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Let’s Talk Retail Store Design: Choosing the Correct Hard Surface Flooring for Your Showroom |  October 22, 2020 (2 comments)


West Bloomfield, MI--Many jewelry store owners contact me with the question: What is the best hard surface flooring to use in my showroom?  Technological advances in commercial flooring have created a variety of applications that have made installation and maintenance more cost efficient and manageable, while delivering a long-term return on investment. As a commercial designer for over 35 years, I want to keep it very simple in the selections of flooring that are in the majority of my interior design projects.

If you would like a more elegant or organic look, I would go with 100% porcelain tiles. The variety of tiles can range from a shinny marble to a textured stone look.

Porcelain tiles are highly resistant to wear and tear, and they are low maintenance. The porcelain tiles last longer over the years compared to standard ceramic tiles. The price ranges from $3.00-$6.00. The price of tile will increase if choosing special porcelain tile from Italy, etc.

The size of the tile is 24” x 24 in the picture below of Belle Jewelers in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, which I designed to create a shiny, upscale look.

My other go-to flooring that I have used for years is luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). The biggest advantage of vinyl plank flooring is the fact that it is 100% water resistant. This means surface water and spills won’t affect the flooring. It is really ideal for commercial spaces. It is great for high-traffic areas, and it wears better than carpet. To name a few manufactures that I have worked with before are Shaw, COREtec, Mohawk, and Armstrong. The vinyl floors should last between 10-20 years if installed correctly and maintained correctly. As an example, the picture of Kelley Jewelers below in Weatherford, Oklahoma reveals a beautiful luxury vinyl tile floor.

There are many other flooring materials but these have been proven in my many years of design to be my two hard flooring favorites.

About the Author: Leslie McGwire™ has over 35 years in business development, interior design, equipment, furniture sales and marketing services in retail space, salons, resorts, spas, and jewelry-based businesses. Leslie has won 25 national design awards, including the prestigious Salon Today and INSTORE Jewelry Store ​awards. Leslie has a true passion for business, design and the jewelry, salon, and spas industries. Visit for more information.

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Comments (2):

We have porcelain plank tiles in our store. They look fabulous and are super durable. But I do not recommend putting porcelain in areas where you take jewelry in and out of cases. For example, side-by-side selling cases. Those cases have a higher number of “dropping jewelry” accidents at set up and break down compared to front-to-back cases. If you drop a piece and the stone portion hits the floor, there’s a good chance the stone will break. Sadly, we’ve learned this the hard way.

So maybe carpet or LVT directly in front of the side-by-side selling cases?

Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry

By Debbie Fox on Oct 27th, 2020 at 2:26pm

Thank you so much for your feedback. In the last six years, I have designed many large jewelry stores with porcelain tiles. On average, the jewelry stores are between 5,000 to 12,000 square feet with porcelain floors. After reading your comment, I called a variety of my clients to see if they had the same issue. Fortunately, none of my clients had this potential problem with diamonds breaking on porcelain tiles.

I did some further research and found out that if the diamond drops in just the right way, it could be damaged or cracked. Diamonds will crack if they are hit along a “cleavage plane,” which is the diamonds weak spot. Unfortunately, if diamonds are dropped on this exact weak spot, then they could be damaged.

As an interior designer, I use porcelain tiles in front of the cases and carpet tiles behind the cases in most of my designs. When it comes to side-by-side selling jewelry cases, many times there is not a choice but to have the cases placed on the porcelain tiles. My design client, Tim Ell, the owner of Zorell’s Jewelry told me yesterday that they only display sterling silver, fashion, and estate jewelry in the side-by-side cases. I hope this helps and again I appreciate your comments.

Leslie McGwire

By Leslie McGwire on Nov 1st, 2020 at 7:03pm

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