Three fun flooring options that don’t cost a million dollars

Lonnie and I are currently in the process of driving our car into the ground. Our Buick needs a new transmission, which would cost more than the car is worth. Poor Lonnie will keep driving it until it dies, and hopefully that won’t happen in the middle of a busy road.

So we have been car shopping lately, and it didn’t start out very fun. Lonnie will drive this car because, ahem, I’m the lucky driver of the van, so I would like him to like the car we get. But for several weeks, he just said, “I don’t know,” when I asked what he would like.

Listen, if you’re going to have to buy a car, you might as well get something fun, right? No need to settle! And if you’re going to choose flooring, you might as well have some fun there too. I think far too often, we assume “cute” things will cost lots more, so we search out inexpensive options and end up with something we don’t love or something that is readily available because it’s trendy (which means it will be dated in three, two, one … now).

Let’s stop the madness. Here are a few flooring options that are not expensive and lend themselves to customization. Choose one of these to add personality to your space and bring a smile to your face on the daily:

Hex tile

Tile in our powder room

Hexagon tiles are classic, so they will never go out of style. They are perfect for bathrooms and laundry rooms, and they can work in a kitchen too, especially in a larger tile size:

via from Joss & Main

My sister’s kitchen with two-inch hex

If you want to stick to the standard one-inch size, add style with customized patterns, like these:





Yes, you will likely pay more for labor with special patterns, but not much. It’s worth it for a totally unique look.

Penny tile

This is hex tile’s hip younger sister. Penny tile is fun, graphic, slick, and a bit sweet. I love it for bathrooms.


You can mix this up with different colors too—a border around the perimeter of the room, say, or maybe bold stripes in alternating colors. I will offer one word of warning: Consider an expert for installation. You probably know that penny tile (and hex too) usually come on a 12X12-inch mesh backing. For some reason, the lines where two mesh pieces meet up are extra likely to show up—you can see what I’m talking about in the photo of my yellow bathroom (above). So precise spacing is key.


If you’re wondering how custom patterns are possible when the tile is glued to mesh, the answer is that you simply pop off the tiles you want to replace and put the color you want in their places.



I saved the most controversial for last: I love linoleum. There, I said it. Specifically, I’m in love with colored Marmoleum tile.


I would love to use this in my laundry room someday, maybe in sky blue and grass green. What do you think about it?

There you have it! Now go forth and pick out fun floors. There’s no need to settle—just go for what you want and enjoy your home, even if you’re on a budget (we all are!). •

7 thoughts

  1. One of my good friends is an old home lover. She used marmoleum in her kitchen. It was a beautiful yellow. You would have loved it.


  2. You can also use schluters to edge in pattens to create them with these or any tiles. There are about 30 different colors of them too!


  3. Hi – Just coming across your blog via Pinterest. Any chance you remember where you got the black rosette hex tile you used in your powder room? Thanks!


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