6 Traditional and Modern Living Room Floor Ideas

The Best Living Room Flooring Options for 2023/2024

We asked our Home Flooring Pros for their favorite traditional and modern flooring ideas for the living room, and the results are in:

Favorite traditional living room flooring options: Carpet | Hardwood | Tile

Favorite modern living room flooring options: Vinyl | Concrete | Marble

Last Updated: August 18, 2023, by: Jamie Sandford

In this Home Flooring Pros flooring report, we’re going to take a deep dive into the pros and cons of the most popular flooring ideas for a living room and some of the less conventional choices too. Our Home Flooring Pros give their experience with different materials to help you find the type of living room/family room flooring best suited to your budget, lifestyle and interior design style.

Grey stone look living room tile

According to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, when we’re awake, the majority of our time is spent in the living room or family room. It’s true that a kitchen or bathroom remodel is a more popular home improvement project but given the amount of time we spend in the living room it’s really important that we choose the best living room flooring at the right price.


There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to living room flooring. Oftentimes it makes sense to stick with the tried and tested fmaily flooring options that have always worked so well in living rooms across the country. And don’t mistake “traditional” for “old fashioned”, all three of our conventional living room flooring options offer the most up-to-date and cutting edge design possibilities if you want to really dazzle.


Light, taupe textured living room carpet

Wall-to-wall carpeting traditionally tops the popularity charts for living room flooring. Our living rooms and family rooms are where we relax and typically leave our shoes outside, making carpet a more practical flooring type than in other high-traffic areas of the house, not to mention the added comfort of walking barefoot on carpet.

  • Cost to Install:  Cost plays a big role in carpets’ popularity. Labor costs to install carpet can be as low as $.50 to $1 per sq/ft leaving you free to spend as much or as little as you want on your actual carpet. While most household pay between $3.50 to $6.00 per square foot of carpet installed, it’s worth noting that high-end wool carpet can be as expensive, anywhere between $6 and $20 per sq.ft., before installation.
  • Design Ideas: Keep carpet colors simple and classic, warm and calm colors are best. Off-white and light neutral colors also have the added benefit of making your living room feel brighter and more spacious. A nylon textured or plush carpet is a great choice for a busy/family household. For quality and luxury, wool carpets can’t be beat.
  • Reasonably priced
  • Warm and comfortable feel
  • Quieter
  • Easy installation
  • Not as long-lasting as other materials
  • More care and maintenance required
  • Holds dust, dirt and allergens


Glossy, light natural hardwood living room flooring

Hardwood flooring is certainly the smart and aspirational living room choice if you can afford the upfront costs. Hardwood flooring is timeless, which is just as well because it will last over 50 years, making it a great investment. And wood also brings warmth to a living room, both in its feel and appearance.

  • Long-term investment
  • Always in style
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • More expensive to buy and install
  • Avoid liquid spills
  • Prone to scratches
  • Noisy


Grey herringbone tile pattern in modern living room

Tile flooring is a great low maintenance, water-resistant flooring, with a wealth of colors, shapes and patterns that can really bring your living room decor to life.

If you have a tiled kitchen that transitions into your family living room, then decorating a living room with tile makes a lot of sense. Tile flooring is really tough, easy-to-maintain, and resistant to spills, stains, and dirt.

Tile really isn’t a good choice in a cold climate unless you also have underfloor heating, in which case it is a great choice!

  • Cost to Install: Tile flooring itself can be as cheap or as expensive as you like, most households spend between $2 to $6 per square foot. Professional installation is higher than other flooring types, with costs averaging $4 to $6 per square foot.
  • Design Ideas: In terms of style, there are some great wood-look tile options, while travertine and other natural stone tiles are very popular for an upmarket look. Again, we think bright and fresh colors work the best.
  • Durable.
  • Versatile with many styles
  • Easy to clean and repair.
  • Cold without radiant heat
  • Hard and less comfortable
  • Expensive to install


You can’t go wrong with carpet, hardwood or tile in your living room and all three can be used to create both modern and traditional looks and styles. But for those looking for alternatives, or something really modern, then take a look at these three unconventional flooring materials that will bring a contemporary twist to your living room floors.


