When it comes to remodeling, homeowners can take a variety of approaches, but new flooring is one of the most popular and cost-effective ways to give your home a fresh, new look.
In the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, 78% of consumers who installed “new wood flooring” said they would prefer to live in their home after completing the project. As for return on investment, New Wood Flooring had the highest cost recovery rate (106%) of the interior projects evaluated.
Not only has the technology and quality of flooring materials improved over time, but popular styles are changing at a similar rate. We compiled a wealth of data and consulted with two experts with decades of experience in real estate, interior design and flooring to provide you with a comprehensive, data-driven guide to the hottest flooring trends for 2021.
Cohesive Design: An Overview of Flooring Trends for 2021
At one point, residential contractors used a variety of flooring textures and materials throughout the building – linoleum in the kitchen, tile in the bathroom, carpet in the living room and more. But in 2021, mixing flooring is far from trendy.
Today’s homeowners want “clean and natural” flooring in every aspect, “from materials to colors to patterns.” People prefer a minimalist look and feel, and a single floor installed throughout the home helps achieve that aesthetic.
Choosing hard surface flooring in living areas
While consumers have hundreds of options when it comes to flooring, single-family home construction in recent decades has shown that most homeowners prefer hard flooring throughout the home.
While carpet remains the largest flooring segment, its popularity has steadily declined over the past decade, from 66.6 percent of the flooring market share to 52.9 percent, according to Floor Covering News 2019 industry statistics.
Here are the most popular flooring trends for 2021
If you’re upgrading your flooring in 2021, consider upgrading your interiors with these modern materials and finishes.
solid wood floors
Their popular “vintage” and “farmhouse” home design styles continue to be popular. One way for homeowners to get a rustic aesthetic in their homes is through subtle details like grain, which can add some visual interest without straying from a neutral palette.
Embossed in Register (EIR) finishes
Like the wear holes in distressed denim, signs of wear such as abrasions, dents and scratches are common features of solid hardwood floors. However, not every homeowner is willing or able to pay cash for solid wood. With so many manufacturers developing realistic faux wood alternatives, the expense can be even more difficult to justify.
One way to replicate the look and feel of real wood is to apply an embossed-in-registers (EIR) finish to laminate or vinyl flooring. EIR finishes mimic the characteristics of natural wood planks, so you can see and feel the grain, dents, etc.
When we do an overlay embossed finish, people will feel knots in the polyurethane if there are knots in the printed film. But this is a good option because it makes the floor more believable.
Durability and longevity matter
Hardwood continues to maintain its status as a top flooring option for modern buyers. In fact, Realtors agree that homes with hardwood flooring sell for 10% more than the same home without wood floors. However, as families spend more time in their homes, 2021 marks a turning point as more homeowners prioritize durability over authenticity.
Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP)
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring is a great solution for homeowners who want the look of solid wood without the maintenance.
In addition to a wide selection of colors and styles, LVP is extremely durable and 100% waterproof, making this material a great choice for buyers who want to maintain the same wood look throughout their home.
It’s super sustainable. They come in a variety of thicknesses and realistic looks.
“It just helps people not have to spend as much time cleaning and maintaining their floors, and then they can focus on other things.”
Tile takes durability to a new level. Not only is the material waterproof, but its lifespan is virtually zero, lasting three to four times longer than that of hardwood.
As if that wasn’t enticing enough, today homeowners can use faux wood tile to get the look of real wood, including authentic features such as grain and knots, without the problems of chipping and sanding.
Manufactured wood tiles are an excellent choice for the entire home, especially in high-traffic areas such as entryways and areas prone to spills and moisture such as bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.
Laminate remains popular, in part because of cost. According to the national research publication Flooring News, laminate is the only flooring category that has seen a drop in price. However, this flooring is much more than affordable.
Waterproof laminate comes with a waterproof wear layer on top that prevents spills from penetrating the planks and damaging your subfloor. The same layer is also incredibly scratch resistant, more so than the vinyl look, making it a pet and child friendly choice!
Prints and patterns create visual interest
While major design trends for 2021 will use a single flooring material throughout the home to maintain a cohesive look, homeowners are still using accent flooring in smaller rooms to express their creativity.
Artisan tile work
Decorative tile adds charm and interest to powder rooms and laundry rooms.
Ranked among the top five bathroom upgrades expected to resonate most with 2021 buyers, according to HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Report for Q4 2020, artisan tile ranges from large black-and-white prints to old-fashioned painted styles and even compact round tiles, an area of the home where individuals can be as bold as they want.
While the cost of installing porcelain or tile flooring varies, homeowners spend an average of $10 to $15 per square foot.
Wood grain tile
As with carefully tiled bathrooms, patterned wood offers individuals another opportunity to create a luxurious look in their homes. Take a simple product with a neutral palette, but create visual interest by laying or installing it in a different pattern, such as herringbone or herringbone.
At one time, you could only achieve patterned designs with solid hardwoods. But today, competitors in manufactured wood are changing the game. As manufacturers develop patterned LVPs, it is now possible to recreate an upscale look using both V-shaped and herringbone options. These products make the elegant parquet look more widely available and therefore more popular.