Thursday, January 17, 2019

Flooring Options For Home: Pros and Cons of using Stone, Marble, Granite, Tiles, Wooden Flooring and more

I recently received a question from one of the readers of this blog on flooring options and recommendations and realised that this is a subject that I have not dwelled upon in my posts…so here goes
Flooring options literally can floor home makers (pun intended) with the breadth and depth of choices available, however if one looks closely, the different options can be classified under the following 4 categories
  1. Tiles – These can be Vitrified or Ceramic 
  2. Stone – This can be Marble (Italian/ Indian or from anywhere else), Granite, Engineered or Artificial Stone 
  3. Wooden: Laminate floors to engineered wood and pure hardwood will come under this head 
  4. Other Exotic types: Mosaic, Red Oxide, Vinyl and specialty flooring (Safety Floors/ Sports Surfaces etc.) 

Let’s now go through each in details and discuss the pros and cons

1. Vitrified Tiles: 

Nowadays this is really the big daddy when it comes to flooring. Vitrified keeps adding new finishes each season. Just to give you an idea, you get vitrified tiles in finishes such as Terracotta, Stone, Granite, Marble, Wood, Stacking Stone, Bamboo, Glass, 3D and more…and as I said this list grows every 3 months. In addition, tiles of size 8 by 4 feet have recently been introduced. With these there is little difference that an untrained eye can make between real stone/ marble & tile.

The only thing where Vitrified tiles don’t score well is 1) Bragging Rights – what that means is that vitrified tiles are not cool. In a ‘mine is bigger than yours” debate vitrified will be outright defeated and downed by Natural Stone, Italian Marble and the likes. That’s why while you will find many builder advertisements emphasising that they have used Italian marble flooring, you will find no advertising going gaga over Vitrified Tiling. Secondly vitrified tiling by nature is HARD, hence if you are looking to do kids’/ toddler rooms or play areas then wooden or vinyl may be better options. 

The use of Ceramic tiles has considerably reduced since the onslaught of Vitrified. One of the main reasons for it is the fact that they are difficult to maintain and gather dust and muck easily. While ceramic tiles are great for rustic and vintage type looks, you get better options for the same in vitrified tiles. Hand made and made to order designs in ceramic tiles however are in vogue in high end homes nowadays. While these are expensive, they help give your home have a one of a kind look.

2. Stone: 

As mentioned above, natural stone has the maximum bragging value. And the more the distance between the Indian border and the place where the stone has been imported from, the more the bragging value. Hence Italian Marble retain its title as the favourite. It may also be so because of the many shades and colours in which Italian marble is available. On the other hand, Granite, which is considered cool (and expensive) in the west is seen a notch below Italian Marble here in India. I’m sure it is my theory on the “the bragging value being directly proportional to the distance of import” at work here.

Whatever be the case, stone does give that solid “well made” feel to the home. Personally, I do think that this is not just due to how it looks but how stone “feels” under the bare foot – psychologically it’s like walking in a place of worship or somewhere pristine.

While Granite is a great choice, it comes in limited colours. There is imported granite being sold nowadays that adds to the colour choices but that too is fairly limited and definitely not as extensive as what you get in Italian marble. It is due to this colour limitation that Engineered or Artificial stone is starting to find favour with customers. Engineered stone is available from AGL, Kalinga, Johnson and some others here in Bangalore. Engineered stone offers higher colour choices and a price point that is lower than imported marble. In terms of durability, ease of laying and life it is similar to natural stone, however you cannot say that for its psychological effect and bragging value.

3. Wooden Flooring: 

This is one market that is booming today and nearly everyone wants to have some space in their home done with a wooden flooring. Wood by its nature brings a feeling of warmth and comfort to a space. However, it is important to merge wooden flooring with the theme of the particular room where wooden flooring is being used else the space may feel unbalanced. As an example, see the image below where we used rope partitions to create the theme (natural & woody) of the room along with the wooden flooring. 

In wood, there is immense choice when it comes to finishes, colour and price. While pure wood flooring costs the highest, laminated MDF floors are the cheapest. The bragging value theorem again works here with wooden flooring imported from China considered cheaper than its counterpart from Europe. In real both are made in China J but are different in quality and sold at separate price points and to different audiences (Budget or Luxury).

I have found wooden flooring great to partition spaces. Using a patch of a wooden floor in a large room instead of vertical partition retains the “space-ness” of the room that otherwise would have looked cramped due to the vertical partition. An example of this would be having a small family area or a toddler crawling area done up with a wooden floor within a large living room that has a vitrified floor.

