2016 Hottest Flooring Trends
“Luxury Vinyl” isn’t a contradiction in terms. It is the product of the day among those who pay attention to the materials home buyers are eager to purchase and walk on.
“It’s the fastest-growing portion of the industry in the past two years,” according to Scott Humphrey, chief executive of the World Floor Covering Association, a trade group based in Anaheim, California. One reason this flooring category has developed is the extraordinary photo technology that mimics wood so closely that you have to look twice to see that it’s vinyl.
Luxury vinyl is not the only flooring product that’s drawing homeowners attention.
Not only is carpet becoming more environmentally friendly, a few manufacturers are creating fiber combinations that take softness to a whole new level, Humphrey said. “Everybody is making carpet that’s green,” he said. “They have factories that do this all across the United States.”
Humphrey, who grew up in a carpet-manufacturing family, said he regards the development of softer textures as the cutting-edge trend in the flooring business. “The thing that has been most surprising to me is the return of luxury carpet,” he said. “Some of it is the softest carpet I’ve ever felt.”
The current favorite carpet style is probably the category called cut-and-loop, in which the pile is partly cut and partly looped to create a sculpted look or pattern. This trend is more towards the patterned carpet and has a cleaner finish and some personality to it. Customers in many areas of the country favor carpeting in bedrooms and on stairs.
With the creation of the “great room” concept that unites the kitchen and family rooms into one space, it’s become common to see hardwood floors on kitchen floors, Shay said. “We’re almost always doing woods in kitchens,” she said. “With the great room plan, having consistent flooring is a big part of that picture, having space ‘roll.’”
A popular design is to use laminate versions, she said. “Laminate is a thin piece of wood on a core that’s made of something else.” Shay explained. “It creates structural stability, so you have less movement in the floor and it’s less expensive than solid hardwood.”
Preference in hardwoods is leaning towards darker stains, with a growing interest in gray tones. Also, interest in larger planks and using multiple-sized planks are growing. Homeowners are starting to use more exotic species like hickory, cherry, and walnut.
A growing segment of consumers also started to use reclaimed woods, which have been salvaged from older residential flooring or old barns in an effort to be “greener”.
The “luxury” trend is growing and technology has given some vinyl a whole new look. At the most basic, the process of producing it amounts to taking a photo of wood and printing it into a significantly less expensive vinyl flooring. This is usually in the form of squares or planks. Some of the vinyl even looks like marble and tile, and it can be used in various rooms including bathrooms.
Ceramic tile use is getting bigger. Tile in size bigger than the standard 12-by-12 inches is growing in popularity. The digital prints you see on laminate countertops and vinyl tile are also being used on ceramic tile so you may see tiles that look like hardwood floors.
The biggest trend is toward “modular” sizes like rectangular tiles or 12-by-24 inch sizes. Popular designs like tile looking like fabric or wood and concrete are becoming increasing available.