Want something other than carpet, wood, ceramic. Tile or laminate? There are plenty of other materials out there though you may not be aware of them.

Cork is one. Back in the 1960’s cork was a popular flooring material, especially in finished basements that had, what was called back then, a rumpus room. Well, Cork is coming back and it’s a better product today. Cork offers a unique combination of sound and thermal insulation together with its soft, flexible feel underfoot, and if you want an unusual pattern in a color or texture you cannot find in any other material, a cork floor could be the right choice. Since cork is more of a specialty product, shopping for it may require a trip to an independent flooring retailer who specializes in higher-end designer products.

Something else that’s showing up on floors inside the house is concrete. Poured concrete can be polished, brushed and sandblasted to replicate various tiles and natural stones. It can also be colored and stamped--with the stamping used to create patterns that look as though different tile shapes have been combined. If you want a decorative concrete floor, you will probably have to call a contractor who does exterior patios.

The best thing to do is visit your local flooring retailer. There is a myriad of flooring choices you may not even know exist. How about a leather floor? Really! The possibilities are endless as well as the designs and colors and styles and textures. And there is something for everyone’s budget.

When you go to your neighborhood flooring retailer, you get a level of expertise not found in the big box stores, you also can get free design consultations and advise. In fact, they will let you take samples home for you to see in the rooms you are renovating with the light during different times of the day.