I have laminate in my family room, and let me tell you, it looks as good after 5 years as when we just put it down! It is a MUST for large dog owners! The dogs run in with muddy feet, and I just wipe with a wet paper towel and its back to perfect! Unlike having to get our my carpet cleaner and scrubbing and blotting in my living room on the carpet! They also sell some really good laminate floor cleaner that makes it shine like brand new. We do that once or twice a month.
I was VERY worried about going with laminate over real wood, but you can hardly tell the difference. And the new stuff they have our now looks even more real. We are planning on taking out all of the carpet downstairs in the next year and replace with laminate. I can't wait!
That's what drew my SO to laminate. Many have told him the same thing... that it lasts without too much maintenance. I've never had laminate floors, so I am very nervous about trying a new flooring out.... it's not exactly cheap! I can't just say 1 year down the road... Don't like it, let's switch! lol!
But, at the same time... getting tile isn't an option since I'm not ripping my current tile up, and it's super expensive to get that installed. And I just can't keep carpet. I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping this works!
From what it sounds though, we should be fine.
Scratches or not, get the kind that will best hide them and dirt - with grains and knots and color closer to your dog's hairs. =) Thickness matter, make sure it's not the thin kind.
I love mine.
For rugs, get the cheap kind with rubber backing, like those indoor/outdoor rugs or jute rugs. They help tremendously with slipping and avoids odors that high pile rugs tend to absorb.
Thanks for the suggestions! The color I posted here, when we brought it home we noticed it was still a bit light. We plan on going a little darker, so we don't see all the dog hair. Our tile is really light too... so the transition will be nice to darker wood color.