Latest Flooring Designs Take Inspiration From Fashion Runways

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World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) Provides Trend Report from Premiere Floor Covering Show

With today's economic challenges, people everywhere are focusing more on their home environments and creature comforts

If the devil wears Prada, then the fashion-conscious demon must walk on animal prints, nude tones, layered looks and leather. For these are just some of the hottest trends in flooring uncovered by the World Floor Covering Association's fashion scouts at this year's Surfaces - one of the home market's top international trade shows - which took place in Las Vegas in February this year.

WOOD AND BAMBOO TRENDS
There were no limits at Surfaces when it came to treatments in wood. High-gloss piano-finish floors that reveal your reflection were seen. As were innovative wood tiles in a surprising variety of whimsical shapes and sizes, including Tetris patterns, puzzle pieces, bricks and even fish scales! New wood surface stains now offer 0% VOC, no off gassing, are non-toxic and of all things, are even edible. Another new process extends the lifespan of hardwood floors with stains that run throughout the wear layer resulting in a highly durable floor that offers everlasting beauty that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Bamboo floors were also a hit at the show with one company presenting an assortment of oil-finished "woven" bamboo floors infusing cork strands for added dimension, anti-bacterial properties, soundproofing and insulation.

CARPET TRENDS
Carpet and area rugs were all about texture this year -- from shag to loops to contemporary felt discs. Also fashionable are rugs and carpets bound with a hint of metallic fiber just to catch the eye. Animal and nature-inspired looks are also the rage, including panther and leopard skin, tropical leaf and flower patterns, tree textures and tribal designs.

In addition to eco-friendly products, manufacturers were paying close attention this year to allergen reducing products and manufacturing methods. One new line includes a broad selection of carpets that incorporates silver and zinc release, which offer the strongest anti-bacterial technology on the market. Another company debuted new friezes using dye-accented color choices achieved through an eco-friendly solution that saves water and is zero-effluent into streams.

One earth-friendly standout at the show was a new shag carpet made with 80% bamboo fiber yarn and 20% cotton. It has the look and feel of silk without the price tag.

TILE TRENDS
As in the wood and laminate categories, high sheen and transparent shine were the hot trends in the tile category. Long, thin rectangular tiles reminiscent of flowing streams were seen, as well as tiles made from authentic crystal and semi-precious stones. New heat slumped glass tiles impart a sculpted, embossed effect giving the illusion of raindrops on the surface, linen textures, crinkled fabric, sand and slate effects.

LAMINATE TRENDS
The hottest trend in laminates this year was highly reflective, glossy finishes in exotic wood formats, as well as stone looks with "natural" embossed patterns and beveled edging. A brand new introduction includes a hybrid product containing natural cork, leather and linoleum surface-treatments that are stabilized on planks.

RESILIENT TRENDS
New resilient products, including vinyl, cork, leather and linoleum, offered not only environmentally friendly introductions, but product launches that were also easy to clean and offered healthful benefits.

One new launch in the linoleum category achieved the Asthma and Allergy Friendly certification mark -- which has never been given to a flooring product before. Another debut was a cork and linoleum hybrid called Corkoleum. It is an eco-friendly alternative to vinyl and laminate flooring that is resilient, warm, scratch and abrasion resistant, and easy to clean and maintain. 100% recycled leather planks were also presented in a broad spectrum of natural shades and textures -- from glossy bright red crocodile to supple lizard.

"With today's economic challenges, people everywhere are focusing more on their home environments and creature comforts," said Christopher Davis, President and Chief Executive Officer of the WFCA. "Manufacturers across the globe have listened to customers and have delivered an array of introductions that are certain not to disappoint."

The WFCA's website - WFCA.org -- offers detailed information about these flooring categories. In addition, the website provides answers to the most common floor covering questions. Visitors can also find detailed information and practical tips on every flooring category available, including carpet, hardwood, laminate, ceramic, porcelain, resilient, vinyl, cork, stone and area rugs. An overview of each category provides the pros and cons, a product catalog, manufacturing details, varieties and styles available, things to consider before purchase and how to prepare for installation.

When it's time to buy floors, WFCA.org offers a searchable database of reputable WFCA retail members across the country. All a user needs to do is enter their zip code to receive a list of suppliers in their area.

The WFCA, official sponsor of Surfaces, is the floor covering industry's largest advocacy organization, representing floor covering retailers, contractors and allied service providers throughout North America. For more information about the WFCA, visit WFCA.org and WFCA-PRO.org.

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