Laminate flooring: trends & developments

by Tania Wannenburg
Laminate flooring trends Jnl 4 16

The EPLF highlight numerous trends and developments in laminate flooring.

One of the new interior design trends on international markets can be summarised by the English term “Urban Industrial Interior”: “vintage” currents from urban and industrial fields, but also elements of timeless, modern country-house style merge into a pragmatic and casual living environment.

At Domotex 2016 in Hanover, the EPLF’s European laminate flooring manufacturers and their suppliers presented this attractive flooring style along with innovative pattern developments and special technical features. The new, informal mélange of urban lifestyle and modern country style reflects the developments in the housing market. The continuing exodus from rural areas has meant significant population growth for metropolitan regions. In order to provide much needed living space, even the smallest urban vacant plots are being creatively used in the form of overbuilding. Similarly, residential spaces are being created by gutting and converting vacant industrial buildings.

The materials found in the existing stock, with its “processed” surfaces such as metal, concrete or stone, are then often deliberately utilised in the redesign concept. The new surface finishes designed by laminate flooring manufacturers have been inspired by these characteristic structures, colours and effects, and once again they’re setting the trend on international flooring markets.

Natural play of colours and smoother surfaces

Old and new combine in a mix of styles, a rustic closeness to nature, Mediterranean-inspired lightness or Nordic clarity. However, there is no compromise in the appearance, with an authentic and naturalness being essential for all décors. “Where room size allows, classic laminate floorboards can show off their realistic imitation wood-effect in new, generously wide and longer formats,” says the EPLF.

With a creative mixture of two-strip versions, with floorboards in different colours and wood finishes, individual floors can provide a special atmosphere. Oak remains the wood of choice in laminate floor design due to its versatility in terms of colour and shaping. However, traditional woods such as beech, walnut, pine, elm and ash are also maintaining their place in the current range of décors.

The EPLF states that simple design and harmonious colour combinations determine the current laminate flooring look, with natural shades in bright or soft muted colours such as white, white-glazed, cream, light beige and greige frequently being found in all contemporary furnishing styles. A bright, warm grey has established itself as a neutral, easy to combine flooring colour. The darker laminate décors – with their warm nuances in many shades of brown – create a cosy atmosphere of understated elegance.

However, according to the EPLF, it’s now time for calmer décors to take their place in the collections, although some vintage features such as the rough-sawn effect definitely still have their place. In addition, the particular, innovative, industrial digital printing onto decorative paper allows for a more varied, luminous and multicolour range.

Laminate with the appearance of wood

With the appropriate equipment, low-maintenance and robust laminate floors are suitable for all living and working areas, and they also have new applications in commercial and office spaces and doctor’s surgeries.

“Manufacturers are also able to offer floorboards with integrated sound insulation and useful additional features such as anti-static surfaces, increased protection against micro-scratches using electron-beam technology and special anti-slip surfaces for use in entrance areas and workspaces,” highlights the EPLF. Innovative moisture-protection devices also allow laminate flooring to be laid in bathrooms and kitchens. Finally, patented locking methods ensure that the joints are securely locked.

As such, according to the EPLF, laminate flooring can be used as a warmer alternative to traditional tiling, while being sustainable and offering environmental protection.

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