BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

Top Flooring Trends for 2011

Whether you are planning on replacing the floors in your current house or picking flooring for a new house, you should check out one of these top flooring trends for 2011.  Sustainable flooring, from wood to carpets, will have a strong influence on this season’s trends.

1.     Bamboo Floors
Bamboo is a popular flooring choice for the eco-conscious crowd because it is considered a rapidly renewable resource.  In other words, bamboo grows so quickly that when it is harvested for flooring, it can be replaced very quickly.  Bamboo flooring also has several other benefits including its relatively easy upkeep, the strength of the wood and its overall adaptability making it suitable for a variety of applications in a variety of climates.
bamboo floor
Photo: Chris&Rhiannon/Flickr

2.     Cork Floors
Cork flooring is another eco-friendly flooring option to consider in 2011.  Cork is harvested by stripping the bark from cork oak trees.  The process doesn’t harm the tree and the bark regrows in just a few years.  While it isn’t as rapidly renewing as bamboo, it is still a renewable resource.  Cork is fire and mold resistant by nature and cork flooring is easy to clean, is very resilient, is noise reducing and it comes in many colors, shapes and patterns.
cork floor
Photo: BigEd Stitites/Flickr

3. Reclaimed Hardwood
Although reclaimed hardwood isn’t exactly a renewable resource, it is still environmentally friendly.  Wood is reclaimed from a variety of resources, from river bottoms to old wine barrels, and refinished into flooring.  The results can be as varied as the sources but you’re sure to have a great flooring story to tell when you entertain guests.
swamp log
Photo: GollyGForce/Flickr

4. Shag Carpet
Yes, shag is back.  However, this isn’t the shag carpeting that you may remember from the 1970s.  Today’s shag is chicer (more chic?).  Modern shag carpeting features shorter pile heights, a variety of color choices, and modern carpet technologies that can eliminate wear patterns and improve performance and durability.
Shag Carpet Flooring
Photo: Jeff Sandquist/Flickr

5. Recycled Carpet
Carpet made from post-recycled consumer goods became increasingly popular in 2010 and this trend will continue for 2011.  Carpet can be made from several different products including plastic bottles, recycled textiles and discarded carpeting.  Even big name manufacturers are jumping on the go green bandwagon by offering recycled carpeting including Mohawk with its EverStrand line and Shaw Floor’s Anso nylon brand.
Recycled Carpet Flooring
Photo: Luciano Ghersi/Flickr

6.     Concrete
Most of today’s houses have concrete installed under the tile or carpeting and believe it or not, this concrete can be transformed into a beautiful new floor.  Concrete can be stained with acid, stamped, colored, patterned and more.  With a talented concrete flooring expert, you will be able to create a custom one of a kind floor.
concrete flooring
Photo: proforged/Flickr

7. Marmoleum
This is not the linoleum made popular in the 1980s, instead, Marmoleum is a much trendier product.  Marmoleum is made from all natural ingredients, it is perfect for high traffic areas, it maintains a consistent temperature even during the cold winter months and as an added bonus, it is great for individuals with allergies.  In fact, Marmoleum click was the first flooring product to receive asthma & allergy friendly certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
marmoleum flooring
Photo: litlnemo/Flickr

8. Anti-Bacterial Tile
Although there are some concerns about the proliferation of anti-bacterial products in the marketplace today, it didn’t stop tile manufacturers from developing anti-bacterial floor tiles.  The tiles reduce indoor air pollutants and eliminate common strains of bacteria including e-coli and staph.  While some tile products are made from start to finish with anti-bacterial properties in mind, there are also coatings that can be applied to existing tile floors that offer the same benefits.
antibacterial tile flooring
Photo: DesertRecluse/Flickr

9.     Engineered Wood Flooring
Engineered wood has the luxurious look of solid hardwood without the price tag.  Engineered wood is not only less expensive than its solid wood counterpart, it also has an eco-friendly side.  The primary ingredient in many engineered wood floor products is wood pulp and chips.  The pulp and chips can be reclaimed as a byproduct from other wood manufacturing processes and engineered into beautiful flooring for your home.
engineered wood flooring

Photo: Mr. Thomas/Flickr

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.


  1. Cate,
    This is a great summary of available options. I’ve seen some very slick polished concrete floors recently in both commercial and residential applications. I was quite surprised at the look, texture and warmth that was possible with concrete in residential applications. I love the look of reclaimed hardwood and in some cases reclaimed softwood. A wide plank fir floor made from timbers salvaged from the demolition of a turn of the century industrial building makes for a unique and exciting floor.

    • Hey John,

      A lot of people mention that concrete is a noisy option when it comes to flooring, just because of all the echo it can create in a space. What’s your take on that?

      Thanks for comments, as usual!

      • I’ve been in houses with stained concrete floors, and the sound wasn’t bad. They were not big spaces, but if that were the case, maybe you’d have to have enough furniture and area rugs to absorb some sound. Also, if there is enough insulation in the walls and ceiling, that creates good acoustics, too. I speak from personal experience. 😉

        What I like about concrete, especially here in the southwest where the slab is the subfloor (no basements), it saves the addition of flooring material over it, so it becomes eco-friendly. No tile, no wood flooring, no carpeting, just pretty concrete. The etchings and the stains are very creative and very cool.

        I love the options in this post. In my next house, I’d like to try some cork and Marmoleum.

  2. With the low price, and ease of installment, I am surprised not to see laminate flooring on this list. Many seem to be on the hardwood flooring craze, but sometimes it can be very expensive. Laminate flooring is a great option for those that don’t have the money or want to do it themselves.

    • I think it may be that laminate flooring is too stalwart a choice to really be considered a particular trend. I don’t think this is a commentary on it at all as far as ease of installation and affordability goes. But, there are up-and-comers that look to be rivalling laminate on those fronts this year. Co-Founder Rob Banks talks a lot about the rise in interest of luxury vinyl tile on his post about 2011 Domotex floor trends, just as a for instance.

      Thanks for comments!

  3. I love bamboo and wood floors. They are easy to maintain and give a really modern look to a room. I especially like bamboo because it helps grows in countries like Thailand make a living. I am all for supporting a material that is eco-friendly and at the same time provides jobs for some of the world’s poorest people. I dislike carpets intensely because they can easily get full of dust and dirt without you really noticing. They are then difficult to keep completely clean. Bamboo, wood and tiles are very easy to keep clean. They are also great for people with dust allergies.

  4. David Monger (Floor and Decor) Reply to David

    I’m a Wood Department Manager for Floor and Decor, I must say that Engineered Floors are a great selection due to how well they handle moisture compared to solid Woods, BUT when it says people get the look of solid wood without the price tag, it’s a false statement. When choosing a floor you have to consider the species of which you choose. That is to say, if I were looking into either getting engineered Red Oak or Brazilian Walnut (Solid) I’d pick the solid. It would be 286% harder then the engineered oak. Not to mention if you’re going over a concrete based sub-floor, you have to use a moisture barrier and a 100% urethane adhesive. (For both solid and engineered) So with that being said, the fact the engineered handles moisture better then solid gets thrown out the window. Vise versa, if I had the choice of engineered Brazilian Walnut or solid red oak, I’d pick the engineered, that veneer of Walnut is still going to be harder then the solid oak, AND now the fact it will handle moisture better then that solid, it’s a win win situation. Food for thought.

  5. David Monger (Floor and Decor) Reply to David

    when it says people get the look of solid wood without the price tag, it’s a false statement…what I meant was an Engineered Brazilian Walnut will cost you more then a solid Red Oak. So it really just depends on what you’re looking for as to what the price tag will be.

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