Choosing the right floor at the right price can be a trying experience. What may seem cheap to buy can turn out to be prohibitively expensive to fit. By contrast, a floor covering that might seem to be unaffordable judged by the price per square metre can turn out to be reasonable once you include the laying costs. Taking four average-sized rooms as a starting point, my brief was to work out how much it would cost to buy and to lay a selection of different floor coverings. The prices given can change, particularly when materials are imported, and hence subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Fitting prices are also approximate, since wonky floorboards, rough concrete and damp can all affect the total. Get a reputable fitter to give you a quote – many suppliers will recommend someone tried and tested – to ensure that all possible pitfalls are taken into account. Extras, such as smart brass door bars, or shaving a centimetre off the doors so that they close properly, all add up. The prices quoted below are approximate and take into consideration the varying widths of the specified flooring materials. The hall is usually the main thoroughfare of a house, connecting front door and ground-floor rooms, so outdoor dirt and general wear-and-tear have to be considered when making a decision. Our hall, modelled on that of an average country house, measured 6′ x 22′ (1,8m x 6.7m), roughly 15 square yards (12.5 square metres).