At DOMOTEX 2018, which took place in January in Hannover, the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF) presented topics that were close to them as well as their current strategy concept. Under the banner “European laminate reinvents itself time after time”, the initiative provided interesting insights into trends and developments in the laminate flooring market.
“All around us the market is moving faster than ever, and on an international level in particular, different perceptions of products and quality are causing uncertainty for retailers and end customers. This is where the EPLF is able and willing to provide guidance,” said EPLF Chairman, Ludger Schindler.
EPLF Executive Board Member Paul De Cock said laminate is one of the biggest selling floor coverings in the flooring market, but added that not all laminate is the same. This is the EPLF’s core message to all markets and the organisation’s educational work focuses on helping to separate the wheat from the chaff – to market the distinction between inferior, low-cost products and sustainably produced quality flooring.
Flooring trends continue to shift towards individualisation and customisation
The creative potential of laminate remains infinite and laminate products are constantly developing, both in appearance and in technical terms. High-tech products, advanced technology and the shift towards individualisation and customisation continues to place new demands on flooring design, which is one of the key trends in the laminate flooring sector.
According to the EPLF, customers are becoming more discerning about the type of flooring they purchase: it has to coordinate and harmonise with a variety of furniture and interior design styles, look as natural as possible and at the same time be extremely durable and easy to maintain. The latest trends in interior design are proving to be just as diverse as different lifestyles.
Individualists are opting for modern, authentic-looking flooring
Industrial Chic combines the look of old industrial spaces with urban style elements, whereas Modern Classic focuses on quality and timelessness of interior design – in the spirit of design classics from the 1950s.
Bohemian falls under this category but it is altogether different. The Bohemian trend embraces a colourful mixture of style elements from a variety of cultures. Another trend that continues to remain popular in the laminate flooring market is the country theme with its emphasis on natural elements and regional origin. The Scandinavian style with its clean, sober shapes and light colours is also a firm favourite among clients.
Digitisation leads to changing customer trends
The EPLF says there is a major trend emerging in the era of digitisation: many people want flooring that can “touch and feel”, which has led to customers becoming more aware of the materials used in flooring products. Authenticity has strongly influenced the way new laminate floors are being developed.
Linear and softer vintage looks
The used and vintage looks are still very popular, but the appearance of laminate wood decors is becoming more linear and softer, and textures are used rather less than in the past. Instead of prominent stained and scratched surfaces, some laminate floor coverings feature slight traces of use on the surface instead.
The rustic look has also given way to a new kind of naturalness, namely special surface treatments on laminate planks such as “oiled” and “brushed”.
New interpretations of wood reproduction mimicking maple, acacia, beech, alder, ash, spruce, larch and nutwood are also very attractive. The EPLF notes that pine (which is in fact a softwood) can be used as a realistic-looking laminate décor even in heavily trafficked areas. Staying indisputably in number one position are traditional country-style rustic planks, generously-proportioned both in length and width. This is where realistic-looking wood decors, with their perfectly-reproduced textures and natural play of colours are shown to best advantage.
Modern stone replicas are increasingly finding favour
Modern decors replicating marble, sandstone and slate are becoming increasingly popular in the laminate flooring sector, says the EPLF. These floors have a luxurious and elegant look and feel that is also inspired by nature. Special surface effects such as metallic reflections in gold or bronze are also being incorporated.
Laminates imitating Mediterranean-style mosaics
Laminate decors imitating Mediterranean-style mosaic designs bring colour and flamboyance, and their graphic patterns make them truly eye-catching. As a contrast to matt effects, new supergloss laminate flooring products are now available on the market.
Classic herringbone is enjoying a renaissance
The EPLF says that the classic herringbone pattern is enjoying a renaissance in the laminate flooring sector (much like other sectors in the market).
New “assembly kit” solutions for stairs
There are now “assembly kit” solutions available for laminates that can be used in projects where there are stairs. Thanks to the kits, the chosen design of flooring can run continuously over multiple storeys.
For more information, visit www.eplf.com, to whom full thanks and acknowledgement are given.
Main Photo credit: Swiss Krono
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