Normally when it is time to write a blog I trawl the inner depths of my mind (not a good place to go) looking for inspiration on what to talk about, but this month my muse has been given not just a gentle prompt, but, to be honest a decent sized kick. First let me explain how this has happened.
Mainly my role in life (other than providing for my adoring family) is to train people in floor sanding and to supply machines and finishes to enable them to achieve a high standard of work. Generally, on a day to day basis, this involves trying to ensure we have what they need in stock and, when they want it, coercing some courier company or other to actually deliver it, rather than just lose it and charge us anyway. Occasionally however (and I hope to do this more) I get out to see my customers and even their customers which gives me a good insight into what the fashions/trends whatever you want to call them, currently are.
Last week was one such week, I was on the road doing onsite problem solving and training and delivering parts that were required urgently, and it was these interactions that triggered the realisation that new trends are developing and, looking back at recent product sales, this was confirmed. So, what are the trends?
As I have said in many blogs the fashion for walnut flooring has been around for many years, the dark brown (as most suppose walnut to be) contrasted really well against creams meaning virtually every new build or renovation you went into had a walnut floor and a cream three piece suite and woodwork. Classy looking but done to death and in any case the cheaper walnut floors are not terribly practical. This year however things are different, the colour enhancing products are not as in demand whereas the greys, grey tones and light natural colours or muted tones are much more in demand. Also, where there are dark hardwoods that are tricky to change (smoked oak for example) customers are asking for the effect to be toned or cooled down using white or grey accents in the grain.
So, what you want to know is how can these effects be created? The first thing we are now actually finding is that as soon as the floor is sanded some clients are now telling my customers that they really like the floor the way it is, pale, natural looking and “nude” for want of a better description. Fortunately, manufacturers anticipated many of the trends and in this case there are a few different ways this can be achieved using either lacquers, or the very latest generation of solvent free eco oils. Also frequently asked for is for the floor to be made even paler than it is, sometimes referred to as “the Scandinavian look” and again we have both eco oils and low solvent lacquers that can create this. This year grey and grey tones are very much to the forefront and our suppliers Pallmann, have several different shades of grey stains as well as different whites and a range of other “trendy colours”.
So, what about those dark hardwoods. There is still demand for that look and the dark browns/blacks are still available but they are now frequently being softened by using the lighter colours in the wood grain, if you go for a brushed oak floor (this removes the softer grain creating more texture) you can create some stunning effects. However, before I fill those with walnut floors full of hope, I had better say that walnut does not respond well to staining or lightening and really does look best when it is fully colour enhanced, for those about to choose a wood to put down, just choose oak, it can be stained darker, kept natural, made lighter to create a cool toned hardwood, accented with pale colours over dark ones and brushed to create a whole new world of textured possibilities using any of the former products.
As I said above our suppliers, Pallmann, were ahead of the curve on all the colour trends and also on the demand for more environmentally responsible products. To make things easy for you they have broken down their twenty-four colours into four “Styles”, Minimalistic, Classic, Vintage and Colourful, you decide which “style” best suits you and then pick from the range of colours they suggest. To find out more visit the Pallmann website.