Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space: Week Two Spring 2019 One Room Challenge


It’s Week Two of the One Room Challenge and this week, I’m showing you how I’m installing my favorite type of flooring for DIYers. It’s easy to install and super inexpensive. But first, let’s take a look at the space …

Bonus Room Makeover: Six weeks to get it ready for a family to enjoy

Ummm… yeah. It went from bad to worse. If you didn’t see last week’s post, with the full plans, you can peek back at that here: What To Do With A Bonus Room You Don’t Need.

You see, in addition to this big open space, we’re also finishing a completely new space in our house. This unfinished storage room is a little unnecessary since we have a garage and plethora of walk-in closets throughout the home. We want to show our buyers that, in addition to housing unloved tchotchkes, this space can also be a useful area!

I’ll detail more of those plans in a later post. For now, let’s just talk about how. much. junk. was in that room. Holy cow! When we emptied the room of all of our own unloved tchotchkes, we felt like real hoarders. It’s turned our bonus room into an even bigger mess than it already had been.

bonus room makeover: creating a media room for the whole family

bonus room updates: how much does carpet cost and what's the return?

I’m embarrassed. Even more embarrassing? We’ve had five strangers visit this room in this shape. Yep. We are disgusting.

Of course, it would never be my choice to allow strangers to see my home in this shape, but I’ve had an adventure in carpet replacement over the past week.

CARPET IS EXPENSIVE. Seriously, you guys. I had no idea how much it costs until I started getting quotes to have the carpet replaced in this room. I hate carpet. Everyone hates carpet. So in every remodel, I’ve removed it and replaced with fresh hardwoods (or had them refinished).

I would be doing that here too, but we’re nearing the end of our time here and also surpassed our budget for this house about six months ago. So we’re really trying to save money. Plus, this room has no door and the sound in here echos throughout the house. I worry that if we add one more hard surface, I’d be turning this home into an opera house. Suburban homes frequently have carpeted upstairs here, anyway. So we’re doing exactly what I recommend: Making only the updates we need to make in order to remain competitive with comparable properties. (You can get a guide to understanding how to determine what updates you should make right here)

I figured new carpet would cost around $500 MAX. Boy oh boy was I wrong! I’ve been honest with every single salesperson and told them “Hey, we’re moving. The new homeowners will likely want hardwoods so we’re not looking to spend any more than we have to just to get this space freshened up. Give me your cheapest carpet”.

Even then, with the most budget-friendly carpet available, I got quotes that were up to $2500. FOR ONE ROOM. This room is 324 square feet. It’s big, sure. But is it $2500 I carpet big???? Four quotes in, I was exhausted. The cheapest one I’d gotten was $1100. I’d called big name companies and mom and pop shops. They all were much higher than I’d anticipated.

Christine and I were waiting for our final quote man to come by and decided Nope. Let’s just cancel this appointment, clean the carpets as best we can, and throw down a rug.

Then the doorbell rang. That final quote? No haggling. No threats to just walk away. Literally, his first quote – before I even said a word about our budget (other than give me the cheapest) – was $575.

Now that’s more like it. So we’re having new carpet installed next week and inn case you’re local to Nashville and would like to get a better quote, contact Country Floor Direct. (not sponsored, just hooray) The irony in all of that is that, of the five companies I’d called, that company had the best reviews too! The difference? They work out of a town just adjacent to Nashville called Pegram. Pegram is quaint but it’s also not a wealthy area. So they’re doing honest business and not hiking up prices just because Nashville is a fast market. Bravo to honest people!!

Okay, so now on to the other flooring in this space – our storage space flooring.

Easy Tile Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

The storage space had a plywood subfloor that was in great condition. But since we want it to be a utilitarian + useful space, I really wanted to add some true flooring. I think we’re also going to drywall this room ourselves. (maybe. if I feel like paying for more marriage counseling)

Luckily, I already knew the perfect floor type for this space because I’ve already used it three other times: Vinyl Planks or Luxury Vinyl Tile (as the fancy people are calling it these days).

