Stay a step ahead in the style stakes

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The popularity of hardwood flooring shows no signs of slowing, with research highlighting that the market is currently said to be 16% of the total £1.8 billion flooring sector. Here, we explain the current trends influencing the flooring market, and what options are available to specifiers. 

For many years, the housing sector has been quick to select hardwood flooring for a variety of projects due to its durability and high-end finish, and now we are beginning to see commercial markets following suit. With forecasters also noticing a shift from the previously favoured glossy laminates to hardwood, there is a clear demand for more luxurious finishes. 

Perceived as a better long-term investment, thanks to its durable properties and overall ‘lifetime’ performance, end users across the commercial and domestic sectors are more willing to pay the initial capex cost. But want design challenges and opportunities does this shift toward higher-graded materials bring and how can specifiers capitalise on this trend? 

Specifiers will be familiar with the quality of hardwood but now when specifying for domestic or commercial projects hardwood flooring can deliver on both substance and style, achieving a more authentic, high-end finish. 

One style in particular, that is coming to the forefront of the flooring sector, is the wide plank design. An ideal solution for contemporary builds, this option provides a design which is very likely to stand the test of time according to flooring professionals, with many manufacturers choosing to continually create wider and longer planks, and will do so for the foreseeable future.

 Selecting wide plank flooring offers the ability to create the illusion of space, a particularly useful feature in smaller areas, helping to make a dramatic difference to the overall finish of a project. By combining this with a lighter shade of hardwood it can help create the feeling of light and space in any area, offering a perfect base for a contemporary design project. This offers a more stylish alternative to the traditional dark hardwood tones, which can potentially look outdated with modern interiors or can make a space appear smaller than it is.

 With all this in mind, wide plank flooring is an ideal solution for specifiers wanting to achieve a more up to date and fresher look for the final finish of a project, offering a high quality, yet modern take on the traditional hardwood flooring style. 

However, traditional design schemes are still very popular in both commercial and domestic sectors, with bars and restaurants often following a more rustic design scheme. A style that has recently had a major revival is one of the flooring markets most decorative designs; parquet. This unique, and typically traditional design, has recently been updated to form a stylish and design-conscious alternative, with a variety of shades and patterns to suit a wide range of projects and specifications. 

Not only does parquet flooring have an unprecedented quality that will have the similar ‘lifetime’ value of hardwood, the unusual block pattern design is an ideal solution for specifiers looking to leave an impression, as it creates a distinctive finish and flexible design options. 

Although parquet has an altogether traditional look, updates to the shades and patterns used now means it has become a firm favourite for interior designers, making it a suitable style for both older and more contemporary projects. This provides specifiers with the option to choose a style that can suit any interior, and not look out of place. Alongside this, single block thickness could be selected, and this will help to make a truly unique mix and match of colours and shades, offering commercial settings with a unique design to suit the intended look and feel. 

Alongside selecting the perfect style, utilising colours and shades is also an effective way for specifiers to maximise on style, without compromising on quality. Interior design trend forecasters are heavily focusing on a transition from softer, pale woods towards darker statement flooring. Dark wood flooring is certainly a statement in any space, but with demand for espresso and ebony shades continually increasing, it appears that the market desires these darker shades, ultimately to create a luxurious look. By combining these darker shades with a light interior colour palette, the depth of the flooring can be emphasised, and is a perfect way to contrast with the dark hardwood flooring selected. 

One important factor to also consider when it comes to finalising flooring options is choosing the most suitable finish for the space. Brushed and oiled UV finishes continue to remain as popular as ever, being designed to provide stability and durability, but also allowing the client to see the true character within the wood. End users often prefer the authentic look of a textured finished flooring, and this shows no sign of losing its appeal, providing a perfect solution for specifiers looking for a style to stand the test of time. 

By opting for hardwood flooring for any upcoming projects, instead of cheaper alternatives, specifiers will be providing end users with a durable and up to date finish. The design options now available in hardwood flooring, including both wide planks and parquet, can help to provide end users with the quality of hardwood but with the flexibility and style choices of laminates.