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Design Notebook – What’s Going on With Wood Flooring?

One of the most frequently asked questions by design clients (and friends at parties) is what’s new in the direction of woods for floors and cabinets? It’s true, even when designers are off duty, friends can’t resist the opportunity for a free consultation. It’s okay, because usually it’s just a quick question or two. Honestly, like doctors, when designers are off duty, they really are off duty. We are not rearranging your home in our minds, or creating a mental report card of what was done well (or not). Designers have a well practiced talent of being able to turn off consultation mode.

Given that, this is a great forum to share with you some of the hottest design trends for 2014 and 2015. Just in case you are planning a new wood floor or kitchen cabinets in the near future, here’s what you need to know:

Wood finishes are lightening up for 2014-2015. Weathered gray tones, limed woods, white-washed woods, bleached woods, and raw, natural wood floors are coming on strong.
Wood is evolving to complement contemporary interiors. Hardwoods have been a go-to product for designers for traditional, vintage, classic, and transitional designs for years. But wait—are hardwoods now an option to underscore contemporary interiors? Yes and yes. Manufacturers are introducing new colors and finishes that absolutely underscore contemporary. Modestly grained woods, neutral, calming color stains, and matte or satin top coats are bringing a fresh contemporary perspective to hard wood flooring. This is more than exciting because it’s a new flooring frontier. We’ve seen hand-scraped, wire brushed, smoked, fumed, paint-infused woods. But what we haven’t seen are light, understated, natural woods carefully finished to satiny perfection.
Wider planks are stealing the show. 7”, 8”, 9” planks are big on the home front. The elegant widths show off wood grains to their best advantage.
Cabinets are lightening up as well. Dual wood tones within the kitchen add contrast and interest to interiors. Floors do not have to match cabinets, but should either harmonize or purposely contrast.
Maple woods are the debutante of the season. The warm tones and even grain suits every design from classic to contemporary.
Consumers are concerned with the environment. FSC Certified forests, sustainable resources, and rapidly renewable materials (ex: bamboo) continue to be extremely important.
Well, there you have it. Not necessarily the makings of stimulating party talk, but some down-to-earth trend facts that will give you food for thought.