Flooring Trends for 2021: Designer-Approved Flooring Ideas
Inspiration • July 05, 2021

Flooring Trends for 2021: Designer-Approved Flooring Ideas

by Floor Authority

Your floors are foundational to the look and feel of your home, so making sure they reflect your aesthetic and lifestyle is important. There are hundreds of directions you can take when it comes to your floors, but new flooring is one of the most high-impact, cost-effective ways to give your home a major refresh. 

As the quality and technology of flooring materials advance over time, trending styles shift at a similar pace. With so many options available, it can help to start by learning what flooring trends are the most popular and what materials are dominating the market. Read on to learn which flooring trends you can expect to see this year and prepare to tackle your next flooring project.

Lived-in Hardwood

Throughout their spaces, homeowners are gravitating towards designs rooted in authenticity and character, and floors are no exception. Texture has become a widely considered detail in recent years, and many are using it to give their hardwood floors a distressed, lived-in look. 

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Hand-scraped Wood Texture

Hand-scraped wood floors feature subtle but intentional signs of weathering and wear. Finishes with long, ingrained scrapes, knotholes and scuffs help achieve this unique texture that offers a handcrafted appearance with a ton of character. 

Wire-brushed Wood Texture

Another method used to create the look of lived-in hardwood, wire-brushed wood is created with subtle but intentional wire scratches. The result is the appearance of exposed, distressed wood on the surface that creates the weathered, casual texture homeowners love. 

Bleached and Blanched Wood

If you don’t love the look of dark and glossy hardwood floors, you’ll be a fan of this year’s trend of bleached wood floors. These softer, lighter wood floors get their color by undergoing a bleaching process — also called blanching — that gives the wood a washed-out, ashy white color. The end result maintains the natural wood grain on the surface, so you don’t lose any of the classic beauty of natural wood floors.

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Bleached wood floors can help create a bigger, brighter and more relaxed atmosphere in your home. Expect to see this trend crop up among oceanside homes — depending on the exact color you choose, white-washed floors go hand in hand with beachy or coastal interior styles.

Wood and Stone Look-Alike Flooring 

Cool, contemporary interiors are more popular than ever, and homeowners are turning to wood and stone look-alike flooring to elevate their spaces. Whether you want to recreate the natural, lived-in style of hardwood with wood-look tile or add a touch of elegance with a more decorative style like marble-look floors, expect to see more of these styles in 2021. 

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Luxury Vinyl Tile 

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring comes in a vast range of designs and styles, and is endlessly customizable. Due to its extremely durable wear layer, it’s less prone to cracks, scratches and water damage, which is why it’s growing more popular among homeowners. 

One type of LVT that’s trending this year is marble-look vinyl tile. Marble can work with both classic or modern-contemporary styles, and is perfect for giving your space a feeling of high-end luxury without the extra cost of genuine marble. 

Luxury Vinyl Planks in the Kitchen

Homeowners are increasingly opting for the look of hardwood floors in their kitchens, and wood-look luxury vinyl plank is the top choice for creating the appearance of genuine hardwood floors without the maintenance. 

Waterproof Laminate

When it comes to flooring, convenience and function have become just as important as aesthetics. As a result, waterproof laminate floors have gained more popularity in 2021, and not just because of their attractively affordable price tags. 

The water-resistant layer on the surface of waterproof laminate floors protects both the surface and subfloors from moisture damage. This wear layer is also incredibly scratch-resistant —  sometimes more so than certain types of vinyl flooring. This makes it a great pet-friendly alternative to true hardwood floors. 

Hand-scraped Engineered Wood

Just as lived-in hardwood floors are a major trend for 2021, the same is true for engineered wood floors. While hand-scraped and wire-brushed textures were previously only available in solid hardwood, these textures are now being used on all types of flooring to create the aged, distressed look that’s highly sought after this year. 

Part of the appeal of engineered wood flooring is that you can achieve the same character you’d get with natural hardwood, but with more durability and affordability. They provide an incredibly realistic hardwood look thanks to how they’re constructed — the top layer is a genuine hardwood veneer, so you aren’t missing out on the authentic features that give wood floors their unique, handcrafted appearance. With grained textures and hand-scraped finishes, engineered wood flooring can instantly elevate your home.

Cool Tones

2021 has shown a clear trend towards lighter, airier interiors that feel crisp and clean. This means a focus on cool, contemporary colors: think grays, blondes and ashy whites, along with blues, greens and dark browns.

