Flooring Design Trends: DESIGNER UPDATE MID-2016

We are halfway through the year (unbelievable!) and it is time to audit design trends as to what’s Smoking hot | floortalk.wfca.org—– right here, right now.

To keep on top of emerging design trends, I include high-end model home tours in my research, along with international updates from Color Marketing Group. After so many years of trend spotting, I can identify new directions easily and often see parallels from one set of models to another—all done by different award-winning design firms.

Here is what’s on top of the HOT list —–


Smoking Hot Design Trends | Floortalk.WFCA.orgWithout a doubt, this could be the trend of the year. Opening up living spaces to incorporate the beauty of outdoors expands livable square footage of the home, but also provides a resort-like environment. Retractable glass walls provide the ability to do that, and the outdoors is being “designed” with as much detail to attention as the home itself. Infinity pools, multi-level seating areas, gourmet outdoor kitchens, and YES, even under-the-stars outdoor beds are being featured.


The designers are investing big in kitchen areas; sometimes incorporating double islands to provide more work space as well as bar-height eating areas. Mixing woods (white cabinets, painted islands in deeper color) is being featured. Lighting has become the crown jewel of the kitchen, starring art-form lighting as well as functional recessed ceiling lighting. Appliances in these million dollar homes are over the top!! If you think what kind of car you drive establishes your status, think again. $10,000 brand name ranges and tech-smart refrigerators have now laid claim to how successful you are. Why stop there? Wine refrigerators (if not an entire chilled wine cellar) are inclusive in high-end design.


Of course you have heard this before from me, and I do get a certain amount of glee in seeing predictions come true. And boy has this one superseded my expectations. Grounded neutral colors with splashes of your favorite colors are the guideline for the new design era, but the interest in each room is derived by mixing and layering textures! Natural woods, sleek countertop materials, metallic touches, wall finishes in interesting materials—these are just a few of the iconic treatments I am seeing.


Ease of maintenance is having an impact on floor coverings. Factor in the first design hotspot in this article (outdoors becomes indoors) and I am seeing applications of honed stones for floors, as well as tons of reclaimed or new hardwoods that contribute to high-texture. Carpet is important in restful areas, and carpet manufacturers are designing textured carpets (with sculpted patterns) that can rival the beauty of any hard surface. It’s time to shop carpet if you’ve been away from the buying market for a while. You will be stunned to see the amazing styles now available, with new technologies that qualify carpet as an “easy-maintenance floor covering”.


Sleek, contemporary seems to be a favorite with high-end model home designers. Not cold—not by any means. Contemporary tempered with exciting textural finishes is warm and welcoming.

Italianate style design has refreshed the Tuscan style. Those influences are homey and timeless.

Themed designs for children’s bedrooms have captivated my interest. This is where designers go a little wild with imagination. Baseball themes, castle-style beds, London Bridge murals and accessories, Alice in Wonderland exaggerated furnishings, a budding writer’s retreat—those are just a few of the themes chosen for the high-end models.


I did mention earlier that rich neutrals seem to be the foundation colors for walls and floors. But let’s not mistake the new palette for model homes to be bland. Well chosen accent walls, area rugs, accessories, lighting, wall treatments introduce wonderful colors to these homes. Blues are rampant—everything from sea blues to deep cobalt are trending. Yellow and gray seem to have an important position in the emerging palettes. Also important are touches of coral and red. Favorite neutrals included: black and white (of course), gray, caramel brown, gray-green, taupes and tans. Don’t forget the vivid accent colors to bring your neutrals to life if you do choose a monochromatic color scheme.

Well, there you have the inside story on design making headlines. This is my favorite subject and I can go on, but word-count limits me. I promise you a Part II to this subject, but only if you leave me a comment right on this website. I need to know you are out there reading, enjoying, and that you want more…..

Design From a French Perspective

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder CMG
Design associates at Kontor in New York City (specialists in workplace design) flew to Paris in January for the Maison+Objet show and shared their feedback with me. Internationally, this show is renowned for premiering new trends in both workplace and home décor. The photography they brought back was interesting and speaks to a coming design direction I thought I would share with you.

If you haven’t heard of “industrial glam”, well you have now. We are on the brink of a design frontier that is melding the best comforts of home design with pure industrial design. I see this as an outgrowth to design’s insatiable desire for contrasting textures. Here are some of the photos from C.S. Brown at Kontor and my commentary on how this will influence floor coverings:

Linear and striated designs - floortalk.wfca.orgLinear and striated designs in lighting are borrowing from industrial design. Line, shape, and form are the building blocks and that will spill over into home interiors. Clean spaces that play with industrial born shapes will become the artwork of our homes. For flooring, we will see porcelain tile, luxury vinyl tile, and carpet creating new styles using linear and large format themes. Once again, it seems that residential design is moving towards commercial design.

Puffy Light Fixtures - floortalk.wfca.orgI didn’t say that I was enamored with everything that came out of Maison+Objet, and these puffy lighting fixtures, in my opinion, missed the mark both at home and in business environments. The shape is pleasing, but it’s a little too avante garde for mainstream residential use. Is there a nugget of wisdom in this for floor coverings? Yes—comfort reigns supreme. Thick, plush carpets, resilient floors with cushioned backings—all of this reflects floor coverings moving away from hard, cold surfaces underfoot.

Mazed Light Fixtures - floortalk.wfca.orgDual-purposed design goods are taking center stage in creative interiors. This picture takes dual-purposing very seriously—the mazed lighting fixtures in this photo are called “white forest” and provide some serious lighting while at the same time, serve as metal wall-art. Carpet manufacturers understand the dual purpose concept. Technologies incorporated into broadloom address soil and stain resistance, eliminate static charge, and provide acoustic buffering. A new twist in flooring comes from Lauzon. Resilient flooring already offers a warmer floor underfoot, but imagine a new feature that helps to purify indoor air! This is exactly the type of dual-purposing that takes flooring to the next level.

Bright Colors - floortalk.wfca.orgInteriors are bursting with color, both at home and in the workplace. Feel free to surround yourself with primary colors, or the colors of spring. Americans are staying in their homes longer, so please discard the idea of decorating blandly for “re-sale value”. Choose the colors you love. What captures your personality? That will give you satisfaction for years to come.

Contemporary Clean Lines - floortalk.wfca.orgThis contemporary setting is at home commercially, and “at home”. Clean lines define the space, and it is my understanding that the room design was created by a notable French chocolatier. That would explain the milk chocolate color of the accent chairs and dark chocolate lacquered coffee table. Notice the extreme long-denier pile of the area rug. Once again, high texture carries the design.

Well there you have Parisian influences that are edging their way into design—and influencing the direction of floor coverings as well. Thank you Kontor for sharing!