A recent poll of representatives of the European Producers of Laminate Flooring reveals what designs will be hot in 2009.

Core walnut by MeisterWerke.

Laminate flooring offers individuality and versatility, and therefore responds to the growing consumer enthusiasm for design-oriented living environments.

Never have there been so many décor ideas as there are for the new season – in wood, stone and creative designs. They are the result of next generation technical know-how and offer trend-oriented designers creative inspiration for new interior fittings concepts – both in residential and fast-growing commercial applications. These new design concepts are made possible by modern digital printing and optimized processes in intaglio printing technology.

The wide range of creative decors, which is in ever-increasing demand, is characterized by graphic and photographic motifs. Making waves are the aesthetic expressiveness of abstract wood finishes; digital network structures; geographical motifs with lines and diamonds; drapes and color blends in trendy retro colors; warm beige and brown tones; and classic black and white.

However, one will also see representational motifs such as stitched canvas, weathered sacks of coffee, colorful gummy bears, playing cards from diamonds to clubs and carpets with an ornamental finish. Kitsch and cult is a design theme which wakens nostalgic memories, while the latest logo gives floors a modern touch.

Wood decors demonstrate character and naturalness. Oak is an amazingly versatile wood as it comes in light and dark color variants with an elegant or rustic look. Now there is even a white-washed oak that finds its niche in the current black and white theme of the fittings sector.

“Art design” neatly sums up this trend in wood decors, which includes other woods beyond oak. Wood surfaces are subtly altered from their natural appearance in off-white to silver with an aged patina. This is entirely different for walnut and teak, which make a dramatic impact and invite one to take a second look with their red-brown coloring. Classic beech is also back on the scene with this new, veneer-like look. Domestic fruitwoods like apple and plum also offer wide scope for an expressive surface feel.

Teak, narrow board by Kronotex.

New Functionality with Light Tones

Light tones are in great demand for stone finishes as they stand for a new functionality in the world of home living. One will also find expressive, dark types in the range, but light white, beige and gray tones are the trendsetters amongst tile decors. In some cases light and dark types of stone are combined to create appealing contrasts. The stone decors are amazingly realistic, giving them a very authentic look. The circular groove supports this impression.

While the tile format is naturally the dominant trend among the stone decors, farm house boards and ship’s deck patterns are the in-demand formats for most wood types. Farm house boards come in compact, long or narrow versions. The narrow boards in particular have recently achieved a fixed place in the fittings world and their appeal lies in their elegant, clear appearance.

Ship’s deck patterns, which were very popular when laminate flooring first appeared on the market and then took a backseat, are making a comeback. A new look enables the expressiveness of classic and rustic woods to come into their own. The two-strip design is the alternative for a slightly different floor design and works particularly well with light wood types like beech, maple and birch. Herringbone patterns and mosaics like on parquet flooring are chic, yet they remain the exception in laminate flooring.

Builders, architects and end consumers must ultimately decide for themselves what they like and do not like. Today, they have more options from which to choose than ever.

For more information about the European Producers of Laminate Flooring, visit www.eplf.com.

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