Industry experts agree that homeowners are seeking flooring materials that answer their personal needs and that may have been given a special treatment to make them unique in design and/or texture.
Whether you’re attracted to fumed wood, blanched flooring, textured tile, or tile that closely resembles wood, you are looking for new and exciting options, as long as they are aesthetically pleasing, durable, and easy to maintain.
“We see increased desire for durability and low maintenance,” says Kate Fudim of Beth Haley Design. “For clients looking for hardwoods, we see a renewed interest in hardwoods rather than engineered hardwood because they last longer and can be refinished,” she says.
Marcelle Gilbeau of Marcelle Gilbeau Interior Design says, “There has always been a demand in flooring for natural materials such as marble, slate, and wood. Today we’re seeing such a wide range of options being selected depending on how the rest of the home is being designed.”
The rise of websites and apps like Instagram, and Pinterest has given homeowners more immediate access to design ideas than in the past, according to Kristin Fitzgerald of Southern Oaks. “They often show us photos of spaces they’ve seen online. By the time they contact us, many homeowners already have an idea of the look they want, and they hire us to help them achieve that in their own home. Others don’t want to replicate what they’ve seen; they want floors that are completely unique to them and their house, whether that is a custom color, pattern, or border.”
The finishes and stains on wood flooring range from dark Brazilian maple to bleached white oak and everything in between, Gilbeau says. “We’re also seeing lots of textures and patterns in flooring from mixing hardwoods in various sizes to add depth and character. Beautifully stained concrete floors and stamped concrete tile. Flooring can be the featured element in a room and bring the ‘wow’ factor with pops of color in dramatic finishes.”
Speaking for Crossville Tile, Irene Williams says the popularity of tile has consistently risen for the past five years. “Homeowners are feeling more bold in selecting superior materials and they’re inspired by the tile they see used in inspirational scenarios through social media and on home improvement shows.
“Trends in tile flooring include use of graphic patterns, wood-look tiles, use of tile throughout a home, geometric shapes, and welcoming colors, including the warming of neutrals,” Williams says. ”Tiles with wood-like appearances are being incorporated throughout the home, and are also being paired with real wood and carpet to offer the looks and performance the homeowners want for their cherished spaces.”
Rachel Rojas of Interior Creations by Rachel says tile that appears to be wood planks is popular in the bathroom because people love the look but don’t want to worry about upkeep and moisture problems with hardwood flooring in that space. She adds that plank style luxury vinyl flooring is also is a hot trend because it looks great and wears very well.
Many homeowners aspire to own solid hardwood flooring for its authenticity, timelessness and durability, according to Vickie Freas of LTC Team/Parks Realty. “Solid hardwood flooring is constructed with 100% hardwood and each plank is a single solid piece. A primary source for hardwood wood is the Appalachian region. If solid hardwood flooring is damaged you can sand and finish it multiple times.
“You’ll find a huge selection among hardwoods to bring to life your personal style and décor, from traditional hardwood to on-trend colors to hand-scraped wood,” says Freas. “The most popular size in wide plank solid flooring is 5-inch, a moderate width that strikes a balance between the extra wide-plank trend and classic looks.”
Megan Jones of LTC Team/Parks Realty says, “Hardwood flooring remains the most popular choice because it is timeless and easy to clean.
“Today, pre-finished hardwood floors are a hot item,” says Jones. “Engineered hardwood floors are easier to install and more affordable than solid hardwoods.” Some engineered hardwood flooring may allow you to sand and refinish once or twice, but use caution as sanding may strip the floor down to the plywood beneath the finished layer.
Homeowners are interested in everything, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding the right balance and solution for their home, says Fulim. “Nobody wants to sacrifice appearance for durability it they don’t have to, and nobody wants to forsake ease of maintenance for aesthetics. Fortunately with increasing technology and new manufacturing processes, we see more and more products on the market that check all the boxes.
“At the same time, classic flooring materials such as solid hardwoods, either new or reclaimed, are gaining traction as homeowners gravitate toward the organic look of wood and embrace the overall long life cycle of the product,” says Fulim.
Fitzgerald reports white oak has taken over red oak as the most popular choice in hardwood flooring. “It’s widely available like red oak, but has a more neutral tone that works within most home designs. Our customers tend to choose colors at extreme ends of the spectrum—either a completely natural, lighter finish or a rich, dark tone. Reactive treatments, which use chemicals to change the color of the wood itself (rather than simply staining on top of it), are gaining favor as well.”
Regarding carpet trends, Fulim says more and more people are shying away from carpet for issues related to allergies and durability. “For some clients, we recommend natural fiber carpets as a way to preserve indoor air quality and add longevity to the installation,” she says. “Other clients may opt for carpet tiles, as they are the easiest to maintain when pets and children are in the home. Overall, carpet is a great choice for homeowners but it is certainly not right for everyone.”
Experts agree they are seeing fewer homeowners planning carpeting throughout the second floor. “As a result we have started sourcing more and more area rugs to help soften bedroom spaces,” says Fulim. She adds that hardwoods are being used throughout many homes, sometimes instead of carpet and tile is being used in entryways, kitchens, and bathrooms.
All flooring types compete in the areas of price, durability, and aesthetics. Homeowners seeking well-priced options can select options to protect their bottom line, while those with concerns about maintenance and durability can choose strong products that offer ease and add lasting value to a home. For clients more aesthetically-minded, the sky is the limit in terms of design. u
There are a number of sources for flooring in the Nashville area including:
Beth Haley Design
Decorating Den Interiors
Interior Creations by Rachel
Spring Hill, TN
Marcelle Gilbeau Inteiror Design
Prestige Granite & Marble
Southern Oaks Flooring