Even in these times of rapidly-changing design trends, the wide variety of laminate flooring available on the market can satisfy the customer’s desire for individuality. The creative potential presented by laminate flooring is fascinating in its vastness and, with each new collection, the products are refined not only in visual terms, but also in their technical specification.

At the Domotex exhibition in Hanover during January, European laminate flooring manufacturers in the EPLF exhibited together with their suppliers to show how they are setting the pace for the international flooring markets.

Reflected in products exhibited are the big furnishing trends for 2015 on the international markets: ‘Shabby Chic’; ‘Vintage’; and ‘Scandinavian Style’. Interior design, originality, clarity of style and naturalness are all in demand.

Thanks to advanced printing and finishing techniques, the boards offered by EPLF members demonstrated the perfect interplay between decor and texture. More defined printing with a strong 3D effect gives the true-to- nature grain patterns of the decors a more authentic look and more vibrant colours.

This year, laminate wood effects are presented in an overall calmer and more reserved way than in previous years; cracks and knots on the surface are rather less pronounced.

The finishes range from high gloss through to semi-matt and matt low-gloss effects in oiled wooden flooring style.

The versatile oak decors continue to dominate the international range of laminates.

However, other premium and natural design wood decors such as wych elm, ash, spruce, larch, walnut and pine are increasingly finding favour among buyers. With regard to colour, wood effects currently have a tendency towards the lighter natural tones: light beige, cream, warm light grey shades, or even matt white.

The current trend for open space living is satisfied by popular plank flooring, with even more choice provided by the extra-long and extra-wide formats. These create the impression of generously-sized rooms and result in a beautiful floor pattern, as this setting lets the colours and textures of authentic wood decors really come into their own. Even with the extra-long single strip flooring of two or more metres in length, there is still no distracting repeat effect in the decor; each individual plank looks like it was grown naturally. In the multi-strip sector, European manufacturers have devised highly effective and elegant laminate flooring modelled on traditional laying patterns. They are playing in a creative way with the decorative, geometric possibilities of traditional parquet panels, but using a modern twist; for example, they are combining classic wood with stylish stone finish decors to produce the look of a mixed material.

Special plank designs are available and they are increasing the size of these versatile laminate flooring collections: moisture-repellent surfaces for use in kitchens and bathrooms are just as easy to find as are highly non-slip surfaces for use in entrance and work areas.

Laminate floors made in Europe look likely to be leading the way again in 2015.