• The floors of tomorrow will reflect what’s on the runway today

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    WHEN you walk into a room, your eyes do not move from top to bottom—quite the opposite. Your gaze starts at the floor and moves up. Just as the clothes you wear make a fashion statement, your floors set the tone, add the drama and create the mood in your home.

    According to the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), the latest products and trends in flooring offer high-tech innovations, low-maintenance attributes and eco-friendly features. Below, you’ll find a closer look at some of the latest styles to consider when it’s time to dress your floors:

    Weathered and worn
    Aged and vintage looks have maintained their firm grip when it comes to floor trends. Think genuine hardwood with worn, heavily textured wood grain and the weathered imperfections that can only be achieved with years of use. For many, price has kept these highly sought floors out of reach—until now.

    Manufacturers today are building the patina of reclaimed wood into brand-new flooring products. Solid and engineered hardwood formats can have all the distressed and eroded character of products much older so each board has a unique look.

    The same vintage looks are available in laminate and luxury vinyl tile (LVT). The surfaces are created using high-resolution digital imaging and state-of-the-art embossing techniques. Designed to minimize repeats, they’re almost impossible to tell from the real thing—and significantly less expensive!

    Porcelain tiles feature salvaged looks such as oxidized metal and weathered wood. Tiles with dry, earthen textures and parched surface finishes in light to mid sun-baked shades and hazy grays are also popular.

    The beauty of the weathered look is that it pairs well with all interiors, does a wonderful job of hiding blemishes, and works well with both soft and bold color accents.

    Depth and dimension
    The right flooring can make large spaces cozy and small spaces grand with long, wide planks and tiles.

    Longer wood planks and largeformat porcelain tiles mean fewer seams and grout lines, lengthening smaller spaces such as hallways and bathrooms as the eye is not distracted by breaks in the flooring. Fewer seams and less grout means easier cleaning, too.

    Texture and pattern
    The latest looks in LVT involve nature-inspired low-luster and matte finishes.

    Also in step with toned-down looks are oil-finish hardwood floors, which are steadily gaining ground among designers and consumers. Natural oils penetrate the wood grain for a satinlike, zero-gloss appearance. In soft-surface flooring, highly affordable synthetics offer a more delustered look that mimics more expensive natural materials including wool, silk and cotton. The matte surface also works to mask vacuum marks and footprints.

    Learn more
    Further information and practical tips are on the WFCA website, www.WFCA.org, and blog, FloorTalk.wfca.org.

    North American Precis Syndicate.

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