Flooring in interior design trends for 2011 has changed little from those of 2010. The largest overall change has been an increased desire for an industrial look, slightly different from the better-known modern look.
What is an Industrial Look?
The industrial look incorporates more bare floors or the appearance of bare flooring, open spaces and bare pipes or conduits. Wrought iron and chrome play large parts in this look, and bare expanses overlaid with area rugs bring the look home.
Antiques are encouraged in this interior design trend, but avoid going overboard. ‘Cutesie’ antiques or milk jug and cow plaques don’t fit this design intent.
Slightly rusty or rustic appliances, whether actually used or merely decorative, fit the motif well. If included in the décor, clean away the excess rust but don’t be in a hurry to paint over it.
What Flooring Fits This Look?
So long as the floor doesn’t jump up and claim the attention first, almost any kind will suit. Popular choices include concrete, laminate, rubber and even cork. The latter two help absorb sound, which can be important in any interior design intent that uses bare floors.
Concrete floors are often found in converted factories or warehouses. Industrial from birth, the floor type is strong and long-lasting. Sealed properly, concrete can be uniform or decorative. Some people prefer the uniformity of the original design; others insert geometric, floral or other pictoral accents to the floor.
Rubber provides excellent padding, water resistance and sound buffering. The slight give to the material helps prevent shin splints and eases joint strain common to extended walking on hard floors. Rubber can be used in any room in the Industrial designed house, condominium or loft apartment. Inexpensive and renewable, rubber is also a ‘green’ element-good for the budget and the environment.
Cork is another ‘green’ flooring that matches rubber for its low-cost and its renewable source. Naturally water-resistant, cork incorporates pockets of air that lend padding over long-term use. It can be damaged, as any type of floor can be, but with proper care, it can outlast vinyl or ceramic tiling.
Hardwood is popular as well but more costly. Often, a quality hardwood laminate is used instead in a few rooms to differentiate the area from others in open loft plans.
If you use carpet in this look, downplay its color. Lighter shades may show dirt and stains more than darker colors, but the lighter the shade, the more open the area will feel, and that airy environment is a key to successfully incorporating the flooring into the industrial look.