Still have shag carpet in your spare bedroom? Cracked bathroom tile or scratched-up hardwood? Hey, it’s probably time to get new floors.
More than 30% of homeowners cited flooring as what they dislike most about their homes, according to a survey by LightStream, the online lending division of SunTrust Bank. And, 73% of homeowners were planning some type of improvement project—so, it’s a safe bet that new floors will be high on many home improvement to-do lists.
New floors are a significant design refresher, as well as a solid investment that can increase your home’s value, says Dan DiClerico, home expert at HomeAdvisor.
“Putting down new flooring is a smart investment,” he says. “But more importantly, it can dramatically transform the look and feel of the home, while making it safer and more functional.”
But with so many flooring options out there today, what’s best? We asked DiClerico and other home design and improvement experts to share their top picks for the biggest flooring trends of 2020.
1. Wood-look porcelain tile
Porcelain tiles that look like wood? It may sound too good to be true, but wood-look tiles are all the rage these days.
“The designs are very convincing, so you could mistake them for real wood, without any wear and tear or risk of scratching,” DiClerico says. “In general, we’re seeing increased interest in engineered flooring over natural wood, mainly because it’s easier to maintain, without too much sacrificing of style.”
Cost: Installing ceramic or porcelain tile can run $3,000 to $4,000 for a 200-square-foot area, according to HomeAdvisor.
2. Marble-look porcelain tiles
Porcelain tiles that look like marble, instead of real marble, is another flooring trend, says Debbie Lori Travin of DLT Interiors, based in New York and South Florida.
“They look extremely realistic compared to their genuine counterparts, making it difficult to tell the difference but getting the same beautiful look at a fraction of the cost,” she says.
Cost: Tile flooring ranges from $13.50 to $83 per square foot.
3. Waterproof vinyl plank flooring
Waterproof vinyl floors are overtaking laminate in the flooring industry, says Nikki Watson, owner of the Design Quad, a home staging, design, and flooring firm in Dallas.
Like laminate, vinyl can have a wood look and is comparable in price, but it’s more durable. And since it’s water-resistant, it can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms and is more durable than laminate, she says.
Cost: Vinyl flooring costs can range from 50 cents to $5 per square foot, with installation an extra $3 to $5 per square foot, depending on the exact type of flooring.
4. Stained concrete
Stained concrete works well in homes that “lean modern, industrial, or midcentury” and with “a clean, minimalist design scheme,” DiClerico says. The concrete is usually mixed, poured, and polished by hand.
Cost: Cost can be $2,000 for a 200-square-foot space.
“What’s old is new and new again,” says designer Sarah Barnard. And, terrazzo flooring is popular again.
Terrazzo is made from stone fragments, crushed glass, shells or other organic materials embedded in concrete and polished until smooth. It is best known as “large-format flooring in midcentury modern buildings,” she says, adding that it is an environmentally responsible material.
Cost: Terrazzo floors average $7,000 for a 200-square-foot space.
6. Large-format tiles
“Homeowners and designers alike appreciate the scale of large tiles, plus the format minimizes the number of grout lines, for easy cleaning and maintenance,” DiClerico says.
Large format refers to 12-by-12-inch tiles or larger, up to 40 by 120 inches. Porcelain is a popular material, but ceramic and stone tiles are also popular, he says.
Cost: According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners can expect to spend $3,000 to $4,000 on installing ceramic or porcelain tile for a 200-square-foot area.
7. Black-and-white patterned tile
Black and white tiles are popping up in a variety of home styles, including transitional styles and the modern farmhouse, says Julie Chrissis, a Boston-based home stager and interior designer.
“It gives a great bold look and can be paired with almost anything for a very custom finish,” she says.
Cost: Tile floors can cost $3,000 to $4,000 for a 200-square-foot space.
8. Slip-resistant flooring
As aging in place in their existing homes becomes more common with older homeowners, DiClerico says more home improvement projects are focusing on safety, including installing slip-resistant flooring. Falls are the main cause of injury among older adults.
Slip-resistant flooring often comes in less expensive materials, such as vinyl or linoleum, making it a cost-effective project, he says.
Cost: Floors can cost $1 to $3 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor, with installation an additional $500 to $1,000 depending on the space.
9. Engineered wood
Engineered wood with a plywood core is a top choice for homeowners, says Nancy Ruddy of architecture and interiors firm CetraRuddy.
“They’re strong and come in many veneer finishes, and use wood very economically and sustainably,” she says.
Oak, mahogany, and ash are the most on-trend finishes, Ruddy says, because they’re hard and less photosensitive than other woods, meaning they’ll last longer.
Cost: Engineered wood costs range from $4 to $13 a square foot.
10. Responsibly sourced and natural materials
As homeowners grow more environmentally conscious, Barnard says, natural wood floors are becoming more popular.
More homeowners are seeking natural wood floors certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which sets standards for responsible forest management, and floors that are finished with nontoxic wax or oil.
“Utilizing nontoxic finishes contributes to clean indoor air and a healthier family,” Barnard says.
Erica Sweeney is a writer whose work appears in The New York Times, Parade, HuffPost and many other publications. Follow @ericapsweeney