What’s HOT and What’s NOT in Flooring.
My beautiful sister, who lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, just purchased an adorable untouched farmhouse built circa 1960. She and her husband just started their renovation and began ripping out the old carpet revealing beautiful white oak wood floors. Because of my work in the home design and home remodeling world, one area of importance is staying updated, informed and educated on the latest and greatest flooring materials, style and uses. Luckily for my sister I am able to assist her, 1,200 miles away, by offering her advice and information throughout her remodeling journey.
A major topic of discussion we are having at the moment is what type of flooring she should use in her home. Should she use ceramic tile or porcelain tile? What is the difference between the two? Do people still use white subway tile? What type of style flooring would be good in her bathrooms? These are all very good questions and common questions I get asked while working with new clients.
There IS a difference between ceramic and porcelain tile and I am going to answer that question as well as share what’s hot and what’s not in flooring material, colors and styles. I enlisted the help of my dear, patient friend Emily Kinel, the showroom manager at United Tile in Shreveport. This company along with their Bossier location, Classic Stone, is one of my go to flooring companies for our remodeling projects. Emily is wealth of knowledge, extremely talented and with just returning back from a trip to Dallas market, she had plenty of information to give me.
Buzz word GREIGE. Emily and I both believe there will be less focus on going totally gray with floor colors. “There was a time where homeowners were going super beige, then they went really gray and now people are mellowing to a middle ground of greige and taupy colors.” says Emily. Greige has become a popular word in the home design world and where we both see color schemes heading. Emily added, “I think it stands the test of time longer.” This is the best of both worlds and gives homeowners and designers a broader color palette to choose from for walls, cabinets, furniture, fixtures and lighting.
Let’s start with a nasty rumor I read on a very popular home design website stating that white subway tile is on its way out in 2018. I am happy to report that this is fake news, at least in Shreveport and Bossier City. Subway tile is alive and is a great pick for kitchen backsplashes and bathroom walls and shower walls. Emily reports that 3”x6” subway tile is still a top pick amongst customers and top seller in her company. “Another one that has become very popular is a handmade tile that also comes in the 3”x 6” for backsplashes. I think it’s good for our area because that handmade look brings a little bit of character which is good for this market that tends to lean towards traditional.” Emily added.
Hardwood Engineered Wood Wood Look Tile
Hardwood floors bring a natural element to any room and goes well with all design styles. It is a homeowner favorite with engineered wood ranking a close second in flooring popularity. “A wood product feels warmer on the feet than a tile product.” says Emily. Wood flooring looks great in kitchens and living areas.
A fast favorite is tile that looks like wood and is a hit in Shreveport/Bossier City. Wood tile is low maintenance and comes in a variety of colors and styles. If you miss the warmth of wood, you can always install in-floor heating systems under your tile during your renovation. Emily adds that using wood, engineered wood, or wood tile throughout the home in the same style, flowing from the living areas into the kitchen, gives a cohesive look and helps with obtaining an open concept design which many homeowners desire. This tile looks great in any space.
I love to encourage my clients to be bold and unique with their tile selections and one of my personal favorite is Spanish and Moroccan influenced tile. These are different from the norm, gorgeous and there are so many different colors and designs to choose from. These look amazing in bathrooms and kitchen backsplashes.
Emily says large format tile is extremely popular in Dallas and is working its way here to Shreveport and Bossier City. They are available in many different modular sizes all the way up to an astounding 5’x10’.
Another upcoming tile material that is already very popular in Dallas is fabric look tiles. “We already have a few in and they look really nice and subtle. It is a good way to bring in something different without being too committal.” says Emily.
Emily says as far as sales are concern, it’s like somebody turned off travertine. Travertine a once sought after backsplash material has been replaced. “We don’t have people using it especially in remodeling and custom homes.” says Emily. She feels that with subway tile being so popular and less expensive than travertine, it fills that void. “Any type of natural stone, you don’t necessarily get in a white or a gray unless you are doing a true marble.” Emily added.
Another flooring material on its way out is smaller square beige, porcelain and ceramic floor tile such as 12”x12”. This type of color and style is being replaced with wood tile, large format tile or tile in bold shapes and designs.
CERAMIC VS. PORCELAIN
Both ceramic and porcelain are made from clay and other natural materials. They are both fired in a kiln at high temperatures. However, the material used for making porcelain is more refined and purified. It is also fired at a much higher temperature and greater pressure. The result is a harder material that is impervious to stains and has low moisture absorption. Porcelain can be used in all interior rooms, high or low traffic areas and outdoors. Emily says “This is very important if you are tiling something outside because that is where we have extreme heat or extreme cold.”
Ceramic is softer, easier to cut and is best used indoors in lighter traffic areas.
Reminder, when using tile on bathroom floors, please remember to use one with a texture or that is slip-resistant.
Another thing Emily and I both agreed on is that many Shreveport/Bossier City homeowners play it safe with their material selections especially if they plan to sell their home within 5 to 10 years. Although we both understand the logic behind playing it safe, we see a lot of the same color schemes and materials going into remodeled homes and some custom homes. Our thoughts are if your home is on the market and looks like every other house on the market, you are not standing out amongst your competition. We aren’t saying to go crazy and wild with your home, but we do encourage you to be open to the many different options available for your remodeling projects. Your home should be your beautiful sanctuary and a place where you can feel proud to invite friends and family over to visit.
Be unique, be a little bold were you can and most of all have fun in your renovation adventures.
— Lisa Willard, Chief Designer for Ashley’s Building