Whether planning a major renovation or a minor upgrade, new flooring is often on the to-do list. If you’re feeling creative or just want to do something different to personalize your home, there are many options for flooring alternatives. Let’s take a look at some flooring ideas that aren’t the usual linoleum or hardwood choices.

Bamboo is One of the Eco-Friendly Flooring Alternatives

Bamboo is a fast-growing grass that makes a beautiful and durable flooring material. Since it grows to maturity in 3 to 5 years, bamboo is touted as an eco-friendly alternative to wood flooring. Because it is a grass, bamboo is susceptible to damage from water. Too much moisture can cause warping, discoloration, and mold growth.

This type of flooring is available in many shades that mimic the colors of traditional wood flooring, but with a look that is unique to bamboo and at a less expensive price.

Painted Plywood

If you’re on a budget or just looking for an inexpensive DIY flooring option, painting the plywood sub-flooring is a project you can tackle yourself. Use wood putty to fill in any holes or gaps and then sand the plywood. Clean the area, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to remove the dust. Next, you’ll apply a coat of primer. After the primer is dry, use a porch and floor enamel paint to cover the area.

Plywood flooring can be stenciled with unique designs to personalize it even further. For a children’s playroom, paint the floor with chalkboard paint to make a fun surface for drawing.

Artificial Grass Flooring is a Fun Alternative

Astroturf, or artificial grass, can be installed indoors in much the same way as carpeting. This material is durable and easy to clean and has been gaining in popularity in recent years. You’ll only need to vacuum the dirt away or use soapy water to remove stains. Artificial grass is a fun alternative in a play area, game room, or home gym.

It won’t be damaged by spills or water, so it’s also great for bathroom installation. Plus, artificial turf is UV resistant; the color won’t fade with exposure to sunlight. Consider using artificial grass on a porch or outdoor patio to liven up the space.


Cork flooring is an eco-friendly alternative to hardwoods. Cork is sustainably harvested from live trees that continue to grow and produce more material. It naturally repels mice and insects and is a great insulator, damping sound and saving the homeowner on heating and cooling costs. The softness of cork makes it a great flooring option for children’s play areas and the homes of elderly family members.

Cork is an excellent option for the DIYer because it is easy to install. One of the drawbacks is that cork fades in direct sunlight. Because it is a softer material, heavy furniture may leave divots in your cork flooring. It is also easily damaged by pets if their claws aren’t trimmed frequently.

Repurposed Materials for Flooring Alternatives

For the creative homeowner who prefers DIY projects, here are a few options for other types of alternative flooring.

  • Pennies can be installed similarly to flooring tiles. Use adhesive to attach them to the floor and then grout in between the coins.
  • Carpet tiles, often made from remnants, are a cozy and economical option for flooring. Tiles can be easily affixed to the subfloor with adhesive.
  • Upcycle the wood from pallets and install the boards to the sub-flooring. You’ll need to sand the material well to smooth the surface before staining and sealing your new floor.

If you’re a homeowner who is looking for alternatives to standard flooring, explore your options. With a little bit of time and creativity, you can create spaces in your home that are unique, attractive, and functional.

Vital Home Inspections offers home inspections to customers in Southeastern Wisconsin. Contact us to request our services.