Cut a Rug

When Stacey Greenberg and her husband Warren Oster purchased a midtown home in March, they decided to dress up their bare wooden floors with FLOR.

Perhaps this needs some explanation.

Some readers may grudgingly remember the 1970s — a decidedly low point in American interior design — when you could adorn your abode with adhesive mirror tiles, glued-down carpet squares, and contact paper in all sorts of horrifying patterns. And once those products were installed, they were practically impossible to remove.

FLOR is considerably more sophisticated than that — an innovative system of adhesive carpet tiles that come in a wide range of pleasing colors, styles, and textures, allowing homeowners to mix and match to get the results they desire. They are available at places like Target and Lowe's, but the best way to design and order a FLOR for your floor is through the company's interactive website (

"It's really cool because you can design your own carpet," says Greenberg. "In my kids' room, we had a bizarre color scheme of orange, green, and blue, and I couldn't really find anything that matched, so I made my own."

The FLOR website shows carpets in solid colors, stripes, patterns, even Disney characters. A design tool lets users play around with various schemes, and then calculate exactly how many tiles they need.

"You can move the squares around and play with it, and I mean the sky's the limit," says Greenberg. "I can't tell you how many hours my husband and I spent in front of the computer making up different combinations."

Here's how it works: Customers exper-iment with the patterns they like, determine how many of the roughly 19-inch-square tiles they will need, and then order them directly from FLOR. Shipping by UPS usually takes less than a week.

Installing the tiles, says Greenberg, "is a breeze." Instead of the entire tile backed with adhesive, six round "FLORDots" hold the tiles securely to the floor, while still allowing individual tiles — or the whole thing, if you want — to be peeled up if a tile gets stained or damaged. According to the company website, "the sticky side stays on the tile, not your floor."

Greenberg, whose family includes two dogs and a cat, says that so far the tiles have proven durable. If they are ever soiled, the nylon and rubber-backed squares can be cleaned by peeling them up and rinsing with soap and water.

A complete room installation — which can go wall-to-wall or just cover an accent area — typically takes less than an hour. For edges and unusual shapes (around baseboards, for example), the tiles can be cut with a utility knife. They can be ordered with flush edges, which gives the impression of a solid piece of carpeting. According to Greenberg, "They blend together and you can't even tell that it's individual tiles." Or customers can order beveled edges, which give floors a "unique grid-like look."

The main advantage to this system is that it is so flexible. "Create your own designs, try ours, or mix and match," suggests the FLOR website. "Change isn't scary when it isn't permanent."

In fact, the FLOR people offer so many colors and patterns that they even suggest changing your floor patterns on a regular basis: "Don't forget to check in with us every season, because as fashion changes, so does FLOR." The company presently offers 10 solid colors, nine patented Martha Stewart colors (acorn, bisque, brook, cinnabar, moon, and more), and 17 striking patterns (with such names as "Amazing Lace," "Crazy Daisy," "Mad Plaider," and "Striped Poodle"). Most of these are available in a dozen different textures, described with such unusual (and perhaps confusing) names as "Counting Sheep," "Morning Coffee," "Next in Line," and "Shagri-La." For kids, parents can choose from Princess, Classic Pooh, Pixar Cars, and a half-dozen other Disney themes.

Of course, all of this innovation comes with a price. A "rug in a box" of six tiles — enough to create a 3 by 5-foot carpet — costs $59 at Target. That's just for solid colors. Fancy patterns and Disney characters can cost up to $99 for six tiles.

Customers like Greenberg obviously think it's worth it.

"The kids room took only 10 or 15 minutes," she says. "And the appealing part is that you can just replace one tile if it gets damaged, instead of having to pull up and replace an entire carpet."

The company's slogan is "Why should flooring be boring?" With all the varieties of FLOR available, homeowners can entertain themselves as long as they can afford to. M


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