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Light Blondes and Whites 

As homeowners embrace a lighter, breezier feel in their spaces, blonde wood (or wood-look materials) and the aforementioned bleached and blanched wood looks will be cropping up more as a top flooring of choice. These types of floors also work well with a variety of styles — whether you prefer a chic contemporary style, a rustic farmhouse style or something else, cool-toned wood looks are here to stay. 

Contemporary Grays and Blues

Continuing with the cool tones trend, gray has gained much popularity not only for flooring but for homes and kitchens in general. Grays and charcoals embody the cool, contemporary style that’s taken over the world of interior design, and can create the perfect neutral backdrop for decor styles in virtually any color. 

For those who prefer natural stone looks over wood floors, expect to see cool-toned stone flooring that’s endlessly versatile. From grays mixed with beige neutrals, light blues and greens to pairing them with bright bold colors, these cool, contemporary tones help give a modern edge to your space without being overwhelming. 

Distressed Concrete Tiles 

Thanks to today’s nuanced applications and advanced materials, concrete is making a comeback in 2021. Stone looks are already classically beautiful, but distressed concrete tile puts an edgy spin on the clean, contemporary design trend that’s taken over this year. 

distressed-concrete-tiles

For homeowners looking for alternatives to traditional hardwood floors, cool gray concrete flooring is a versatile option for a sleek and modern home. If your taste leans heavily on the edgy side, the distressed texture of concrete tile minimizes the highly polished look and instead creates the worn-out, lived-in style trend. It also goes hand in hand with an industrial warehouse aesthetic that works with virtually every color imaginable. 

Unique Prints and Patterns

While clean, natural interiors are big right now, another trend on the other end of the style spectrum is equally as popular this year: unique prints and patterns that make a statement and allow for bold expression and creativity. From glamorous art deco patterns, geometric shapes and florals to intricate Moroccan designs, expect to see more interiors making use of creative shapes and patterns. 

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Chevron and Herringbone Wood Flooring

This year, unique prints and patterns aren’t restricted to tile floors — patterned wood layouts have become increasingly popular in kitchens, bathrooms and homes in general, specifically in chevron and herringbone patterns. If elaborate designs and bold colors aren’t your style, patterned wood floors are a chance to add a creative accent to your space that still works with a neutral color palette. 

Decorative and Encaustic Tiles 

Decorative tile flooring is the ultimate expression of creativity when it comes to your interiors, and it comes in endless textures, sizes, colors and designs. Whether you’re after quirky geometrics for a less uniform look or organic shapes that blend seamlessly, decorative tiling can add a statement to your space that’s uniquely yours. 

Natural, Casual Carpet in Bedrooms

Carpet remains a popular flooring choice, particularly for bedrooms where comfort is a priority. While shag carpet went out of style, the plush comfort of a high pile carpet remains desirable. The variety of stylish carpet options has advanced considerably, and frieze carpets are now increasingly sought after thanks to their updated style and material. Frieze carpets in natural shades fit perfectly into the clean, bright and airy feel so many homeowners are looking to add to their homes. 

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Area Rugs

Area rugs are trending heavily as a way to add some design flair to neutral backdrops. While we’re increasingly seeing decorative area rugs used to add a pop of color to interiors, neutral shades are just as popular — expect to see them in cool grays and blues, along with navy.

area-rugs

Area rugs’ popularity is due in part to the increased preference for hardwood floors, which are a common feature in this year’s trend of simple, modern interiors. Area rugs make it possible to enjoy the easy maintenance and natural beauty of wood floors, with an added warming accent or decorative statement. 

Environmentally Friendly Finishes

Much of today’s young homeowner demographic is now comprised of millennials, a group who is highly selective about the brands they purchase from — particularly regarding environmental impact. An increased demand for environmentally friendly products has led this year’s trend of eco-friendly flooring. 

If you’re in the market for carpet, you’ll find an increasing number of options made with recycled materials. The same is true for hard surface flooring, as more eco-friendly finishes continue to become available. Reclaimed hardwood flooring is another popular choice in this category. Whatever type of floors you’re after, expect to see more product lines boasting recycled content and sustainably sourced raw materials.

If you’re starting a new flooring project, the endless options of materials, finishes, patterns, and designs can feel overwhelming. Having a pulse on current flooring trends can simplify the process — by focusing your choices on what’s currently trending and which trends are expected to stick around for a while, you can decide on something beautiful that will last for years to come. 

For more in-depth resources on navigating your next flooring project, our flooring experts are available to answer your questions and offer personalized recommendations to suit your unique needs. 

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