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Country, Urban or Modern - European laminate design is a strong influence on international markets

18 November 2016

The Domotex 2017 trade fair in Hanover: where the European laminate flooring industry will once again be living up to its reputation as the frontrunner in modern flooring design. Manufacturers and suppliers within the EPLF Association will have the opportunity to showcase their impressive array of innovative laminate products ‒ with their proven top design quality, eco-friendly manufacturing processes and inherent technical features for best performance.

There are three dominant styles in living and furnishing trends around the world today: “country”, “urban” and “modern”. Whereas “country” style emphasises natural and regional materials, “urban” fuses the industrial look with elements of city style, and “modern” denotes the elegance and timelessness of interior design in the spirit of the design classics. None of these three trends can be clearly delineated, making overlapping and intermingling a popular choice.

The ongoing fashion for seeking an individual style by using flooring that stands out from the crowd releases significant creative potential for interior design; indeed, experimenting with new combinations can result in some surprisingly unconventional design concepts. Interior styles that are consciously mixed in this way are often labelled “eclectic”, meaning “blended” or “multi-dimensional”. In direct relation to this, the trend has also influenced requirements in terms of flooring design. Surfaces need to harmonise with the different styles, look as natural as possible and at the same time be really easy to maintain. To meet these demands, European laminate flooring producers have developed products with a range of features that makes them suitable for any living or working space. Additional benefits for all users are that these laminate floor products are proven to be environmentally-friendly, low-emission and satisfy even the strictest environmental standards.  

Laminate: versatile in design and technologically at the very forefront

New surface decors are given an individual appearance through their colours, effects and textures. The colour palette for trendy, versatile oak decors predominantly features matt white, “greige”, light beige, creme and warm light grey hues; equally appealing are modern wood reproductions ranging across the spectrum from light to dark – inspired by maple, acacia, beech, alder, ash, spruce, larch, walnut and pine. 

The vintage and shabby chic looks are still key themes in flooring, although the more extreme country-style surface structures are going out of fashion, with the visual appearance of laminate wood decors becoming overall more calm and reserved. Special surface treatments on planks, such as oiling and brushing, are beautifully reflected in the way they feel and in their optical finish. Alongside the wood reproductions, new interpretations of classic stone decors – natural and stylish in appearance – are increasingly favoured. An example of this is the special surface effect on planks brought about by reflection from metallic tones, for which manufacturers use the latest technology. By applying innovative, industrial digital printing to decorative paper, it is possible to design entire laminate collections with wider variety and colour.

Laminate is now available with even more size options: the choice now includes extra tile sizes, single-strip planks in various dimensions, plus a large variety of modern multi-strip styles. Traditional country-style planks, wide and generously-proportioned, are still indisputably in number one position. This comes as no surprise since the larger sizing of these authentic-looking wood decors allows their perfectly-reproduced textures and natural play of colours to be better appreciated.

More and more customers also want to install contemporary, easy-to-maintain wood effect laminate floors in kitchens and bathrooms, as an alternative to the usual tiles. In keeping with this demand, the proportion of laminate boards with special water-resistance is rising. European manufacturers are offering more sophisticated products that incorporate modified HDF core boards. Swelling protection is achieved by using special board compositions with increased hardness and density characteristics combined with corresponding impregnation of the overlay and edges. Joints between laminate boards are securely sealed by means of proven and patented locking techniques.  

More and more new and improved quality laminate products are evolving in the European laminate flooring industry as a result of the input of fresh design ideas and the intelligent use of innovative technologies. Under the slogan ‘Quality and Innovation made in Europe’, European laminate floor manufacturers and their suppliers are advancing with supreme confidence into 2017, a brand new year for flooring.

elnd1608_b1: Due to its special moisture protection features, wood effect laminate flooring is also suitable for kitchens and bathrooms. – Photo: Egger
elnd1608_b2: The vintage look continues to be a major theme in flooring. – Photo: wineo / Windmöller
elnd1608_b3: Some laminate decors are given a special patina finish through the use of clever surface effects. – Photo: Meister
elnd1608_b4: Texture and finish are perfectly reproduced on laminate boards. – Photo: HARO/Hamberger GmbH & Co. KG
elnd1608_b5: The traditional country-style plank still ranks among the bestsellers in the laminate range. – Photo: Unilin/Quickstep
elnd1608_b6: The appearance of wood decors is overall calmer than in previous years. Shown here in a trendy multi-strip style. – Photo: Parador

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