Flooring that is slip-resistant and comfortable to stand on is essential in a universal kitchen. Slip resistance is vital because grease, spills and even wet food like lettuce leaves can cause a nasty fall. And comfort underfoot becomes even more important as we age: Our knees, legs and feet become easily fatigued while we’re standing on hard surfaces. As gorgeous as tile and stone floorings are, they’re tiring to stand on, and dishes break all too easily when dropped.
If your existing floor is in relatively good condition, you may be able to cover it with new slip-resistant flooring without spending a fortune. Two popular choices are vinyl and linoleum. Vinyl is plastic made from petroleum (not very eco-friendly) and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including faux wood and stone. Linoleum is made primarily from linseed oil and comes in a rainbow of colors — and it’s eco-friendly.
Once you’ve decided on the material for the flooring, choose mottled color tones that hide dirt or skid marks and a matte finish that reduces slipperiness. If replacing your kitchen flooring is not an option at this time, place a rubber or low-pile (polypropylene) mat with a beveled edge in front of the sink or work area to reduce fatigue and slips.
Rosemary Bakker is the author of the AARP Guide to Revitalizing Your Home, which is available through Barnes & Noble. Ms. Bakker holds a master of science degree in gerontology and is a certified interior designer.