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Don’t get stuck with flooring you don’t love!  With all the affordable faux wood flooring available these days, choosing and installing laminate flooring can really improve your spaces, as we recently learned.  Read along to discover our selection and get tips for installing laminate flooring.

*This post is sponsored by Floor & Decor.  All opinions and text are my own.

Why oh why oh why did I wait so long to make the decision to switch our flooring?!

I’ll tell you why.

For years I stared at our odd orange striped engineered hardwood flooring, hating every second of it.  But every time I suggested to anyone the idea of replacing it, they always said, “Don’t ever rip out hardwood flooring”.

So I lived with it – trying my hardest to decorate the rest of my house in the light and bright style I wanted and hoping that if I ignored the flooring long enough, it would all work out.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring
Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

But it didn’t.  The orange flooring seemed to throw off every design decision I would make.  No size of rug and no image crop could hide it’s clashing reality from me.

I think my husband had heard enough of my lamenting, and decided to let me explore other options.  My first grand idea was to sand it down to bare wood and refinish it.  That would save lots of money, right?


Not only was it a sanding nightmare for us (have you ever tried to sand engineered hardwood), but we ended up having to pay a professional to come in and finish the messy job because it looked so bad.

(Image I shared on Instagram after we finished sanding.  I actually loved the unfinished look, but my kids would have beat it up in no time.)

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

Then we realized, any stain we tried to put on it, just brought out all the orange tones again.  So I did what any white loving soul would do, and whipped out the white wash pickling stain, and just like that . . . we had pink floors. 🙁

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

These floors were determined to fight for their right to be orange still, even with white washed pickling stain over it.

Long story short, we stopped this madness at the living room, leaving a very awkward room transition into the kitchen, and then spent a year trying to figure out what to do.

Last month, we bit the bullet and ripped out all that 1000 square feet of hardwood flooring (for shame) and replaced it with . . . laminate flooring!

Who does that right?  Well, I do, and I am so so sooooo glad we did!

Laminate flooring has come a long way, and the selection at Floor & Decor was vast and beautiful.

*I apologize for the iphone shots.  I successfully got my kids to the babysitter, but I forgot my big girl camera!

I did try for a moment to convince the hubs to do all marble tile, but he reminded me that we had 4 kids.

So onto the wood and wood-look flooring we went.  I knew our price point, and I knew I wanted a lighter wood flooring, and I was so pleased to run into exactly what we were hoping to find.

If you’ve never shopped at a Floor & Decor, first check here and find your closest option.  Then be prepared to be amazed when you walk in those doors.

I’ve never seen so much flooring and tiles in my life!  (and countertops, by the way).

I learned 3 notable things about Floor & Decor when my husband and I went to tour the store, besides the already mentioned vast selection of every flooring imaginable at very competitive prices.

1) Did you know there are free design services at each store?  

Yep.  You just head over to the showroom and there will be an in-store interior design specialist just waiting to help you with any design decisions.  That’s pretty amazing.  On top of that, on Saturdays you can head over and they have a free class to teach you how to install flooring!

2) See it.  Buy it.  Take it home.

It’s unreal to think you can make your selection and they will have it all available for you to take home right then and there.  They do their best to stock enough material so this is possible.  We were able to bring home 1000 square feet of flooring the same day we bought it!  My husband was so excited to start work right away!  (did you catch the thick sarcasm?).  Now, you can arrange to have your items shipped to your home, but they use other services for that.  So if you can bring your own haul, you’ll save money.

3) . It’s possible to spend 5 hours at a flooring store.

It truly is.  It’s flooring heaven after all, and there is a lot to choose from!

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

We almost came home with flooring we didn’t need, just because it was beautiful and on clearance.  But I refrained.

But consider yourself warned, and be sure to pack a picnic.  😉


Let’s chat a bit more about the flooring we selected and then I’ll give you the installation low down.

The particular item we choose was called Hampstead Rustic Timber Whitewash Laminate.

It was really love at first site for me.  I loved the white wash, I loved the wide plank, I loved the rustic, I loved the durability, I loved the price, and my husband loved that it was going to be easier to install than real hardwood floors.

Most new laminates are actually floating floors that snap together.  No glue, no nails, easy peasy.  And for the sake of thinking long term, probably going to be a ton easier to take apart than the millions of tiny staples we had to remove from our sub-flooring.

The benefits of laminate flooring include a variety of finishes, easy install, durable, and of course, how close they come to looking like wood without the cost. However, before you choose a laminate you have to be mindful of the fact that you’ll have to constantly ensure that there is no standing water, as it will cause the materials to swell and the printed layer may degrade over time.  I’ve lived with hardwood and already was aware of that, so I figured it wouldn’t be much different or challenging.


I plan to follow up with a post on how I clean our flooring with the amazing Norwex Mop.  Best system I’ve found, and absolutely no chemicals needed!  (more on that later, or email me now for more details at cami (at) tidbits-cami (dot) com)


I’m going to sneak my husband Kevin in here now, to share some tips and pointers we learned for installing laminate flooring . . .

Mr. TIDBITS . . . 

