Floors should be an important design element in a bedroom.

Beautiful floors can be the foundation of a beautiful room, but it may take some thought and planning to achieve the look you want.

You may not have the option of pulling up or ripping out or covering over the flooring in your bedroom. You may think this means that you're stuck with whatever is there now, and, to a certain extent, this is true. I once lived in a house where the former occupant had installed top quality, bright tangerine carpeting. Far too good to toss but not always the easiest color to decorate around. A floor of an unusual color or style can be quite a dictator when it comes to your decorating plan.

But you may have the opposite situation. You may have a floor covered with some greige (that's gray- beige) thing with no style at all. Or if you're a renter, you've pretty much got to deal with the landlord's idea of good. In any case, rugs can be the answer. Rugs can be found in so many wonderful colors, styles, shapes and sizes, you're almost guaranteed to find something that works for both your room and your budget.

And don't be afraid to place rugs over carpeting. Just get a rug-to-rug pad, which will protect both the underlying carpet and the rug, and will prevent the rug from creeping. These rug-to-rug pads are widely available at good stores. Ask for "rug underlayment."

Perhaps you are lucky enough to be in the market for entirely new floors. You can choose from carpeting, hardwood, cork, vinyl, and tile of many types. Prices can range from too-expensive-to-walk-on to let's-do-the-bathroom-too, so shop carefully and take accurate measurements of the room to make sure you purchase the right amount.

Bamboo is another flooring option. This is a wonderful renewable resource and the look is gorgeous, durable and affordable. Be sure to notice the beautiful patterns and colors available in today's bamboo flooring.

Whether you are starting over or covering up an unfortunate pre-existing condition, don't forget about maintenance. This goes along with a consideration of the amount and kind of use the floor will have to withstand. You may have dreams of a pale green velvet plush carpet, but if you have a partner who can't remember to leave outdoor shoes outside, are you really ready for the constant cleaning such a carpet would require? Some materials are higher maintenance than others, so let that be part of the decision.

If you are inclined to crafts and looking for something all your own, you might be interested in creating a floor cloth. Fold back the edges of medium- to heavyweight untreated canvas and glue with contact adhesive. You can use white glue, but then you must clamp the hem until it dries. Paint the front of the canvas with 2 to 3 coats of white gesso, allowing it to dry thoroughly between coats. You might want to paint the back of the canvas with a couple of coats as well, just to give it a little more body. Paint your design on the front with acrylic paint and brushes or sponges and let the paint cure for at least a week. It must be completely cured and set before you start applying polyurethane, 4 to 7 coats to the front and 1 coat to the back. Each coat must cure for 24 hours before the next coat is applied. 7 coats of high quality, floor-grade polyurethane will give you a substantial cloth with leather-like presence. You can find everything to make your own special floor cloth at many fabric and craft stores such as JoAnn's or Michael's.

With all the options available, the floor can be an important design element in your room.