since we have black and white countertops. We ended up getting the Marmoleum in an off-white (Barbados) and orangy-yellowy color (Van Gogh). We went with the 12″x12″ Click tiles. The floor ended up being my favorite part of the kitchen! Check out my blog for some pics.

  14. […] checkered Con-Tact paper that I ordered on amazon (couldn’t find it locally.)  I got my black and white checks in the kitchen after all!  :) Tags: before and after, cabinets, contact paper, drawers, kitchen, […]

Leave a Reply