First step, find out you have too much stuff by moving it all to one room, preferably one you won’t be installing flooring in.  We didn’t have that option so it all got shoved into the living room to be moved later.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

Prepare the subfloor by removing all nails, staples, dust and whatever else might keep the floor from being smooth when installed.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

Install the underlayment (available at Floor & Decor) which in our case was a recycled felt material.  Laminate needs underlayment in the form of a foam or felt for cushion and sound deadening. If using real or engineered wood flooring, it is highly recommended that you use a moisture barrier like tar paper or something similar.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring
Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

To begin installation start by snapping the pieces together by lifting one piece on an angle and allowing the pieces to come together.  Do not straighten the piece until it is completely in the grooves, it shouldn’t take very much effort to put them together or lay flat.  Once they are together they shouldn’t come apart.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

Measure how much to cut off the end piece and be sure to bring in the leftover after the cut so you can use that piece to start the next row.  This will give you a stair step look and will help you to not put seams to close to each other.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

I used a rubber mallet to help me tap the pieces together so they wouldn’t get damaged by something with a harder surface.  I was able to keep most of the base on in the house during installation.  I recommend taking the base off if you are not pressed for time or plan on changing it anyways.  This will make for a much easier installation.

Choosing and Installing Laminate Flooring

Thank you Kevin!  But he did forget to mention, it’s best to hire some neighbor boys to be the go-getters.  That will really cut down your time.

This post has already gotten too long, so hang tight and I’ll wrap up my big reveal, where you will get to see the significant difference this new flooring made in our home.  Or if you are overly anxious, I gave you a sneak peak HERE.

Big thanks goes to Floor & Decor for partnering with me on this project.  I love when I find companies with excellent customer support, huge selection, and awesome DIY pricing!!  Let me know if you’ve ever visited a store yourself or if you have any further questions for me.

How to install laminate flooring | Tips, tricks and why it is so great!

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  1. Great content! Thanks for sharing these tips. I found these tips very helpful. I believe that every mother like me who is reading this article now is truly happy about this very informative article. Great content! Thanks for sharing these tips. I found these tips very helpful. I believe that every mother like me who is reading this article now is truly happy about this very informative article.

  2. I am planning to redecorate my house with laminates. So the article is helping me to choose and install the best.

  3. Wood floors are the most expensive on the market so many people can’t afford them, but laminate can be purchased and installed for a fraction of the cost. On top of being cost effective, the installation process is simple as well.

  4. Thank you for the information on choosing and installing laminate floors. I love the finished look that the laminate floor brought to your space. Much better than the orange hardwood you started with. I will have to explore my options a bit further and I think to avoid the hassle I may just hire a professional to do all the installing for me. Thank you again for the post.

  5. I can definitely relate to the color of your floor throwing off your decorating. We have a dark grayish-brown laminate floor, and it’s impossible to decorate! I appreciate the flooring installation tips!

  6. I’m glad I got to experience laminate floors-because I HATE them. We have it in our rental home. I thought oh good, this will be so much easier to clean versus carpet. We have an elderly kitty who has a sensitive stomach and he has frequent ” vomit accidents” after he eats. It seems to leave a greasy smear and it’s all you can notice-the floor is very dark wood. They also installed it in the powder room-big mistake. Around the toilet seal it’s leaked at some point and it’s bubbling up around the toilet and the pressed wood inside is coming apart around it. Give me wood and linoleum back. I also hate grout-it never looks clean.

  7. Cant wait to see it! We want to do the same thing un our house! The hardwood is so yellowed and i have always felt so bad thinking of ripping it out….we also thought of sanding it down, but maybe we will save us the trouble and rip it out and install the lVT i love so much. Id love to hear how it holds up to kids and traffic!

  8. I have laminate flooring and i use a steam mop. It is so very easy and drys in a snap. You use distilled water and that’s it. At times in between i use a Swiffer to get up dust and hair. So very easy and i love it. It will be fun to see what you chose and how it looks.

  9. We went laminate in every room except laundry and bath about 6 years ago and wish we had done it sooner. So much better than wood. So easy to care for. So easy to keep clean.

  10. Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post Cami!! I had a really gorgeous engineered hardwood picked out, but it’s pricey – at almost $6. I have a similar laminate picked out that is under $3 and I think you have helped me make my decision. This looks so so good and I can’t wait to see the after photos!!! Thanks for sharing!

  11. When we built our new house last year, I knew I wanted site-finished hardwood floors in most of the house, but not the mud room, laundry, baths and finished areas in the basement. I, too, was incredibly impressed with the new laminate flooring options! We chose a LVT (luxury vinyl tile) for the upstairs areas and let hubby chose a LVP (..plank) for the lower level (his ‘man space is down there). We absolutely love it (almost as much as our beautiful hardwood). Vinyl has certainly come a LONG way! Your new floors are gorgeous! You can see our choices on my blog.

  12. We just put laminate in our living and dining rooms…love it! I don’t blame you for ripping out the orangey wood floors…it definitely clashed with your spaces! And you tried to make it work only it refused to cooperate! Can’t wait to see a side by side comparison. I be trying it’s a huge difference!

  13. I’m so excited that there are 9 Floors & Decor stores to choose from in my area of Texas!! I’ve always drooled over home decor TV shows when they visit these places.

  14. This post coildnt have come at a better time. We may be replacing the carpeting in our upstairs (the main floor is tile and hard wood) due to severe allergies a little one in our house is experiencing.

    Can’t wait for the reveal