Timber tops still
Hardwood flooring continues to thrive in popularity, particularly laminate and wood alternatives such as laminate flooring. Nowadays, these products are well designed and manufactured, and are available in many tones and types, says Siobhan MacLeod of Flooring Xtra. And more homeowners are choosing to put timber or lamination throughout their homes to create a smooth, modern effect, she says.
Scandinavian-style oaks – such as beach blonde or beige oak – are still very popular. Siobhan believes that soft tones, light-reflecting qualities, and the ability to complement many different design styles are the reasons. In contrast, I have noticed a growing movement towards darker, cooler woods such as walnut, charred wood and black oak that add drama to a room and can give an iconic 70s look but with a modern twist.
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Wood or wood patterned floors and wide planks continue to grow in popularity, says Forte’s Gratton McCallum, as herringbone and chevron patterns create a custom element to the interior.
Gratton says the global call for more sustainable products, along with rapid growth in demand for raw materials, has made suppliers look for a more sustainable alternative to native and imported hardwoods. So engineered flooring has become a convenient option because it uses less than a third of slow-growing hardwoods compared to more sustainable hardwood and fast-growing softwoods. It’s also more durable and sturdier, which makes it less prone to twisting and movement than hardwood, he says.
In recent years, technology for lacquers has advanced, Gratton says, and it’s now possible to apply about seven coats of paint to wood while still retaining a heavy-duty matte finish. Low VOC polyurethane is used, which gives the appearance of a natural oil but with better water resistance.
Interior designer Leah Frost of Frobisher says stone-look tiles remain popular for a timeless feel. “We’re seeing more soft pastel feature elements coming to give a personal touch while still keeping a quiet and inviting setting. Playing around with how tiles are laid out can add a completely different look and feel, whether it’s vertical or horizontal, stacked, tiled, or herringbone.”
Jess Brewer of Tilehaus noticed a distinct move away from white bathrooms and kitchens. Stone will continue to be a big trend this year, but as wallet chains tighten up, we’re seeing people substituting stone for porcelain look alternatives and gravitating toward organic finishes, colors, and textures, says Jess.
There is also a trend towards maximalism and people are enjoying their interiors, using lots of bold colors and fun patterns and exciting pairings. Pink and green are currently popular colors, as are terrazzo style floor tiles.
People tend toward larger sized tiles for their floors, prefer 600 by 600 mm sizes to reduce grout streaks, Jess says, and homeowners are venturing into their grout colors.
Siobhan MacLeod of Flooring Xtra says there’s been a switch to wool rug in the past couple of years and it has a special look and feel. Chunky ring piles are common, with beige, dark gray and brown in demand. Kiwis seem to really embrace natural-looking colors in their homes, she says, because not only are they tolerant when it comes to general grooming, but they feel comfortable and calm.
“We’ve found that most consumers are looking for rugs that offer a neutral sensory experience and are neutral in tone giving flexibility to incorporate bolder colors into furniture and cushions. However, some consumers choose playful, bold colored rugs to achieve an unexpected aesthetic,” says Rochelle Flint of Brimworth. .
With more and more Kiwis opting for wood floors, carpets have become a staple interior element. Simple patterns with artisanal quality and texture, made from natural fibers such as wool or jute, and usually either white, undyed or natural in color are required, says Siobhan MacLeod of Flooring Xtra.
Farahnaz Farahani of Rugs Direct also notes a trend for neutrals like black, beige and gray. For those who want a more traditional look, rugs with floral motifs on the border and body of the rug with a medallion in the middle are popular, along with faded oriental rugs to give a vintage look. Rugs are used as statement pieces and to define different areas of open-plan living spaces.
In terms of shapes, round rugs have been popular for a few years now, says Zuzana Chovanova of Cronz, because they help offset the room’s straight lines. “They tend to visually increase the size of the space, so they look great in smaller rooms. We’ve also seen a lot of demand for oval rugs this year as well.” Zuzana says location influences rug choice, with North Islanders preferring a smooth texture while shaggy rugs are more popular with South Island customers.
Turning your home’s floor slab into a custom finish is a smart option. Companies like Peter Fell can advise on aspects such as aggregate type, stone exposure, polishing, sealant, and color. You can also color the concrete (Peter Fell has over 80 colors available) or you can leave it natural. Pictured is the color of PFL 698 in Peter Veil’s natural polish.
Sheet vinyl that repeats the look of coated tile has proven very popular this year as an easy and affordable way to accent spaces like the bathroom or laundry. Siobhan MacLeod of Flooring Xtra says vinyl has a decorative look with interesting geometric shapes and colors. The photo is the Florence 3 group in Lagos.