cork kitchen floor
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Lay an Eco-Friendly Layer of Insulation

It's bad enough to have to get up in the morning, let alone get up and experience the icy shock of a cold floor. What you need is some warmth underfoot, a little cushion as you pad across the house. Enter cork. Resilient yet durable, stylish yet earthy, a natural cork floor can turn any cool room into a cozy haven.

Cork is also a lot easier to install than traditional wood flooring. Manufacturers now offer products in engineered panels that snap together without glue or nails. These floating-floor systems sit well over plywood, concrete, or even existing flooring. In one afternoon you can turn a floor into a comfortable mat where your toes can roam free without fear of the big chill—or expensive area rugs.

Cost: About $6 a square foot.

See How to Lay a Cork Floor for full step-by-step instructions.
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