Want a different kind of carpet? Forget wool and synthetic fibres and go for natural flooring, such as seagrass, coir and jute, instead.
If looked after properly, this flooring is no harder to maintain than carpet and, unlike synthetic carpets, it doesn't attract dust, making it a good choice for allergy sufferers.
Natural flooring is made of plant fibres, but the plants are usually grown in Asia and other places thousands of miles away, so it's often not as environmentally friendly as it might seem.
Wool and cotton can be combined with other natural fibres to produce flooring offering the best of both worlds, but if you'd rather be a purist, these are the most popular types of natural flooring:
While you should always follow the manufacturer's care instructions for the type of flooring you have, tips for maintaining natural flooring include using doormats by outside doors, vacuuming regularly, putting something underneath chairs and sofas on castors and immediately treating stains and spills in the recommended way. Some natural flooring has a latex backing, which helps to prevent dirt and dust building up underneath, and some can be treated with a stain inhibitor, which is obviously one of the easiest ways to keep it looking good.
Product of the week
Quick-drying, lightweight fillers are really useful, especially when you don't have much time, and Polycell One Fill Polyfilla (£8.50 for 600ml, www.johnlewis.com) is a great choice.
It's surface dry in just 15 minutes (or more, depending on the application) and can fill holes up to 50mm deep in one go, which is pretty deep.
Best of all, it's so lightweight and easy to use that little or no sanding is required, saving you time and effort. It can't be drilled in to but it can be painted and used to fill plaster, plasterboard, coving and mouldings.
Slate floor tiles can easily get scratched, even if sealed, but you can disguise the scratches and give the slate a lustrous, darker finish by applying slate dressing with a cloth and rubbing it in well (don't apply too much or the dressing will show up footprints).
If you don't have any slate dressing and you don't have time to get some, use a little cooking oil instead.