As I write this, we are awaiting the election results in the United States and waiting to see what will happen with COVID-19 throughout the fall and winter. We all are feeling the uncertainty as the start of a new year looms. Uncertainty is the new “normal.” We are learning to live with it.
One thing we do know is that real wood flooring is going to remain in style. During this year of lockdowns and social distancing, people have spent more time at home, and in doing so, are tired of looking at outdated flooring. Others are renovating to accommodate the new normal of working from home. These are opportunities for our industry, and it is worth your time to pay attention to the trends.
The Hardwood Floors magazine 2021 Industry Outlook showed that longer, wider planks and natural finishes are here to stay for the year ahead. While demand for darker colors is expected to remain the same, gray stains and finishes are continuing a slow exit. More than 62 percent of survey respondents anticipate higher demand for white oak, which was also favored last year.
We see much the same here in upstate New York, where I live. Business is booming, and contractors are swamped. Grays are getting lighter, and the white and off-white tones are gaining popularity. We still see a lot of “greige” (gray + beige) and use that word to describe the gray + warm tones that seem to play better with other design elements than the purely cool tones of grays. Our direct-to-designer business, Revel Woods, is seeing the same trend all over the country. Wide white oak, European and domestic, are really hot. White oak seems to lend itself to the current trending colors.
Throughout the Hardwood Floors magazine NOW event, which was held online in November, the NWFA brought two days’ worth of valuable content, including discussions about consumer style preferences and technical demos on how to make your next project with those trends a success. Did you miss watching these sessions live? From white-washed wood to wide boards, the demos are available anytime through the Live Edge Webinar series provided by the NWFA online university.
Also through the Live Edge webinar series you can catch up on other trends by viewing Tech Tuesday, Webinar Wednesday, and Product Theater Thursday presentations. And, don’t forget, the NWFA’s “Real Wood. Real Life.” campaign materials are available for free to members who want to promote real wood floors. Visit nwfa.org to download the marketing toolkit, including social media content, fact sheets, and logos, and use these offerings to help you start 2021 on the right foot.