All About Linoleum

Once scorned and ripped out of homes, linoleum is now back in style. Here, a brief history.


Marmoleum by Forbo Flooring is available in a wide variety of colors that open up a world of interesting combinations and patterns.

Marmoleum by Forbo Flooring is available in a wide variety of colors that open up a world of interesting combinations and patterns.

Linoleum is made of solidified linseed oil combined with wood flour or cork dust, tree resins, ground limestone and color pigments over a burlap, jute or canvas backing. It was created in the 1860s by Englishman Frederick Walton, who patented it in 1863. The name comes from the Latin words for flax (linum), the source of linseed oil, and oil (oleum).

In its first life, linoleum was often used in hallways and kitchens. Because of its cork layer, it was easy on feet and the occasional dropped dish. Fancier versions were inlaid tile by tile but it was also available in flexible sheets. It was quiet and easy to clean. And, boy, did it have staying power. Linoleum was durable with a capital "D." In fact, folks fell out of love with it decades before it wore out. Eventually wood and vinyl flooring, which came in far more colors, took linoleum’s place as the kitchen floor of choice.



Today, linoleum is sometimes still confused with vinyl flooring, which is made with chlorinated petrochemicals, but lino’s natural ingredients make it a much more environmentally friendly choice. It's made from natural, largely renewable, materials, and there are no environmental toxins involved in its manufacturing. That, along with our love for all things retro, may explain its renewed popularity. Not to mention that lino is now available in a wide variety of very hip colors and is relatively easy to install. And new factory-applied sealer coats protect the vivid colors against dirt and stains. The product is anti-static (which means it repels dust) and is anti-allergic.

Popular again in kitchens, mudrooms, laundry rooms, even on counters and backsplashes, linoleum also is considered a colorful choice for other rooms in the house where comfort and durability are top priorities.

Next Up

Linoleum Makes a Comeback

This practical and eco-friendly flooring is being rediscovered by homeowners.

Linoleum Flooring in the Kitchen

Linoleum is affordable, durable, easy to clean and comes in a rainbow of colors

Loving Linoleum

A retro favorite finds new life as an eco-friendly, affordable flooring choice in the bathroom.

Floor Tiles 101

Learn about seven popular varieties, and find the right fit for your flooring needs.

How to Install Natural Linoleum Flooring

Be kind to your feet and the environment with these step-by-step instructions.

Maximum Home Value Kitchen Projects: Flooring

Redoing your kitchen floors can bring major style and value points to your home. Here, get expert tips and ideas.

How to Fix a Squeaky Floor

Keep it quiet with these troubleshooting tips.

The Pros and Cons of Concrete Flooring

Low cost and unique finishes make concrete floors attractive, but they have special requirements. HGTV shares the pros and cons of concrete flooring.

How to Install Plywood Floor Tiles

Plywood is an inexpensive flooring alternative. Use a single type of wood for a standard look or use particle board for a more patterned look.

How to Install Underlayment and Laminate Flooring

These step-by-step instructions will show you how to install underlayment and flooring to get beautiful laminate flooring in any room.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.