In the world of floor covering we have seen a trend toward softer carpet, oil finished hardwood, luxury vinyl and a renewed interest in cork flooring.
As a long-time supplier of flooring products, we see a lot of trends in the materials, styles and textures that Bay Area homeowners are using in their homes. This has been particularly true during the recent economic rollercoaster.
We have found that the prolonged recession has driven the majority of consumers towards value and comfort. The flooring manufacturers have responded by concentrating on sensible, low-maintenance floor-coverings that provides that value at a variety of price points, without sacrificing quality and aesthetic appeal. This is important – we have found that despite the economic downturn, our customers are not looking for cheap flooring, but they are certainly looking to maximize value and get the best bang-for-the-buck out of their flooring.
The innovations and variety have come in the form of carpet technology and luxury vinyl. Also, with the recovery has come a strong demand for domestic Red and White oak hardwood which has caused scarcity of material with the concurrent rise in pricing of domestic oak products. The ultimate result is a renewed interest in other hard surface products, in particular cork flooring.
In the world of carpet, softness is in. Manufacturers are creating new fiber systems that bring softness to a whole new level. Mohawk has Smartstrand Silk (a new polymer product that the company says uses three times the number of fibers of other carpet), Invista brings Stainmaster Trusoft and Shaw has Anso Caress (nylon, with a new way of processing the fiber).
These fiber combinations achieve softness in various ways including reducing the denier thickness of the fiber. Additionally, the manufacturers are milling the carpet with more environmentally friendly processes and materials.
The current trend in carpet styles is toward the patterned carpet that is heathered or multi-tonal – the current favorite falls in the category called cut-and-loop, in which the pile is partly cut and partly looped to create a sculpted look or pattern.
In the world of hardwood the trend is a movement into wider and longer planks because of the larger “great room” living spaces being built into new homes – wide planks work much better in open spaces These large, expansive rooms combine family rooms with kitchens or other living areas into one room. There is a growing interest in more exotic wood species like walnut and hickory with color preferences toward darker stains like gray tones.
However, the biggest shift is toward oil finished vs the traditional polyurethane finished hardwood both in prefinished and site finished hardwood flooring. Oil finish hardwood uses oil to penetrate and harden the hardwood so you are living directly on the hardwood. Polyurethane finished flooring provides for several coats of polyurethane on the hardwood to protect the hardwood. Concurrent with the oil finish aspect is an interest in making the hardwood look old and rustic with hand scraped, distressed looks making the hardwood look worn.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
The hottest trend in floor covering is in “luxury vinyl tile” – a type of resilient flooring that is vinyl-based and closely mimics the look of a natural material through realistic images and textures. This vinyl flooring product replaces laminate in terms of performance, durability, luxury and affordability. Technology has given vinyl a vast array of styles, designs and visuals that enables tile, stone and hardwood looks with better performance than laminate. Essentially a digital image of the natural material is layered with a clear film and finish to provide an attractive, durable, and highly versatile floor that combines a natural look with the functionality of modern materials.
In floor coverings, there is always new innovation coming from the manufacturers to meet consumer demands in value, comfort, style and affordability. Stop in at Interiors & Textiles to see the latest trends in floor covering and hear about the latest trends from our in-house designers.