Once upon a time flooring choices were mostly old fashioned carpet or lino. That started to change in the late 1970s-early 1980s when polished floorboards became trendy, albeit cold.

Tiles followed, with stores such as the Tile Warehouse springing up to service the trend.

Even the humble carpet has gone high tech with solution-dyed nylon sold under brand names such as Rhino is making its way into even luxury homes.

If your floorboards have been attacked by borer or look at bit old, or if your underfloor layer is somewhat ugly, it's now possible to get the wood look with vinyl or laminate flooring.

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This can really modernise the look of a floor before you sell - and warm up the home.

In the case of vinyl, the 21st century option is a long way from the lino of our parents' homes. Modern vinyl such as TrafficMaster Allure GripStrip involves planks that grip to each other, not the floor below, and can be laid straight over existing vinyl.

There are clip-together options such as Kaindl. The finished product looks just like wood because a photograph of a board is printed on to a timber composite base. An underlay keeps heat in.

Kaindl is hard to damage, but if it is, a section can simply be replaced, says Stan Scott, building consultant at Mitre 10.

While Kaindl and TrafficMaster Allure are artificial, they really do look like a variety of different woods.

The next option is timber and timber look-a-likes. Timber veneer planking has a thin layer of real timber over another cheaper base.

The better the quality, the thicker the timber layer. Like the vinyl planks, laminate flooring usually clips together and is spill and impact resistant.

Bamboo flooring is popular in some circles. It has its pros and cons. It's said to be ecologically friendly because it's highly renewable, and some bamboos are very durable.

On the other hand there are questions about the resins used to make bamboo flooring and where the raw materials are sourced from.

Chipboard is usually used as a flooring substrate. Sometimes, however it can be coated witha urethane product such as Resene's Enamacryl.

Another trendy option is plywood flooring, but it needs a marine-grade coating in order to protect it against damage.

Some slightly less fashionable options that are still used include cork tiles, sisal and coir. Cork tiles have a warm look, but need to be laid and finished professionally. Sisal and coir were popular a decade ago for their look, but home buyers don't necessarily like the hard feel.

Or if you don't want to buy new flooring, and have concrete under your existing floor an option is resurfacing with a polymer cement-based product applied to the existing concrete.

It's well worth considering how environmentally-friendly your flooring options are. Green healthy homes are a good selling point, says Andrew Eagles, chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

"It makes sense for everyone thinking about flooring to consider making sure that wooden floors are Forest Stewardship Council certified, and any other type of flooring has low levels of what are known as volatile organic compounds."