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When luxury real estate agents and buyers evaluate a property’s design, the exquisite furniture, high-end fittings, and ornate architectural flourishes will certainly command their attention — but there’s another, slightly more humble element that may catch their eyes first. The floors underfoot have a powerful bearing on the quality and character of the home. Flooring brings cohesion to the design while allowing each room’s distinct personality to stand apart.
Flooring is fundamental
“For a luxury property, the flooring is the foundation of the design and plays a significant role in setting the overall tone, look, and feel of the property,” says Renee Marvin, Real Estate Associate with Sotheby’s International Realty – Montecito – Coast Village Road Brokerage, citing her experience as both a real estate agent and an interior designer.
“It can ultimately influence the perceived quality of the property,” she adds. “The flooring may affect a future buyer’s decision about the sale price or even the purchase.”
Jenn Gilson, Real Estate Associate with Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, agrees. “Buyers are willing to pay more for a home with high-end finishes and materials, including flooring,” she says. “If a luxury property has high-quality, durable flooring, it can increase the perceived value, leading to a higher sale price and quicker time to close.”
Staying ahead of trends
Gilson points out that there are certain areas where buyers may prioritize the look and feel of the floor: An elegant marble floor makes a statement in a grand foyer. The traditional, earthy quality of hardwood cultivates a warm ambiance in the living room. And gorgeous, hand-laid tile provides a low-maintenance but attractive surface for the kitchen.
What materials are most impressive to buyers at the moment? Here are the top five trends that Marvin and Gilson are watching now.
1. Warm-colored woods
“You can’t beat the character, durability, and acoustic benefits that wood floors bring to a home,” says Marvin. “The current design trends are moving toward warmer tones.”
Warm woods are multi-purpose, working well in designs that embrace the calmness of neutral hues and natural fabrics or those that emphasize boldness and decoration. Marvin notes these floors also look great with greens and blues, which have gained popularity.
“White oak for flooring remains a star because it’s a harder wood and thus is less prone to dents or warping,” she says. “Also expect to see a return of mid-range wood finishes like walnut.”
2. Adventurous patterns
Buyers are also attracted to hardwood floors that defy convention. “More adventurous wood flooring layouts such as herringbone and chevron are being used in conjunction with straight wood floor patterns,” says Marvin. “These add depth and character.” With a unique finish, they can “be a subtle yet beautiful variation on the standard straight layout.”
3. Playful, patterned tile
Tile remains popular, Marvin notes, due to its cost and durability. “Current trends favor larger format installations for fewer grout lines and a more seamless look.” However, “colorful, patterned floor tiles for bathrooms or kitchens are still popular. We’re seeing playful checkerboard patterns in either tile or stone,” she says. “It’s classic yet current.”
Gilson adds that there’s an adjacent trend worth watching — luxury vinyl tile. “It’s known for its durability, water resistance, and ability to mimic the look of other flooring materials, such as hardwood and stone,” she says.
4. Classic natural stone
Speaking of stone, Gilson observes that this particular trend hasn’t gone anywhere. “Natural stone flooring such as marble, travertine, limestone, and antique stone tiles are popular in entryways, and sometimes in larger gathering spaces with an area rug.”
5. Ultramodern concrete
In urban areas and homes with modern aesthetics, Gilson has seen concrete flooring increase in popularity. “Concrete floors can be polished and stained to create a range of colors and finishes, and they are known for their durability and industrial-chic aesthetic,” she says.
Final thoughts on floors
“While it’s important to stay current with flooring trends, it’s also important to select materials and designs that are timeless and will appeal to a wide range of buyers,” says Gilson.
Marvin echoes that sentiment: “When in doubt, simple and classic is the long-term winner.” She cautions, “Flooring is an expensive renovation.”
“Ultimately, choosing flooring that’s appropriate to the architecture, lifestyle, climate, and overall design of a home will definitely affect the beauty of the property, the price point, and days on the market prior to sale.”