Back to School With Spotlight on Flooring

School is back in session and the last few months have been a flurry of activity for commercial flooring contractors—finishing up installations before the first bell rings. Years ago, K-12 flooring was pretty predictable—VCT tile or sheet vinyl, highly polished, in classrooms and corridors was all that was used. Luckily, those days are gone and design has made its way into the classroom.

Open plan classroomA multitude of teaching styles is what younger grade levels are experiencing: one-on-one teaching, small group learning, and interactive classroom learning. Flooring has had to morph into a functional foundation for these flex-learning environments. Carpet tile has been a huge influence in elementary grade level design. Manufacturers have designed modular systems in coordinating patterns and colors that can be used to create large open areas, as well as delineate areas for small groups. The benefits to modular systems are many: design flexibility (of course); constructions that minimize allergens, acoustic buffering, soft surface comfort, and of course, ease of replacement of damaged tiles.

Student loungeHigher Ed has evolved to a more sophisticated statement in its flooring designs. Wood looks, stone looks, and stunning carpet designs are working together to create attractive environments conducive to learning. This market especially has discovered the aesthetic of wood and stones created in easy-maintenance luxury vinyl tile and planks. The growth of LVT in the higher education sector has been phenomenal. Even student housing on college campuses is striving for a more-homey, upscale feel and LVP has efficiently filled that niche. Once again, the old-school (predictable) days of using VCT throughout classrooms and campus buildings are all but gone.

If you feel a little bit envious of current day students, you are not alone. The institutional classroom looks of our former alma maters can’t begin to compare to the on-trend mix of floor coverings used in today’s educational settings. (Interesting thought: for what is charged for a college education today, no wonder interior design has become such an important part of the competitive landscape for attracting students.) We have to give kudos to the floor covering industry for rising to the ever-changing design challenge.

CMG Color Forecast—Flooring Report Card

CMG Color Forecast—Flooring Report Card
by Annette Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

What good are color projections if they don’t materialize? A vice president of my company recently asked, “What do you CMG people do? Sit in a top-secret room and use a crystal ball to predict colors?” Amusing—NOT. More like a year’s work of regional research to detect shifts and directions in colors. These regional Color Marketing Group ChromaZone meetings culminate in the yearly Summit Meeting of CMG members where all of the information gathered regionally is synthesized and channeled into the final (two-year future) forecast.

So how are we doing based on the color projections I reported to you early this year? Let’s take a look at real-life flooring products and see how we did so far for 2015.

Omega area rug


The Omega area rug available through the Home Decorators Collection hit on color harmonies that used most of the warm colors featured in the 2015-2016 forecast. This is a great example of how the projected colors work well together. Notice the gold colored block is a darker shade of the goldenrod color in the CMG color fan above. Utilizing shades (darker) and tints (lighter) of the base colors gives the palette more range.

Shaw berber Caresse carpet in Mountain Haze


Shaw’s berber construction Caresse carpet in color Mountain Haze picked up the dark purple forecast color. This color was most watched because it was such a deep, saturated hue. No problem, it translated to soft surfaces beautifully.

Esmer Imagine tile


Emser Tile created a fantasy tile that hit the projected blues quite well. This tile to the left is a glass, stone, metal blend called Imagine.

Daltile elemental glass cornflower mosaic


Missing above was one color—the electric blue, which I could not find in the Emser line, but see product to the right, as Daltile picked up the color in their Elemental Glass Cornflower Mosaic.

Amtico luxury vinyl tile


Luxury vinyl tile embraced the new palette with the Amtico Abstract Spectrum collection. Here is a compilation of the colors offered in that collection. See how many of them you can match up to the CMG forecast fan.

Mannington commercial rubber flooring Tic Toc


Mannington Mills has a varied collection of commercial-grade rubber floors. No doubt, the bright pink in the color line-up above was one that was not expected to appear until 2016. But Mannington has already incorporated it into their style “Tic Toc”. Well done. Visit on-line to see the full color range and once again, you will find parallels in the rubber flooring category to most of the forecast colors. (

Casablanca area rug


In conclusion, the handful of colors reported by CMG not singled out for discussion above, ALL came to life in this artistic Casablanca area rug. Who knew that every one of the projected colors could be woven together to produce a masterpiece like this?

Just in case you think manufacturing USA isn’t watching us closely at CMG, we have proof positive that they not only send representatives of their companies to participate in CMG, they wait for our predictions and count on them to create the fresh, colorful products coming your way. Floor coverings and color marketing work hand-in-hand.