In our last home, we installed this type of vinyl tile in our laundry/mudroom and in our family bathroom. Here it is in the bathroom:

installing vinyl tile over existing tile in a bathroom

When we renovated that bathroom, I was six months pregnant. By the time I removed all the 1960s tile from the walls, I didn’t have the energy to do the floors. But since they were super stable, I decided to install LVT right over them. It took about an hour (no joke) and looked awesome! Plus, vinyl tile is softer underfoot, which I prefer.

We loved that tile so much that as soon as we moved into our current home, we installed it in our laundry room over the original linoleum tile. That project took me twenty minutes and two boxes ($50). I would honestly install this in our forever home too. While I don’t think I’d ever want it in a kitchen, it’s definitely my go-to for utilitarian spaces like laundry rooms and mudrooms. I even recommend it to clients all the time. This post isn’t sponsored, but in case you’d like to know my favorite brand, here it is.

Now here are my tips for installing it:

Luxury Vinyl Tiles: The easiest floors to install for a DIYer - plus they're very budget-friendly and look gorgeous


  1. Don’t overthink it. For ease of installation, I prefer a random horizontal pattern. I always buy the 24×12” tiles and lay them perpendicular to the longest wall in the room. This tricks the eye into believing the space is larger than it actually is. It will cause more cuts, but the cuts will be easier because you don’t ever have to cut the entire length of the tile.

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

2. Lay out every single tile from a couple of boxes so you can see them all. Group similar ones so you can make sure you’re using a variety and it won’t look fake.

Tile Flooring DIY: I've used these tiles four times now. Here's my best advice for installing them.

3. Start with a full tile and work in rows. Most likely, you’ll need to make a cut at the bottom of the row. Make your cut and then flip your scrap piece around and use it as the beginning of the next row. ALWAYS FACE THE CUT EDGE TOWARDS THE WALL. This will be covered by trim later, so it won’t show.

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

4. Use a speed square to score your tile. Don’t try to cut all the way through. Just score the back and then snap the tile. Next, take your cutter and lightly cut the front of the tile loose.

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

5. Mark your cut line by placing the tile in the exact spot where it is needed, instead of trying to measure. Just hold the tile in the spot where it would go, then use a marker to note where the previous tile meets it.

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

6. Don’t invest in fancy machines or equipment to settle the tile in place. Just step on it.

Easy Flooring Installation For Finishing An Unfinished Space

Now you know how to quickly install Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring over your existing floor. No fancy glue or tools are necessary! It’s actually easier when you just relax about it.

And in case you’d like another peek at the look of the tile, here’s a closeup:

luxury vinyl tile flooring - how to install this easily and directly over your existing floors

There are lots of color options but this is my favorite right now because it looks so much like real slate.

ORC-Guest-400x218 copy.png

I’ve been a long-time follower of the ORC™ and I’m always a little humbled and sentimental that it’s still around for me to participate in. So if you’re looking to kickstart a DIY home project or you just want to take a peek into the reality of renovating spaces, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Thanks, as always, to Linda Holt for bringing this event back every season! We love it as much as you do. And a super huge thanks to Better Home and Gardens and all of the amazing sponsors who keep this event going! You can see the full list of official sponsors here.

This time around, I’ve even got my own list of sponsors to show off. I can’t wait to tell you about each of these brands that has made my participation in this event possible. So stay tuned! That is, after you go check out all the other spaces.






Commenting on this post is disabled after 24 hours so I can focus on our upcoming projects + client designs. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear from you. Send me your questions and comments on Instagram by either commenting on my latest post or sending me a direct message. I really love to chat it out! xoxo

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One Comment

  1. We installed the luxury vinyl planks all throughout our basement and love them. I really like the slate style you used! I can’t wait to see it come together!

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