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A Flooring Designer’s Tips for Finding a New Floor

January 20, 2012 4:57 pm    Posted by sara    Comments (6)

Armstrong Trend-Spotting

Since 2011 has come to a close, “trend-spotting” for 2012 has moved into full gear. This is when designers like me are looking for flooring trends for the year. What’s hot? What colors are in – which are out? Typically, the first quarter of each year is the time when trade shows related to flooring are in full swing – both domestic and international. This is where we find out about new products and show many of our own. In fact, most of the new flooring products you will see in 2012 are being developed and finalized as I type this blog post. It’s exciting to see the floor styles that will be coming to your local flooring store soon!

Where to Start

As you head out this year in search of your new floor, don’t be in a rush. I recommend giving serious thought to the room where your new flooring will be installed. Think about your lifestyle and your interior style of choice – traditional, casual, contemporary or possibly eclectic. Think about color, visual, surface texture, gloss level and format – tile, plank or vinyl sheet. And here’s a consideration many people never think about: what will your flooring look like under the light sources in the room where it will be installed?

The Importance of Lighting

Armstrong Hardwood FlooringI mention lighting because there are so many lighting options, and floors will appear different depending on your light sources. Your options may vary from daylight to a cool white or warm fluorescent bulb and subtle variations of those. To discover how your new flooring will look, I recommend getting samples from your flooring store and viewing them under the different lighting conditions in your room during the day and at night. I also like to evaluate flooring with a “raking” light effect, in a room that may get early sunrise or late day sunset. This will help you evaluate the appropriate gloss level for your environment, and it will also highlight the surface texturing in a detailed fashion. You’ll be surprised by the surface details you may have missed at first glance!

Surface Texturing

A big trend we’ve been seeing in recent years is related to texturing – in floors, in furniture and in textiles. Consumers want to be able to see the texture as well as feel it, and when it comes to flooring, the surface often needs to be realistic – like it came from nature. If you have a “rough and tumble” household, you might want to consider a hand-scraped hardwood floor with strong surface texturing or a vinyl floor with stone-like texturing.

Here’s what I want you to remember when floor shopping: first, consider your lifestyle and your interior decorating style, then take your favorite flooring samples home and look at them under different lighting conditions.

Now you’re ready to go out and look for all those exciting new products! Enjoy your new floor!

Sara Babinski has worked with practically every type of flooring, and is currently the lead designer for our hardwood and laminate flooring products. She received a BFA in Illustration and Design from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Sara likes to blog about how nature influences design and new hardwood and laminate products. Born and raised in the beach community of Sagaponack, New York, she looks for inspiration in the textures and colors found in nature.