Here’s a peek at what to expect in the new year:
• Wide Planks: “Traditional strip flooring still remains popular, but wide plank is the market leader,” says Michael Martin, President and CEO of the National Wood Flooring Association. “Planks of up to 7 inches in width are considered normal now.”
“The wider the better,” adds Jeff Firkus, account manager for Contract Interiors in St. Paul, Minn.
• Character: Along with wide planks, Firkus says he’s seeing a lot of character-grade planks in his market, including wire brushing, a trend that reflects America’s ongoing obsession with all things reclaimed. Country-wide, “The very distressed textures that have been popular in recent years have yielded to lightly textured surfaces,” Martin says, “while character marks such as knots and mineral streaks are often desired and left in the material promoting a more-natural appearance.”
• Light Over Dark: While dark colors were trending for a while, “Our members are projecting gray colors and cerused finishes, as well as lighter colors, will increase in popularity in the year ahead,” says Martin.
In addition, FlooringInc says to be on the lookout for blondes. “Blonde is … making a huge splash. Light, airy, blonde flooring works with just about any décor and instantly makes your room look bigger.”
• Oak Domination: NWFA expects white and red oak to retain their leadership positions; they currently account for about 67% of U.S. hardwood flooring. “Oak is widely available, has a reasonable cost, and can be very versatile from a styling standpoint,” Martin says. “In addition, if there is a desire to change the look of the floor at a later time, oak responds well to stain, which could create an entirely new look.”
Overall, the association is also seeing an overall shift toward the use of domestic species versus imports.
• Large-Format Tiles: The European-led trend toward large tiles on both floors and walls continues to come on strong, and manufacturers have responded with a range of styles and price points.
• LVT: For customers who can’t afford ceramic tile or don’t want to clean the grout, luxury vinyl tile (LVT), is getting more convincing while offering easier cleaning and easy installation, Firkus says, noting that his market is seeing LVT across a range of home values. What’s more, it can be replaced in a remodel much more easily than tile.
• Wood Looks: The wood look remains a go-to in other flooring categories, and the offerings look increasingly authentic. “Wood-look flooring in laminate, vinyl and ceramic tile has been hot for years now,” says Flooring Inc. “In fact, it’s been the No. 1 flooring trend two years in a row, with no end in sight.
“The biggest ongoing trend in tile flooring (including tile for the bathroom) is tile that resembles wood,” concurs The Family Handyman. “The wood-look planks come in many styles and colors, and many look incredibly realistic.”