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Wood Flooring Becomes More Touchy-Feely

Stina Andersson-Ulmefors, Designer, Kährs, explain why the growing interest in natural materials is such good news for the wood flooring sector::

PEOPLE want surfaces to be more tactile and for floors, in particular, to be more three dimensional. Materials and objects that tell a story are also popular; those with a history, that are natural and unspoilt.

All these elements are having an impact on floor design throughout central Europe and this trend is gaining pace in northern Europe too. This hunger for a natural look hasn’t left more contemporary styles in the shadows.

Trends aren’t as defined as they used to be and different styles are now regularly used alongside each other, to create a more eclectic look. It’s more of a minor contradiction than a clash.

As a global manufacturer, we see how these trends move and differ slightly, from one region to another, and how new influences combine with traditional values. The raw, rustic look that’s so big in the UK and throughout central Europe is spreading to Scandinavia and southern Europe too.

White is popular everywhere but we see, first hand, different interpretations in different areas, For example, a clean, sleek look is still big in Scandinavia but in central Europe, white-washed tones are used in a more rustic way. Meanwhile, in the US, paler shades are a new growing trend.

Another emerging trend is for a natural look, where natural pale wood species – like birch and ash – are used in a more refined way. We might even see a revival of the beech in a few years.

As floors become less of a structural component and more of a design-led product, we’re using our knowledge and expertise to look at materials in new ways. This is certainly a trend that’s going to gain pace in the future, as we all become more eco-focused.

But, we want to ensure that we move forwards, in terms of creativity, style and choice. Today’s wood floors need to tick all of the boxes and, as a designer, that’s a challenge that I relish!

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at