Updating your flooring is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Two popular trends to consider when marketing home products are the move toward sustainability and the move to environmentally friendly versions of old favorites.

What are eco-conscientious consumers looking for now?

Seeing Green
Sustainable products are those developed to maximize environmental safety, conservation of resources and recycling of raw materials during manufacturing.
Although oak still accounts for nearly two-thirds of all installed hardwood flooring in the U.S., more exotic and environmentally savvy crops like bamboo and palm are gaining wide popularity. Because it is a renewable resource, bamboo has become a favorite among green building proponents. The material is also extremely hardy and durable. Many homeowners buy bamboo merely for its aesthetic appeal.
Wood from coconut palm trees is also becoming another popular, earth-friendly flooring option. Palm is a renewable resource made from plantation-grown palm trees that no longer produce coconuts. Palms yield a darker color than bamboo but are just as sturdy.
Linoleum is also making a comeback and in doing so is boasting various green features. This versatile material can be installed in the kitchen, basement and/or bath as a durable, toxic-free alternative to regular linoleum.
Retro Revival
While buying green is a strong force in the flooring market, the retro modern craze is also gaining ground.
Cork flooring, once popular in the 1920s, is seeing quite a revival. The product is once again becoming popular because of its comfort, durability and no-fuss nature. And since cork is more than 50 percent air, it is extremely lightweight and acts as a natural sound absorber. Cork is also extremely resilient—it doesn’t show dents or grooves like traditional wood flooring and is impervious to pests and rot.
Once considered a campy throwback from the 1960s, shag carpeting is getting newfound attention. Product designers say it’s an extension of the current trend to imitate natural materials.

Inventive Alternatives
Another hot trend to consider is leather tiles for flooring. With many offerings available including such exotic skins as zebra, leopard and snakeskin, homeowners can make a bold statement in any environment. Glued directly to AC plywood, the tiles are easily maintained and suppress sound. Leather tiles, however, are not recommended for the kitchen, bath or high traffic areas.
The use of metal flooring tiles is also gaining popularity, especially in lofts and other modern living spaces. Metal tiles can be expensive and are mostly used as accents in the kitchen and bath. They can come embossed to add interesting details to any floor design.

A Future of Change
Flooring trends will change from year to year, but these options have staying power. Designers are taking cues from their surroundings to create products that represent a connection with nature and a fondness for its preservation.