The other good thing about wooden floors is that they can be laid on top of the existing floor, something that is not possible in stone & vitrified tiles (though nowadays there are ways to stick tiles on top of tiles, there still are some limitations – but that is a separate topic of discussion)

4. Other Exotic Flooring: 

Had we been writing this article 30 years back no one would have imagined Red Oxide or Mosaic flooring mentioned under Exotic floors. Even floors in villages used to have red oxide floors those days & most city homes were done with mosaic flooring. I still vividly remember the effort it used to take to just get the undulations and the slope right in laying mosaic floors. Like all good things both Red Oxide and Mosaic have made a dramatic come-back in a much refined and exclusive avatar – reminds one of the wars between Dabur Lal Dant Manjan and Colgate tooth powder and how Colgate killed the Aurvedic tooth powder competitors with superior advertising. Fast forward to now & Colgate itself advertises the advantages of its Swarna Vedashakti toothpaste.

Coming back to the floor – both Mosaic and Red Oxide are heavyweights and NEED the theme of the home to be created in a way that it is in synergy and does not clash with the floor. Such floors go well in a villa or outhouse and are not recommended for apartments unless it is above 3000 square feet at a min.

In the "Other" category you also have vinyl floors which, while being popular in commercial spaces, find specialty applications in the residential segment. For example, if you are looking to make a bathroom safe for the elderly then vinyl can be a good option. Or, if you have a dedicated entertainment room, dance room or a media room then vinyl will be a good option as it is soft and provides good sound insulation.

Ok that does it for the floors. As always if you have a question then do feel free to write in. Also, if there is another topic that you feel I have missed on my blog then do let me know and I will make my best effort to pen something down to the best of my knowledge.

Signing off


Thursday, December 20, 2018

Interior Design Masterclass on Home Lighting & Automation

We are all set to host our second Residential Interior Design Masterclass - this one will be on Home Lighting and Automation. See additional details below and if you are interested in attending then please register asap as we have capacity to host not more than 10 families. Do help spread the word as well by sharing this post so that others  making their homes may benefit from this workshop.



Masterclass Details:

Our second Masterclass on Residential Interior Design Best Practices will cover Home Lighting and Automation. With a select audience of home-makers we will go through

1. Mood based Lighting - How lighting affects moods and illuminance
2. Types of lighting & importance of layering of lighting
3. How to make arrangement for lighting during the construction phase
4. Types of light fittings and which to use where
5. Actual hands on demo of Home Automation and what it can do for your home

The audience is restricted to folks planning to do up their own homes. Design students and interior design professionals may please not register.

To Register click here :

Note that each registration would allow entry to a couple.

About the Presenter:

Nandita Manwani is among the most respected Interior Designers in Bangalore and is the founder of The Studio by Nandita Manwani ( - a design & interior-works company focused exclusively on Residential Interiors. She is also the author of the most read blog on home interiors in the country (refer

Nandita is a regular guest columnist with Deccan Herald & her work has featured across various national and international print & digital media. She was recently ranked among the top women interior designers in Bangalore and as one of the top upcoming interior designers in India.

Over the last decade helping people realize their dream called home has been her passion, much more than just a profession.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

"The Google of Home Designing" - First ever Masterclass on Best Practices in Residential Interior Design in Bangalore

Finally did it!!! yoo hooo. This Nov the 17th our objective was to go beyond the written word on this blog and do an actual show and tell of Residential Interior Design Best Practices in front of home makers at our experience centre. We spent a month collecting & preparing samples of material, paintwork, finishes etc. On top of that the experience center is wired to customize lighting based on different moods, moments and times of the day to showcase the importance of lighting in interior design – we put all this together and more as part of the Masterclass to some raving reviews from the audience … here is one

Your session provided important insights into various aspects of interior designing like the right material to choose for woodwork, different types of lighting, painting process, common mistakes, key design elements to take care for "second childhood friendliness", wardrobe channels and so on. You are indeed the Google of Home Designing”.

The Google of home design…hee – I really liked that one!!

Ok...what we DID NOT do during those 2 hours, which actually extended to 3, was that we forgot to take any pictures L. What I can share though are some pictures of the samples and props that we used at the Masterclass … here they are.

Different types of wood & how to choose the best one based on application.

Different finishes for woodwork

How to choose colour for your walls from the 1000's available

Wood finishing options

Choosing the right countertop based on application and use

Edge management of wooden panels

Tools & techniques to make your home second childhood friendly

Painting best practices - How many base coats and finish coats are needed to get the right finish

We plan to continue the face to face conversation with the next masterclass being planned some time this January – the dates and the registration link will be out soon. This time the plan is to focus on Home Lighting & Automation and we are looking to get some of the most innovative folks in the field of home automation to physically demonstrate live in front of the audience what automation is capable of … so watch this space.

Signing off