Despite the wealth of home flooring options available for every room in your house there is one material that stands head and shoulders above the others in terms of popularity and that material is wood. Renewable, stylish and hard wearing wood continues to be the aspirational floor of choice for the majority of homeowners.
In this Home Flooring Pros guide we look at why wood continues to be so popular and examine the latest trends in hardwood flooring (2016) to help you find the perfect match for you and your family. Click here to go straight to our Solid Hardwood Flooring Guides. To get a quote from local hardwood flooring installers and contractors in your area click here.
Exotic Hardwoods – Homeowners looking to install something distinctive and unique need look no further than exotic hardwoods. The unusual grain patterns within these woods matched with exciting color tones make these imported woods an upmarket favorite. While great strides have been made in ensuring that imported exotic hardwood comes from ethical renewable sources please be aware that many exotics do not. Look for products bearing the logos of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) for peace of mind. Alternatively consider a domestic hardwood product that has been manufactured to mimic the look of an exotic.
Vintage Style – By far the clearest trend in hardwood flooring today is a move towards an authentic “old-world” look. The previous trend for highly polished, flawless floors is over in favor of any, and all, vintage styles that reflect or imitate the traditional techniques and styles of the past.
- Reclaimed Wood – Even more distinctive, and unquestionably more Eco-friendly, reclaimed wood is also very much in vogue right now. Solid hardwood sourced from old beams, old antique flooring or logs salvaged from rivers and lakes make for a real ‘one of a kind’ floor. Reclaimed lumber screams character.
- Distressed Wood Flooring – The trend for reclaimed wood has been strong since the 1990’s and high production costs mixed with a growing scarcity of supply makes it an expensive option. If you are looking for a similar vintage effect at a lower price then the new trend towards distressed wood planks will work for you.
- Hand Scraped Wood Flooring – The middle ground between authentic reclaimed timber and machine distressed wood flooring can be found in the popular trend of hand scraped wood floors. Again the result is a floor that looks old and worn, imitating the uneven marks and scrapes that were characteristic of traditional handcrafted wood planks. It should be noted that you can buy actual hand scraped wood from companies like Homerwood or machine produced flooring with a hand scraped effect.
- Wide Width Planks – The final piece in the vintage style jigsaw is the trend towards wider plank width in hardwood floors. Wider planks are defined as anything over the standard 5 inches. When choosing solid hardwood be aware that the wider the plank the more susceptible it is to changes in temperature and humidity, if this could be an issue for you then consider engineered hardwood.
Engineered and Prefinished Flooring – Yes, solid hardwood flooring can be re-sanded more often than engineered hardwood and yes, there are some small differences aesthetically but the pros of engineered prefinished flooring are starting to sway opinion. Ease and speed of installation, greater dimensional stability and tougher factory finishes are just some of the reasons homeowners are turning to prefinished and engineered products. A word of warning, as with all flooring, you get what you pay for. Don’t choose an engineered wood product just because it’s cheap, the chances are it will be of inferior quality with a short lifespan. If budget is your problem take a look at the laminate flooring options.
Parquet Wood Flooring – In the quest for an original and individual wood floor look, designers and in turn manufacturers are revisiting the sophistication of parquet wood floor patterns. Contemporary takes on traditional patterns are becoming increasingly popular and artistic parquet in the form of detailed and creative inlays, medallions and borders are seeing a resurgence. For the truly aspirational, a new breed of designers are having fun with some really beautiful modern patterns. Take a look at our parquet flooring trends blog post here and our definitive guide to parquet flooring.
Colors and Tones – Hardwood color trends are harder to pin down for the simple reason that you now have so many options; it’s no longer necessary to confine yourself to just dark brown or light brown. Installing unfinished floors allow you to pick a stain color to suit your décor. And you’re not short of choice with prefinished floors either. Shades of yellow, orange red and black are all popular. Pale woods in whites and greys make for a really light and elegant look and get our vote for 2013. Finally the grade of your wood impacts the overall look of your floor and lower grade wood is increasingly popular because it gives a more natural or vintage appearance. Click here for more on understanding wood floor grades.
Bamboo and Cork Flooring – The importance we now place on renewable, green and environmentally friendly products has meant a sea change in the way we look at our flooring too. While many domestic hardwoods are now produced through sustainable farming you still can’t get greener than bamboo and cork. And for a time bamboo and cork flooring products were playing catch up in terms of style and durability, but your choices today are varied, beautiful and hard wearing and this reflects the growing popularity of this flooring. You just need to be aware that, unlike hardwood floors, you can’t refinish bamboo and cork.
Update for 2016
Trends in flooring don’t change over night in the same way clothing fashion trends do. The process is far more gradual with some trends staying around for decades. While the above information is still applicable as we enter 2015, interior design is such a hot topic that its always worth keeping an eye on what’s hin and what’s out.
Here are a few of the new trends that are starting to emerge as we enter the new year:
Wider and wider – The popularity of wider and longer wood planks continues with 5 inch wide planks now beginning to look like the preferred minimum width and 7 inch planks and over, with lengths up to 6 feet, starting to become sought after.
Not Too Stressed – Handscrapped planks are still in vogue, but manufacturers are seeing a move to towards a more delicate and restrained effect as opposed to the heavily distressed look.
Site Finished Floors – Pre-finished floors may be cheaper and easier to install but the industry is seeing a move towards site finished hardwood floors. There are two reasons for this, firstly site finished floors have cleaner, smooth edges that look…well, more authentic than the micro beveled edges of pre-finished floors. Secondly site-finished floors give homeowners the opportunity to stain their wood any color they wish.
New Color Tones – You can read our latest article on hardwood color trends for 2014 to get a fuller picture on the direction of interior design ideas this year. In a nutshell…
Black/Dark Floors – Those who want the sophistication of wood while still looking for a strong, modern look are moving towards very dark brown or black flooring.
Grey – There’s no sign yet that the popularity of grey is on the wain, expect it to feature strongly again this year.
Brown or Natural Blond – Where homeowners are looking to make color and design statements elsewhere in their rooms (say furnishings or walls) the move is towards more traditional wood floors and that means brown or or very light natural blonde colored wood flooring.