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Classy flooring on the cheap

Flooring is one of those big outlays that often eats into (or simply swallows whole) the budget you have for doing up a place.

Coloured parquet, another of the innovative new floorings mentioned on the Floorcrunch blog (see below)
So I was very excited to find a couple of really clever and creative – but simple and affordable – alternatives at the Floorcrunch blog, edited by flooring enthusiast Richard McKay, of McKay Flooring in Scotland. I wrote about the topic in my Insider column in the Independent on Sunday magazine last week, but there wasn't space to show off these inspiring images of what Richard is on about on his blog.

So first up, check out the super cool paper flooring (above). The people who did this in their bathroom are clearly artsy types as they printed their own bespoke paper before sealing with PVA at as described on the blog. However, you could use any kind of paper – wallpaper, decoupage, lining paper, the Financial Times stocks and shares pages, squares of patterned craft paper used as tiles... If you try it yourself, or already have something similar in your home, do send me some snaps as I'd love to see some other ways of doing it in action. I think it looks brilliant, do you?

Next up (above) is my personal favourite, for its sheer simplicity, absolute affordability and minimalist Japanese graphic designer-esqe cool. What's this smooth, pale wooden floor made from? Prepare to be surprised: it's plywood. It needs to be cut into the right size strips (broad planks) but you can request this at the timber yard. It also needs to be sanded heartily, which – if you've ever been there, you'll know is a bastard of a job. But with two pairs of hands to share the load and very solid facemasks (that sawdust will play havoc with your lungs) it's a satisfying job, and easier than sanding old floorboards full of sandpaper-ripping nails and odd boards to even out. Then you need to laquer it with several coats for a final splinter-sweep. I think it'd be worth the effort, and certainly a fraction of the price of a brand new, or even reclaimed wooden floor.

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