SA: Essentials: Floors
Choose a low-maintenance surface that combines style and durability, such as terra cotta (shown at left), limestone, or wide-plank wood. Once again, take cues from the kitchen's relationship to the house and landscape. "I sometimes use an exterior flooring material in the kitchen, particularly if it lies directly off a terrace. Random bluestone in brown/green tones works well," says Pursley. "The kitchen begins to feel more akin to the garden than the house." Here are our favorite flooring materials:
• Porcelain tile: It looks great in spare, modern kitchens.
• Stone: We recommend limestone or granite.
• Terra-cotta: It feels old-world.
• Wide-plank wood floors: The clear winner among our experts -- it's timeless, marries well with other types of flooring, and adds the look of age.