The Sixth Wall

Don’t you hate it

when a stunning space has boring flooring? I do.

Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what a space is lacking. Can you think back to a moment when you’ve visited a “great” space, but for some reason found yourself stepping back and thinking, “If there was just one more element of visual interest, texture or colour, this space would be mind-blowing.” I feel that oftentimes, this feeling is caused by a lack of consideration for flooring finishes.

Why should a space settle for mediocrity status just because the designer forget to consider The Sixth Wall: the FLOOR (not to be confused with The Fifth Wall: the Ceiling)? The answer is: it shouldn’t.

Designers unite: Let’s pledge to do ourselves and our fabulous work justice by considering every surface and it’s finish within a space in its entirety.

Here are some photos of flooring that I’ve stumbled upon around the globe (and on the world wide web in some cases) that give a space a polished, unique or charming ambiance.

Colourful tiles adorn stair risers for an art gallery in Amalfi, Italy.

The unique approach in product display and flooring in the photo below draws pedestrians into the store and creates a pleasing sight line through the space.

This cafe in Rome, Italy, has a fun way of displaying it's loose candy for sale.

The funky cork flooring in the photo below becomes a focal point in this contemporary, sleek interior designed by ReDesign.

Image courtesy of

See how these spaces would be so much less if The Sixth Wall was overlooked?

In the photo below, carpet is used to introduce visual and tactile texture and colour. The line work in the pattern is so dynamic and stunning – I love how it is paired with the bold green furniture. The space was designed by Charles Allem.

Image courtesy of

I’ve referred to the beautiful hotel in the photos below, Los Cuatro Tulipanes, in a previous post called Stone Love.  Look at the flooring – it’s so traditional and simplistic, yet it adds so much interest to the space. In this case, the patterned tile is a great alternative to an area rug that would probably get smelly and mouldy in the humid Panamanian climate.

Image courtesy of

The foyer in this hotel apartment in Casco Viejo in Panama City has a gorgeous inlaid tile pattern that mimics an area rug.

As I’ve mentioned in this post on Islamic Architecture, flooring patterns and motifs are widely popular; but have you ever considered how the space/building would look if it weren’t for the intricate flooring patterns? Pretty boring, I think.

So there you have it – flooring is important in any space. It can “make” or “break” the success of an interior.

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  1. you’re soo right!! great post!

  2. What great inspirational photos! I agree with you that the floors in a space make a huge difference. Case in point, my rental – I have gross, gray carpet all over the house and it really puts a damper on my art and furniture. I cringe when I look at it and try and picture nice, shiny hardwood floors. One day, Tania, one day!

    P.S. I really like the tiled stair raisers in the first picture. Although kind of crazy for a home, I like the bright hits of colour!

  3. Wendy – thanks for commenting, love to see your name around here ;)

    Shannon – I am rooting for you to get new flooring soon! I loved the stair risers in Amalfi too – the stairs led up to a gallery of some sorts, perfect use of tile for the space, but maybe a little quirky for a house ;) Although, the right tile patterns and colours could look smashing!

  4. Love the tiled floor in the hotel room.

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Sorry I didn’t get to speak to you today … I really enjoyed the day also. It was great to meet so many local bloggers.

  5. Thanks for commenting, Sharon :) It’s always fun (surreal) to meet the real person behind the blog, huh? Hopefully we’ll meet at the next event :)

  6. You’re right. Flooring is so important! It gives the space it’s base feel: cold, warmth, modern, rustic.. I love the last 2 pics, just incredible! I wish I could change every single flooring in my own home. I have been lucky with my other homes and have had the good fortune to change our floors to gorgeous cherry wood but we’re not there yet (budget-wise) with our latest home. There is only so much you can do with parquet and oak flooring, sigh..

  7. Thanks for commenting, Chantale :) It’s a shame that making changes to flooring is usually so pricey – but it’s one of those “investment” changes that will pay off later (especially when re-selling). I worked on a project with a client where the entire upper level of the house was parquet flooring, and we chipped it all off to replace it with beautiful walnut planks. What a difference – every single room looks *so much better* now..that honey-coloured parquet that comes standard with most houses is just so “blah”.

  8. I just added ‘go to Rome and eat candy’ to my bucket list.

  9. Haha, Swail! Does the candy look that appetizing to you? Jeff was smitten with it as well lol.

  10. I love the tiled stairs! It’s always SO unexpected when you see designs on the risers. Even in this month’s House and Home, Sarah Richardson put random numbers on her stairs for the kids; a playful element to an otherwise traditional space! I always LOVE twists like this! Why should stairs miss out too? :)

  11. This is true, Krista. I feel the same way :) I saw a really beautiful set of risers decked out in Moroccan tile on some blog somewhere – it was gorgeous. Really transformed the entire stairwell.
    Thanks for reading, friend. xo

  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on density.

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