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Is there such a thing as non-ugly linoleum?

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The question

We're reflooring the bathroom in a rental unit in our house. Do you have a favourite source for stylish linoleum – or is that an oxymoron? The floor everywhere else is a medium-brown walnutty wood laminate.

The answer

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Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus that supplies what are known as "luxury vinyl tiles." They come in all shades and sizes and feature a low-emission polyurethane surface treatment that makes them both durable and easy to maintain.

Colour-wise, I would recommend a white "marble" finish in the bathroom, as it has a hint of grey suggestive of actual stone, the (fake) natural beauty of which will be complemented by the (plastic) wood flooring. (Do the walls in pure-white ceramic subway tile.)

Having said that, a big issue with all of this plastic in play is the need for good ventilation and the avoidance of black mould. Air movement and quality are, of course, good things. In other words, you may have long-lasting floors, but how are your lungs?

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylorddd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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