Whitewashed vinyl plank living room flooring

Vinyl flooring for a living room, in the form of luxury vinyl planks, is a great lower cost alternative to hardwood. You have a similar wood look, which includes all the different color and style variations, but at a much smaller price point.

Vinyl might not spring to mind as an obvious choice for your family room, but we think the quality of the top brands is so good that they’re worth your consideration, especially if you’re working to a tight budget. Of course, vinyl won’t have the same durable lifespan as hardwood, but it is resilient and easy to clean making it a good living room option for bigger families with young children and pets.

It’s a warm and soft flooring underfoot and can be installed over radiant floor heating (check the manufactures guidelines for confirmation).

Don’t discount vinyl sheet flooring either, there are a few companies offering trendy and retro vinyl flooring patterns that will give your living room a very contemporary feel. Take a look at Harvey Maria and For The Floor and More.

  • Cost to Install: LVP prices can start for as little as $1.40 per sq/ft, but for a high quality, EVP rigid core plank or tile you’re more likely to pay between $2.50 and $5 per sq/ft. Take a look at our EVP flooring report for more details. Typically professional installation costs between $1.50 to $4.50 per sq/ft.
  • Design Ideas: Your living room should be as inviting and relaxing as possible, so the higher quality and more luxurious the vinyl plank the better. The current trend in wood flooring is for light and neutral colors, wide planks and natural oak grain patterns so find the vinyl plank equivalent.
  • On trend and multiple brands
  • Budget friendly
  • Easy to clean
  • Cheap to Install
  • Hard to repair
  • Shorter lifespan
  • Low ROI for home resale
  • Not green or easy to recycle


Grey polished concrete in airy living room

Cheaper than hardwood or stone, easy to clean and maintain, and with more finish options than you may realize, we think residential concrete flooring is a great choice for a modern living room in a contemporary home or apartment.

This is a practical modern living room flooring idea if your subfloors are already made from concrete slabs, so a popular flooring in new homes. Consider installing radiant underfloor heating with your concrete to offset the cold.

Concrete floors aren’t a DIY project, we recommend professional installation and sealing which will give you a watertight and very long lasting, lifetime floor.

  • Cost to Install: Pricing concrete installation comes in two parts, the cost of pouring the concrete and the cost to finish it (polishing/staining/cutting etc). We consulted Concrete Network who estimate a baseline cost of between $2 and $12 per square foot for a concrete floor with a basic finish. This is in line with our cost estimate for polished concrete, which is $12-$17 per sq/ft for concrete pouring and polishing combined.
  • Design Ideas: There’s more to concrete that just the industrial interior design look. While concrete has a cool and sleek aesthetic it comes to life when paired with organic colors and materials like wood furniture, leather sofas, and sisal carpets or rugs. Simple polished concrete is our preference but stained concrete or decorative concrete cuts and patterns are also very cool.
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Modern aesthetic
  • Easy to maintain
  • Value for money
  • Hard underfoot
  • Cold underfoot (without radiant heat)
  • Prone to cracks and moisture


High shine pink marble living room floor

If you want the luxury style and elegance of marble flooring in your living room then you will need the luxury home or apartment to go with it. Marble is an expensive, statement floor for sure and not practical for everyone.

For those of us who can afford this premium flooring there is a lot to like about marble flooring vs any other type of natural stone flooring. There’s no need to go on about the beauty of marble, it speaks for itself, but our pros were unanimous that there’s nothing quite as striking as the light and colors that radiate from a highly polished marble tile floor.

Remember that the cost of buying and installing marble isn’t your only expense. Maintenance and upkeep is straightforward, but marble is porous and will need sealing on an annual basis.

  • Cost to Install: Marble tiles start at $5 per square foot and rocket as high as $40 per sq/ft depending on quality and rarity of materials. You should add a further $6 to $9 per square foot for labor installation costs. It’s easy to see that most households end up spending $15 to $25 per sq/ft for marble tile installation.
  • Design Ideas: Every piece of marble is unique, with its own color hues and vein patterns. If you’ve gone to the expense of installing marble then let your living room design compliment this amazing floor and keep other furnishings and furniture fairly minimalist. Marble tiles come in varied shapes and sizes so consider a mosaic effect to really make the most of this architectural material.
  • Luxury flooring
  • 100% natural
  • Fairly easy to clean and shine
  • Adds resale value to your home
  • Premium floor with premium price tag
  • Annual surface sealing advised
  • Specialist installation required
  • Not pet friendly


The top priorities for a new or replacement living room floor fall into three categories which are cost, comfort and style. Let’s discuss each briefly and narrow down the best flooring for living rooms from the choices we’ve already discussed.


