Rock Oak by Kährs adorns the flooring of the kitchen area

Flooring and surface trends that are taking over the interior design industry

By Roma Arora

Trends change according to the taste and technology, and it is the case with the flooring and the surface sector as well. From marbles, hardwood, mosaics, engineered options, to the environment-friendly green varieties like bamboo, cork, or the reclaimed wood, there is so much to choose from. You can take inspiration from any of these and covert the living spaces into something extraordinary. Hardwood floors give timeless and elegant appeal.

Kährs of Sweden is the oldest wood floor manufacturer in the world still in operation, with a history that dates back to 1857. It is also the most innovative floor manufacturer, with a history of wood floor inventions and innovations that span over decades. Sarah van der Loo, marketing and branding, Kährs by Nordic Homeworx sheds some light on the trends. She says: “One of the latest trends in wood flooring is grey—from shades of driftwood to charcoal. Grey coloured oak floors are made to look like they have aged over the years, creating a unique and warm patina. Grey is the new neutral of many contemporary homes and Kährs’ range includes many different designs and surface treatments to accommodate any interior style.”

Sarah van der Loo, Kährs by Nordic Homeworx

Other interesting tile options could ceramic, terracotta, vinyl, linoleum, porcelain, laminate, slate tiles, and more. Marble is growing from strength to strength. In the last five years, marble is being used as kitchen countertops and bathrooms. A well-known marble brand, Petraviva is the continuation of Al Marge marble’s love for natural stone. Farah El Omar, showroom manager and interior designer, Petraviva, says: “We are doing a lot of exciting residential projects in the region. People are travelling all across the world and they are very particular of what they want something neat, high-end, with detailed design. We bring aesthetics to functionality. Trends have moved from glossy to a matte look. The matte finish is more soothing to the eyes and more suited for the living spaces.”

She further adds: “With changing trends, white marble is still classy and it instantly enhances the space and makes it appear spacious. These days, clients are also inclined towards the greys, from light to dark with the finishing texture. There are different textures available in marbles, with the same piece of marble; one can achieve so many different looks using different texturing. Working with marbles gives you endless opportunities.” Moving on to the engineered surfaces now, globally, these surfaces are more and more becoming the material of choice for use across projects ranging from high-traffic public spaces to commercial buildings and residences. High mechanical resistance, colour stability, low water absorption, resistance to scratches, stain, and heat are desirable properties that have contributed to its increasing adoption in projects.

Different styles of texturing on marble by Petraviva

Eddy Abou Khalil, general manager, Cosentino Middle East, shares: “ There are various trends, we are witnessing in the region. Minimalism continues to gain ground as a design trend. There is a shift towards open plans that create a sense of space and continuity whilst minimising visual clutter. As an offshoot of this, designers are pushing to achieve the seamless look for flooring, countertops, cladding and facades. In kitchen design for instance, “waterfall” or drop edge countertops and single-slab splashbacks are gaining prominence. Manufacturers are heavily invested in creating hyper-realistic slabs and surfaces that replicate the look of natural stone with the added plus of stability, durability and low maintenance costs. Matt finish is also very much on trend at the moment, prompting manufacturers to create collections in line with this look.”

Eddy Abou Khalil, Cosentino Middle East

As engineered surfaces market continues to grow, manufactures in this sector are also being pushed to respond to designs that are environment-friendly. With the growing interest in eco-design and green buildings practices, designers are turning towards material that put less environmental load. While this is a trend is yet to take off in the Middle East, it is only a matter of time before it catches on. Khalil says: “In response to this, engineered stone manufacturers are investing to create environmentally-friendly options from recycled material. Dekton by Cosentino, for instance. is manufactured by reusing material from Dekton’s own production process.” The GCC construction market particularly sectors like retail and hospitality are looking bullish, thanks to strategic outlooks like Saudi Vision 2030, Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, and mega events such as the World Athletics Championship 2019 and Expo 2020.

Dekton by Cosentino is used as a kitchen slab

Khalil highlights the challenges: “On one hand, all these events present great opportunities for surfaces brands, on the other, it comes with its own challenges. Ours is a price sensitive buyer’s market, the main challenge is to educate clients on the importance of striking the cost-quality balance and having the long-term vision of building for good by using a material that will stand the test of time (25 years, if not more). ”