Debbie Travis: Laminate flooring mimics the look of charred wood

Flooring is a key element in home décor. What we walk on visually affects the overall dynamics of a home. No less significant, the surface we walk on and stand on delivers a comfort level that has both a short- and long-term impact on our health and well-being.

We all have our personal favourites that often tie in with the trends of the day. But floors are a major expense and decisions should last for years.

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Keeping budget in mind and considering the longevity of your choices, it is of great interest to follow what those in the know have to say about present and future flooring trends.

The World Floor Covering Association has recently posted a report that highlights consumer preferences and exciting new products viewed at the International Surface Trade Show.

It remains clear that the distressed, weather-worn look and the rustic-elegant industrial look are both leaders across the floor-covering range. Laminates are continually improving with thicker wear-layer heights and ever more embossing techniques.

A new charred-wood look derives from an ancient Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban, “traditionally used as siding as a natural sealant to protect wood from pests, weather and fire.”

Shown here from Quick-Step’s new Envique Collection, arriving this summer, is Tuxedo Pine, a premier laminate that mimics the charred, smoked appearance.

It shimmers with textures and muted grey shades. The popular colourway enhances both modern and traditional styles. (

In the ever-expanding tile market, oversized design dimensions and new finishes stretch the imagination. Popular, budget-friendly porcelain tiles are showing up in faux bois, including the traditional parquet that has been blown up.

The 20-inch x 20-inch tiles from Emser ( truly trick the eye, and are practical for kitchen and bathroom. Porcelain tiles are also available in long planks, six by 35 inches, in a petrified wood design.

Natural stone is being paired with other elements, such as porcelain, to give a luxurious look at a more budget-friendly cost. Also look for pencil-cut stone tiles paired with metals. New stone looks include etched surface treatments and unique shapes.

High-quality vinyl is in hot demand. The report states that advanced photographic and embossing technology allows LVT (luxury vinyl tile) to take on the look of anything from reclaimed planks to stone and slate tiles.

By choosing vinyl, it’s possible to get the look you want in any room from basement to bathroom in a product that is naturally stain- and water-resistant, and easy-care.

Carpets and area rugs are enjoying a resurgence as technology transforms carpet fibres to be more durable, softer and more stain-resistant than ever before.

Now manmade fibres can offer the look of wool at a much lower price. Area rugs are all about colour and texture.

You will find distressed motifs and nature’s designs including § and animal skins, as well as Greek and oversized geometric shapes.

The distressed look appears in this category as well, as new rugs are made to look old with aging techniques. No longer in the background, carpets and rugs are becoming a focal point today in a home’s floor décor.


Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@ You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie’s new website,

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