Scratching the Surfaces of Today’s Floor Coverings
Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Case in point: Earlier this month, the world’s largest annual floor covering trade show, Surfaces, introduced the latest and greatest in flooring fashions to the industry. It’s no secret that manufacturers from around the globe convened at the Sands Convention Center to debut thousands of new floor covering looks and styles. Everything from glazed Moroccan tiles to hand-chiseled hardwood was exhibited for industry attendees hungry to witness the latest trends firsthand.
Though the trade show spanned more than four football fields in size, the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) — an impartial flooring industry association dedicated to providing consumers the information, service and support needed to ensure a successful floor covering purchase experience — explored every square inch of the showroom and reported back what you can expect to see under your feet this year. Are you looking for renewable and environmentally friendly flooring material? Then check out this cork floor tiles Sydney for great help!
Overall, the biggest floor covering trends include vibrant colors, plush textures, decadence and distinction, including customized rugs that are works of art in themselves. Tiles designed for offices, dens and bathroom floors were presented in a wide variety of materials, including glass, porcelain, cement, rubber, pony hair (yes, pony hair!) and brightly colored aluminum from such manufacturers as Venice Art Tiles (www.venicearttiles.com) and Johnsonite (www.johnsonite.com). Many manufacturers displayed one-of-a-kind pieces. Hand painted tiles that spanned from a half-inch to a full foot were shown in a variety of settings. There were also leather tiles in flat jewel tones and animal prints for those empty nesters looking to bring a little spice into their lives.
Carpets and area rugs were displayed in nearly every color, material and look imaginable – for example, hand woven silk at Oriental Weavers (www.orientalweavers.com). If all this sounds expensive, think again. There were stylish products for every budget. Topping the charts were gorgeous, highly detailed, pure wool rugs from New Zealand (www.woolsnz.com). Available in a variety of shades, textures and patterns, these carpets and rugs were truly a feast for the eyes. However, retailing at $30 or more a square foot they are not for everyone.
Synthetic silks, cottons and other animal fibers were shown in tight weaves, thick shag with strands wider than a half inch, long feathery tufts that came in shades of fluorescent pink, emerald green and bright yellow — amusingly reminiscent of fluffy doll hair. As in years past, banana leaf and sisal were also shown in abundance. Basket weaves and knotted rugs appeared on patios, in living rooms and sun rooms.
Woods from such exotic locales as South America and Thailand were exhibited by the likesAnderson (www.andersonfloors.com), among other manufacturers, in wide planks, reclaimed antique – even stalks laid side by side. Many companies touted their efforts to create sustainable flooring and replenish the forests by planting trees in the names of each customer that makes a purchase.
In addition, a number of manufacturers offered a wide variety of “green” products including cork, bamboo and linoleum. Only the bark is extracted to create cork floors, meaning that the tree is left completely intact. Cork comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. Bamboo has been on the floor covering scene for a number of years, but recent advancements present the product in finer detail and darker shades. Linoleum, which has been enormously popular for well over a century, is manufactured from renewable resources, such as linseed oil, resin, wood floor, cork powder and pigments. Linoleum’s durability — up to 40 years as flooring — makes it very suitable for high traffic areas. It is also naturally biodegradable, meaning it won’t add to waste problems. And because linoleum is naturally anti-bacterial, there are no chemical agents needed in its manufacture or maintenance. It’s available in almost every shade on the color wheel, which also lends to its long popularity.
With all of these exciting new products (and thousands more) to choose from, how do you, the consumer, decide between carpet and tile; hardwood and stone; linoleum and laminate? When there are so many categories, colors and styles available, selecting a floor covering can be a very daunting task.
There are a few important factors to consider when selecting your floor covering: How will the room be used? Will there be much foot traffic? Does the material need to be waterproof? And, of course, among other considerations, what is your budget?
To ease the process of navigating the floor covering maze, the WFCA offers consumers an educational website, featuring detailed information about every kind of flooring available, as well as the pros and cons of each. In addition, users can mix and match a wide variety of floor coverings in various room settings. Another interactive component allows you to install the floor covering of your choice in a variety of virtual rooms. Using this helpful feature, you can see for yourself the effect that different floors have on the same space.
When you visit the site, you can also create your own online floor covering notebook with information on the floor coverings that best suit your lifestyle and taste. To ease the buying process, you can even send your personalized notebook to an authorized retailer in your area for further assistance.
“The process of selecting floor covering is challenging for anyone – including those of us in the industry. There are endless choices available,” said Chris Davis, Chief Executive Officer, World Floor Covering Association. “WFCA.ORG was designed to enable consumers to visualize a variety of flooring options in virtual spaces similar to their own and in so doing, make intelligent and informed decisions.”
They say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but when it comes to the flooring trends presented at this year’s Surfaces trade show, thankfully, that’s not the case!
For more information visit www.wfca.org.
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