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Al's Column: 2016 flooring trends forecast

November 30/December 14; Volume 30/Number 12

By Victoria Redshaw

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 6.27.36 PMAhead of TISE West, we at Scarlet Opus share five key flooring trend forecasts for 2016. In design terms it will be a year of complementary contrasts: unconventional relationships between natural and manmade materials; offbeat layouts that marry old with new; deep textures that play against pleasing smoothness; industrial and geological rawness alongside luxurious refinement.

Hybrids/fusion floor products

Concrete has had a makeover from a bland, everyday building material into a must-have designer component. No other material has experienced such a turnaround in the past decade, inspiring a stream of product developments and applications to be launched.

Now concrete is the focus of a new concept in flooring design that combines graphics to create unique hybrid aesthetics. These products are the perfect flooring solution for interior designers aiming to give hard-edged industrial styles a softer, warmer, rustic appeal.

From the earth

Flooring that has exaggerated, dry, earthen textures and parched surface finishes in a range of sunbaked shades and hazy grays will trend in 2016. The soft striations of light and silver travertine take center stage. Statement geological looks place a focus on marble. Limestone with decorative mineral veins and sandstone with sedimentary layers of gypsum connect interior room schemes to the outdoor landscape. Peppered yarns create grainy colors for rug and carpet effects that reference stone. Tonal mottling and marbleized patterns deliver soft clouds of color to tiles.

Material mash-ups

The mixing of a variety of flooring materials—concrete, stone, wood, carpet, marble and tile—forge new relationships. Intermingled placements, scattered layouts and unexpected zoning transitions break with convention and avoid the obvious. Mix old with new, natural with manmade and hard with soft. Create a flow between areas by making transitions gradual. Changing from one flooring material to the next does not have to mean a straight, neat line.

Tonal mix

Wood flooring plays a key role in answering the consumer desire to interact with natural materials in the home. Wood is familiar, grounding and soothing. For 2016, look for greater mixes of tonality across wood and wood visuals incorporating blonde, mid and dark tones together. It is a reclaimed aesthetic with irregularities, graining and tonal contrasts. Within the bounds of this trend are gray tones, which are proving to have real staying power and are incredibly versatile. Gray is essential to delivering the industrial edge that continues to influence residential and commercial interior design projects. It sets the tone for modern living.

Distressed finishes

The illusion of wear from many years of use, signs of erosion, fine cracks and an uneven patina are characteristics that give the impression flooring products have a story to tell. They are attractively imperfect and have a sense of history that appeals to consumers looking to instill authenticity and texture into their homes. The exploration of texture is a defining element of product design in 2016. From erased sections of pattern on rugs to oxidized metal tiles and deeply weathered wood, stone and porcelain surface finishes that appear to be the result of exposure to the elements, the trend for distressed effects is stronger than ever.