The Latest Flooring Trends


Natural materials, water-resistant emulators of wood and the continuing influence of gray are among the trends you can expect to see underfoot in 2020.

By Diane Franklin

Something new is afoot! But that’s not unusual in the floor covering industry. Floor covering manufacturers are always developing new options to put beneath consumers’ feet. New colors, new technology and new looks continue to add freshness and excitement to the category. Here are a few trends to watch in 2020.

The Look of Wood

Hardwood has long had appeal for consumers looking for a product that adds warmth, beauty and elegance to their homes. However, real hardwood has a downside in that it can get scuffed up and scratched fairly easily, looking worn over time. That’s why manufacturers are designing other hard-surface flooring choices to emulate the look of wood. You’ll see it in laminates, in vinyl—even in ceramic and porcelain tile. These imposters look like real wood while retaining such benefits as scratch and scuff resistance. Many of the newer vinyls and laminates are waterproof, making them appropriate for use in areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and entryways where water can be a problem and real wood usage is not advisable.

The Look of Carpet

While the look of wood is huge, carpet still retains the majority of the flooring market—and no one expects that to change any time soon. Carpet adds warmth and comfort to a home in a diversity of colors and styles, and recent improvements in water resistance and stain resistance have increased the product’s appeal as an easy-care option for the home. Some experts are pointing at a trend toward the use of layered color and soft texture in carpet, adding more interest and contrast to the room.

The Look of Gray

Gray is huge in virtually every aspect of home décor, so of course, the color is big in flooring as well. Carpet trends are favoring grays over other neutrals, such as beige, taupe and off-white. However, the diversity of color options in carpet means that you might be more inclined to see blues, greens, yellows—possibly even deep, sophisticated reds.

Hardwood floors and those products that emulate hardwoods likewise are trending toward grays. This look is evident in the popular coastal look that prominently features weathered gray as well as in the industrial looks favored by young, urban apartment dwellers. For those who are not big on gray, you’ll be heartened to know that other light hues also are trending among hardwood/faux hardwoods. Expect to see such colors as white, blonde and honey in the hard-surface flooring category.

The Look of Texture

Texture is another look you’ll see incorporated in hard-surface floor covering. Smooth floors won’t go completely away, but homes will see a lot more hard-surface floors emulating the look of distressed, hand-scraped or reclaimed floors.

Carpet likewise is starting to favor more textured trends. Soft carpet will always be a huge draw for consumers, but textured and ribbed options are increasingly finding their niche in the home.

The Look of Nature

Many of the trends mentioned above are in keeping with the continuing popularity of natural looks in flooring—even if those looks are not always achieved with natural materials. However, there are a variety of natural materials, such as cork and brick, that are starting to trend upward along with the use of wood.

In the carpet and area rug categories, natural fibers are part of this trend, with such choices as sisal, jute and wool being among the materials of choice.

The natural trend is being seen not only in the fiber options for area rugs but also in the design themes that are gaining in popularity, with such patterns as animal prints and florals being very much in evidence for the coming year. However, other patterns, such as geometrics and blocks of color, will remain popular choices for area rugs.

In 2020 and beyond, area rugs will continue to be a major part of the flooring market. With the desirability of wood being a major theme, the use of area rugs to soften the look—and warm our feet—will always have tremendous appeal.

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