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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Rug illustration. - Photo by Kirk Montgomery

My wife and I are expecting our first child in the spring and, in planning the nursery, are wondering what our options are when it comes to creating a child-friendly floor.

"There are several different choices available and it all comes down to personal preference," says Rachel Hall, a sales and design consultant with C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery in Little Rock.

"First, there's carpet," she says. "The pro with that one is that it's soft and warm, while the con is that it stains easier and, while it can be steam-cleaned, the pad underneath it may hold onto odors."

"Hardwood is long-lasting, easy-to-clean, always brings value to a home and most of the pre-finished ones are very durable," Hall says. "But the disadvantage is that it can be a cold, hard, surface and you can't put a wet mop on it." Hardwood flooring can also be scratched and may need refinishing.

Meanwhile, bamboo is strong and less expensive than hardwood, but it's easily scratched.

"Cork is a great option and has a lot of pros -- you can wet mop it, it holds up well, and it's softer than hardwood," Hall explains. "But people aren't huge fans of the look of it."

"Luxury vinyl tiles or LVTs have become very popular and taken over the laminates market," Hall says. "It's awesome because you can put a wet mop on it and you won't ruin it. It's durable and waterproof. The con, though, is that it's a hard, cold surface."

For nurseries that don't have carpet, an area rug is worth considering, she says.

"It can be educational, a nice long plush one that is soft and warm and can offer comfortable play space on the floor," she says.

Area rugs provide a soft area to relax, read or play. Variations in texture, color, shape and themes encourage fun and learning. Some decorative and educational options are designed with numbers, a clock face or illustrations about weather and the seasons.

Material options include wool, which is easy to clean but can shed; cotton, which is inexpensive, easy to wash and soft but tends to attract dirt, and synthetics, which are durable, inexpensive, easy to clean and retain their color but can lack a natural feel.

Most importantly, parents should always remember to use a nonslip pad underneath a rug on smooth floor surfaces.

"Small area rugs are a fall hazard for the very young and the elderly," says Dr. Mary Aitken, medical director of the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

"If you do use a small rug, it's important to also have a nonslip pad underneath. I would also recommend a lower pile rug both for hygiene and for beginner walkers to negotiate.

"Regardless of the type of flooring used, there is no substitute for parental supervision and removing fall hazards," Aitken says. "Furniture tip-overs and unsafe sleeping environments cause most injuries in the nursery," she adds.

-- Linda S. Haymes

Do you have a decorating or remodeling question? We'll get you an answer from an authority. Send your question to Linda S. Haymes, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203 or email:

[email protected]

HomeStyle on 02/06/2016

Print Headline: Ask the Expert

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