While hardwoods remain a perennially popular flooring choice, other materials are making inroads with an increased interest in tile and luxury vinyl tile both of which today carry abstract patterns inspired by nature.
The popularity of grey as a new classic color can be found in all flooring materials, and may in part explain the continued interest in concrete floors in urban-look homes.
Townhomes being built by Carbine & Associates in The Nations neighborhood feature concrete floors and engineered, hand-scrapped acacia wood. “Concrete has a great industrial vibe and is modern and different, according to Kristen Carbine. “It’s easy to clean, durable, and is popular with millennials and young professionals.”
Amanda Sweeney of Just Design This adds that many urban homeowners “like to be edgy hipsters and love concrete floors.” She notes that many homeowners prefer “green” choices that are non-toxic and durable, and those that are harvested, recycled, or reclaimed. Hardwoods, bamboo, and cork flooring are popular green choices, she says, and natural stone tile may be top choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
Parquet, long associated with a particular style of floors built from small squares of hardwood strips, is taking on a broader meaning in today’s flooring market. Today’s parquet can be found in herringbone and chevron patterns and might incorporate color in new ways.
Lindsay Meacham of Red Rock Tileworks says she sees a fusion of wood, tile, rugs and laminate, with ceramic flooring as one of the most durable options. “We love the look and warmth of wood and the texture of fabric, and with the advancement of High Definition printing you can have both,” says Meacham. “You can find patterns from nature, including wood grain, as well as watercolor brush strokes and canvas textures are printed on porcelain tile for unique looks.”
In agreement is Camille Elvord of Florim USA Tile Outlet who says that while the last decade has seen many changes in the flooring market, nothing compares to the introduction of wood-look porcelain. “This innovative product possesses the beauty and warmth of wood with the durability and price point of porcelain,” she says.
And while the increased interest in wood grain look tile has led to new sizes, wider tile planks, and similar looks, Florim has introduced longer, narrower planks, some as long as 48 inches by three inches wide.
Elvord says today’s homeowners can find an overwhelming variety of flooring. “Whether they want shabby-chic or vintage, ultra-modern industrial or luxurious, there are tile choices to meet their wishs,” she says. “Sizes range from 1-inch squares to large format slabs up to five feet by 10 feet.
Homeowners, according to Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors, will want to chose a flooring style that is compatible with their home style, their furnishings, and their lifestyle. “We still see a lot of new ‘hardwood’ floors going into homes—wood is a natural look, it is neutral, and works well with many styles of furnishings,” says Jones. She adds that porcelain tile is popular in bathrooms, and wider plank flooring has gained interest. “But remember the scale of your room when selecting material widths.”
Matt Gaudioso of Floorz reports he, too, sees a mix of flooring preferences, but most clients choose hardwoods or tile. “We get a lot of requests for tiles that resemble marble and wood,” Gaudioso says. “And carpet is still very popular for bedrooms in many cases. But in our area, harwood flooring is the number one choice for hard surfaces.”
In agreement about the importance of hardwood flooring is Gail Adkins of Change Magic Interior Consulting, who says her clients prefer wood in most areas except kitchens and baths, where they tend to choose tile. “On tile and wood floors, rugs are used to add a soft touch, to reduce noise levels, and to create new color schemes from room to room,” she says.
Jerome Farris of Peddler Interiors, notes that he too sees hardwood as the consistent choice for Middle Tennessee custom homes and remodeling projects. “The layering of rugs is an element that brings warmth and personality to a space,” Farris says. “We can layer a polypropylene rug in a sisal weave with a cowhide rug for a one-of-a-kind look. And I particularly recommend propylene area rugs on top of hardwoods for homeowners with beloved pets. They’re clean, affordable, and very pet friendly, and are a fun, trendy option in home flooring,” he adds.
Echoing the thoughts of others is Kay Dlugonski of Georgia Carpet, who says, “We find there are four main flooring options that homeowners choose. Hardwood is here to stay, it is durable and low maintenance. Engineered planks—which are more moisture resistant—ensure return on investment when a home is sold. And luxury vinyl planks and tile (LVP and LVT) Luxury Vinyl Planks and Tile are a great choice offering a wide variety of price points and looks.” She adds that carpet is available in different textures and provides softness and warmth for bedrooms and family rooms.
Dlugonski says that in an urban setting choices are frequently a more modern look, a luxury vinyl tile, concrete, or a floor that is smooth. “In a suburban area, we see more rustic wood, carpet in bedrooms, and tile in bathrooms and kitchens,” she notes.
Carol Carter of Carol Carter Designs reports she recently discovered a greatly improved vinyl plank flooring at a flooring expo. “In the past I have been anti-vinyl anything but then I stumbled upon several American manufacturers displaying improved vinyl flooring products. What first caught my eye was the realistic wood appearance of the vinyl plank flooring.”
In addition, the choices included multiple shades of hand scrapped textures, worn antique tones of all colors, dark and refined styles, warm natural honey textures, gray and grainy looks, and so many more selections, Carter notes. “Another value was the varied plank widths 3-in. to 7-in. and the availability of tile sizes and patterns in lots of gorgeous patterns and colors.”
Explaining that the attraction of the new vinyl products couples the aesthetic qualities with benefits such as the thicker material which provides a softer resilient feel and eliminates the need for a prep underlayment which makes installation quicker and less costly.
The most common mistake homeowners make when shopping for flooring, according to the experts, is failing to understand that a finished floor is only as good as the subfloor upon which it is installed. “Underlayment, backer boards, waterproofing membranes, and other floor prep materials lack the ‘sexiness’ of finished flooring but are as important, if not more important, than the finished flooring,” says Elvord.
Dlugonski says homeowners need to consider which flooring products are suitable for their subfloor.
There are a number of sources for flooring in the Nashville area including:
Carol Carter Interior Design
Carbine & Associates
Change Magic Interior Consulting
Decorating Den Interiors
Just Design This
Prestige Granite & Marble
Red Rock Tileworks
Stalwart Systems USA
Tennesseee Stone Care