A Brief History of Linoleum Flooring and Why It’s Actually Cool Again
by Ashley Dreiling
Few home design trends have had as many highs and lows as linoleum, and now it’s suddenly popular again!
The comeback kid of flooring is enjoying an unexpected revival and can be found in some of the world’s coolest spaces. Just as when it first burst on the scene, linoleum’s noiseless, soundproof, and waterproof qualities make it a smart choice for builders. But the biggest reason linoleum is now cool again is because it’s extremely eco-friendly and renewable.
So how did it come about? In 1855, English inventor Federick Walton noticed a sticky, stretchy material settled on top of a can of oil paint. It was linseed oil, and Walton quickly used the substance to invent linoleum flooring, which was durable, flexible, and easy to manufacture. By the 1950s, linoleum was an international sensation and a staple in homes, schools, and shops across the globe. It was waterproof, easy to install, and came in an endless array of colors and patterns.
But like all design trends, linoleum fell out of favor…hard. The very traits that had propelled its popularity were now seen as liabilities. Its durability backfired, the flooring looked dated, and builders started to use vinyl instead.