Herringbone, tiles in the garden and warmer tones: flooring trends to watch out for

With prices starting at about €19 per square metre for laminate, a new floor doesn’t have to break the bank

For many people who are in the process of renovating or refreshing a room, the walls, décor and soft furnishings are often what they focus their attention on. But the right floor covering could make the world of difference and could see homeowners shifting their gaze in a downward direction.

In our grandparents’ time, lino was de rigueur as an easy fix to transform a floor space – the next generation seemed to favour carpets in every room of the house, even, in some cases, the bathroom. And now, while modern, funky and durable versions of both are still in demand, there is a wealth of choice available which not only looks good but has many other benefits – such as being cost effective, natural, sustainable, hard-wearing and insulating.

Marie Nolan is in the process of ‘doing up’ her new apartment and while her initial focus was on paint colours, curtains and bath ware, she decided to also change the floors in the livingroom, bathroom and kitchen and says it has made a world of difference.

“Changing the flooring wasn’t something I had originally planned to do,” she says. “But when we took up the livingroom carpet, the floor underneath was concrete and as I decided that a new wooden floor would be nicer than any kind of carpet. I did a bit of shopping around and decided on a honey coloured oak laminate, which has totally transformed the room.


“It made such a big difference, that I then decided to change the kitchen and bathroom flooring, both of which were really dark. I didn’t want to spend too much money but because the spaces were quite small I was able to choose end-of-line tiles, which cost less. I went for a pale leaf colour in the bathroom and a creamy colour in the kitchen, which made both rooms seem much brighter. I am absolutely delighted that I decided to do this and it definitely has been a good investment. I can’t wait to get on with the rest of the decorating now.”

Flooring expert Charlie Hamilton, managing director with Dublin-based Canadia, says Nolan is bang on trend with her choices.

“As we specialise in wood flooring this is where we see our expertise,” he says. “We are seeing a slight move away from greys, which have dominated walls and floors over the last decade. And although greys and off-whites will always find favour with customers who prefer a neutral Scandi-type interior, we are finding warmer tones, mid-tones and traditional natural-coloured oaks are making a strong return in Irish homes.

“In general life stages and budget tends to influence whether customers buy laminate or engineered/solid floors, but the quality and visual appearance of laminates have changed beyond recognition since the 1990s. Herringbone is also a strong performer as it offers a statement or feature floor in the home for a fraction more than a traditional plank floor.

“Also natural oaks, with an almost unfinished appearance, despite being finished, are featuring more now because they are timeless -–while chevron and wide plank, 240mm and wider for bigger spaces, are popular at the moment.”

The Tallaght-based showroom has a collection of over 250 types of floors, of varying types of wood construction, including solid wood and engineered, along with laminate with herringbone, chevron and other decorative patterns, which customers can view.

Hamilton says that choosing the right floor is down to both personal preference and environmental factors.

“We believe that floors are a focal point in the home and we combine this with our expertise so we can help customers perfectly match both the style and budget requirements of their project,” he says. “So there are a number of features and factors which impact on what we advise customers when choosing their floors – including moisture, heat and footfall.

“At Canadia we start out by defining the scope of the ‘project’ (the room or area); for example, we believe the main living space benefits most from the ambience of real wood. A bedroom will have a lot less wear than a hallway; equally a bathroom will require a different specification to a livingroom.

“So the conversation with the client, taking the time to understand their requirements and their expectations, is central to choosing the right floor. Often it is about helping them to rule out an unsuitable consideration to get to the right selection for their project.”

Whether or not there are any animals or children, how exposed the room is to daylight or moisture, what is the unevenness of the existing floor, and is the house a new or old build and even the colour on the walls, all play a part in determining what type of floor surface to opt for. Colour also plays a large part in the choice, followed by texture, width and length of board and finish.

The cost of changing or laying a floor can differ greatly with laminate flooring at Canadia starting at around €18.95, engineered floors from €62.95 and solid floors at €69.95 – all per square metre. Canadia do not offer a fitting service, but it would typically start at about €30 per sq m for plank flooring and herringbone at €45 per sq m, in addition to the cost of the floor itself.

The product expert says that although costs have increased he and his colleagues will always do their best to ensure the best price available. “Prices have unfortunately risen in the past couple of years due to supply chain prices rising because of shortages and increased production and transportation costs,” he says. “However, we have seen some stability since last summer and it is important to note that as an organisation when we see costs increasing we go back to the market and seek more competitive products, while maintaining our quality and sustainability goals.”

Ruth McCarthy of TileStyle in Ballymount, Dublin, agrees and says the cost per square metre for flooring can vary depending on the type of material chosen, the quality of the product, and the complexity of the installation – with prices ranging from €30 upwards per square metre. “Prices have increased over the last year as the pandemic has affected supply chains and caused disruptions in the global economy. The extent of the increase varies by product and supplier, but customers should expect to see prices higher than they were before the pandemic.”

But she is sure that despite the higher cost there is an option to suit all properties. And while enriching the living spaces of your home with natural wood is a beautiful way to enhance your home, rooms with a lot of humidity, cooking or food preparation or if the floors are likely to get wet, a more robust option such as a tile is usually required.

Indeed, McCarthy says that some people are tiling more than just the bathroom and kitchen and even extending outdoors into the garden space. But this new trend isn’t a problem for TileStyle, which has become one of Ireland’s leading suppliers of tiles, bathrooms, kitchens and wood flooring to residential and commercial markets.

“When it comes to tiling we have found that large format tiles, patterned tiles, textured tiles and marble-effect tiles are all popular choices these days,” she says. “Also, matching indoor and outdoor tiles are also popular as they allow people visually extend their home right into the garden.

“Laminate flooring and luxury vinyl tiles are also growing in popularity due to their durability, affordability, and ease of installation,- while wide plank, herringbone and chevron parquet flooring remain firm favourites for customers seeking a classic yet contemporary look.”

Choosing the best option for the different areas of your home does require some thought and the family-owned business, which was established over 40 years ago in Dublin, has a solution to suit everyone’s needs.

“When advising people on what flooring to choose for different areas of the house, we always consider factors such as footfall, lifestyle, moisture and underfloor heating,” says McCarthy. “In areas with high footfall, such as hallways and kitchens, we would recommend durable materials such as porcelain tiles, engineered wood or luxury vinyl tiles which are able to withstand heavy foot traffic and spills. Then for areas prone to moisture such as bathrooms, waterproof materials such as porcelain tiles or natural stone are a good choice.”

The type of flooring material used is a big factor when deciding what to put down, but McCarthy says that colour and texture are also very important.

“Neutral colours like shades of white, beige and grey remain a popular choice, with colours such as green and pink also rising in popularity. Textured surfaces and patterned tiles are also in high demand, as they offer a unique and distinct appeal to any space.

“Overall, the emphasis is on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere with colours and textures which bring a sense of comfort and sophistication, and TileStyle strives to bring customers the latest designs and innovations. With a strong commitment to exceptional customer service, our team of experts is dedicated to helping customers achieve their dream home.”