The cheapest flooring option for a living room, and one of the most popular, is carpet. The average size of a living room is around 350 sq.ft. and the average price range to buy and install carpet in a living room of this size will be between $1,400 and $2,400, depending on the quality of the carpet.

The another popular living room flooring option is hardwood, but your initial outlay will be much higher with the average cost to install wood flooring in a 350 sq.ft living room ranging between $4,900 and $11,200, again, depending on your choice of hardwood. So why are we discussing hardwood as a cheap flooring idea?

One cost consideration before you decide to go with living room carpet is long-term value for money and your return on investment. Hardwood is far more durable, lasting the lifetime of your home, whereas carpet will need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years. And if you decide to sell your home, hardwood floors make your property a more attractive proposition.


Given that we spend so much time in our living or family room, comfort is a number one priority, and the right floor goes a long way to providing long-lasting relaxation and comfort. To make the best decision for comfort, we should consider your local climate.

Cold Climates: If it’s fairly cold all year round its hard to beat a thick carpet for a living room. Buy a quality carpet with a deep, soft pile and install insulated underlay for extra warmth. Avoid ceramic tile, unless you have radiant floor heating. Use warm area rugs over other flooring types.

Hot Climates: For all-year warm climates, flip the advice and choose tile or hardwood. Maybe lay an area rug if you or the kids want to sit on the family room floor. Avoid carpet and consider vinyl flooring if you need something cheaper than wood or tile.

Seasonal Climates: If you can afford hardwood, then it’s a great living room floor choice for seasonal climes. Install underfloor heating beneath engineered wood for extra winter warmth or make do with area rugs. Either way, hardwood works well in all seasons.

Related Reading: Area Rug Cleaning Costs

Living room design trends change from year to year, but some fundamental preferences stay pretty constant and can help us with our choice of flooring. For some time now, the trend has been towards modern living room decor, with rich and warm natural colors. Often homeowners bring some bold color into a room in the form of an accent wall or some colorful sofa or other furniture.

Living room flooring is typically chosen to compliment these styles which leads to many homeowners choosing muted floor colors in light and dark grays, beige, and cream for carpets, or sometimes dark wood floors to complement a light and airy space.

Here are some further trusted sources for living room trend ideas:

Ideal Home | Homes & Garden | Better Homes & Gardens | Good Housekeeping



Typically the best color for a living room floor is a muted warm tone that complements the rest of your decor. Sometimes though, dark floors in the living room work well if you want to make a bold design statement.


Pets think carpet is the best flooring for your living room, its certainly the most comfortable. However, homeowners might not share that view, as cleaning pet hair out of carpet isn’t much fun.


Hard surfaces are the best living room floor option for kids as they are easy to clean and are less likely to harbor allergens. Hardwood, laminate, and vinyl are all good choices for a busy family with kids.


Hardwood and carpet continue to be the hottest living room flooring trends. They are both warm, and stylish and offer value for money. Which one you choose will depend on your lifestyle. Hardwood is more durable than carpet.


Hardwood is our favorite durable living room flooring of choice but ceramic or porcelain tile is the most resilient flooring if it suits your lifestyle. If you live in a generally cold climate choose hardwood over tile.

About the Author: Jamie Sandford

Jamie Sandford, Chief Editor, Lead Writer and Reviewer at Home Flooring ProsJamie Sandford is the Owner and Chief Editor of Home Flooring Pros (find out more). After 12 years’ experience in screen and stage set construction, followed by a further 15 years working in the home renovation/remodeling business, he now writes and curates online home improvement advice.

“Buying and installing home flooring should be a fairly straightforward process, but often it isn’t. After more than 15 years experience in home flooring and remodeling, I started Home Flooring Pros in 2013 to help homeowners navigate the often-over complicated process of choosing, buying and installing a home floor. The aim is to save you time and money by helping you to make better floor buying decisions.”

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