The floor is often one of the strongest elements in a space.

Painterly rugs with evocative strokes and striking color combinations can be the perfect foundation. Rugs help bring a room to life and, with their movement and color, accentuate the other design elements in the space.

Glass and ceramic tiles are another good medium for floor art, with their smooth textures and a range of size possibilities from tiny mosaics to large slabs.

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"Tile is super-durable, so regardless of design, floors will look beautiful and withstand wear and tear for many years," says Alena Capra, a designer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "Thin tile products can be installed over existing floor tiles, making it easier than ever to give floors a stylish makeover."

Says Italian architect Paola Marella: "Technological progress has expanded the range of finishes available for ceramic tiles. For example, digital printing ... has extended the confines of images beyond the individual piece. But screen-printed and hand-printed tiles retain their appeal."

If you like the look of tile but you rent or can't otherwise use the real deal, consider Home Smith's Beija Flor vinyl mats. They come printed with a range of patterns like encaustic, mosaic and geometrics; it's flooring that looks like a master craftsman or artist spent hours working on it.

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