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Similar colors, patterns separate spaces


Q: My large kitchen, which includes a breakfast area, adjoins a heavily trafficked mud room. It's time to replace the nondescript linoleum that covers the floor in all three spaces. Should the new flooring be in the same color and material in each of these areas?

A: In this kind of situation, I personally would try to keep the colors, patterns and material more or less the same. This is especially preferable when all the adjoining areas can be seen simultaneously or when they are not separated by thresholds. At the same time, you should be aware of some of the many ways of establishing balance and continuity without creating vast areas of uniform appearance.

The photo shows a space similar to the one you describe. Here, the material for the flooring is the same in each of the three areas. Along with the aesthetic considerations, there are some practical reasons for taking this approach. The use of different materials would probably entail variations in thickness and application techniques from room to room. And that can produce dangerously uneven floor surfaces as well as maintenance problems.

But just because the material is uniform throughout, the flooring doesn't have to be identical in each space. In fact, some subtle variations in pattern and color may help delineate the different functional areas while still producing a coordinated look.

In the model seen here, designer Melanie Taylor of New Haven, Conn., achieved precisely that outcome by varying the colors and pattern sizes of Armstrong's vinyl component tiles. This technique has the added benefit of visually reducing the largest of the three spaces to a scale more in harmony with the other two areas. That trick will work, by the way, only if the floor colors remain in the same palette.

The general color scheme for all three areas was chosen to blend with the medium-toned wood cabinetry, the mill work and the crown moldings. Notice, too, how the variations in pattern on the floor help to distinguish the central work area from the eating alcove, while both those spaces are in turn demarcated from the mud room. But the flooring's basic design -- gray and white diamonds framed with gold borders and black accents -- is repeated in each of the spaces. That ensures the unity of a setting whose parts are in fact physically linked. The overall effect is like a wood floor with strategically placed area rugs of similar color and style.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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