A lot of people like to install carpets in bedrooms and areas where warmth is required and although this does make sense initially – carpets are simply unhygienic. Anyone who has seen a carpet under a microscope, a few months after installation, would 100% agree. In addition, if you have allergies, carpets are your enemy. Today under-floor radiant heating is easy to lay, inexpensive and provides a much better and hygienic alternative to keep your home warm and cozy.
When asked to recommend a flooring for the bedrooms, I would suggest either a wood floor; as wood will always remain a room temperature and is quite pleasant to walk on bare foot; or tile, ideally with comfort heating installed if you live in a colder climate, and/or the use of rugs. Rugs (not fluffy ones ;-)) are definitely a better option to carpet as these can be dry cleaned every few months and hence kept quite clean and allergy-free.
When considering your living room, wood or tile is ideal depending on your preference. Both should stand the test of time although wood flooring will require a bit more maintenance given that it is a natural material and highly porous. Tile will be cooler in winter but depending on where you live this may be a good thing. In cold climates, wood floors in the living room are probably more desired but again this will depend on your heating system – under floor heating or comfort heating creates a nice warmth for both wood or tile flooring.
If you have young children, you may need to consider their comfort. I would still not recommend carpet as kids are more susceptible than adults to bacteria and allergies but instead would consider installing rubber play mats (these come in rubber tile squares or as bigger pieces.) in the kids play areas or rugs in their rooms – this way they will still be able to comfortably roll around on the floor and even fall without hurting themselves.
In regards to vinyl flooring – I would only recommend vinyl if the plan is to have it for a short time (i.e. you are planning a future remodel in that area) or if your budget is limited. The quality of vinyl floors have definitely improved significantly over the past few years but I have never seen a vinyl floor add value to a house; the first thing people say when they see a vinyl floor is “we need to replace that floor”