I go in and out of a lot of houses and I notice when certain design features (finishes, accessories, even layout styles) are waning or gaining in popularity. Recently, new trends in floors seem to be all the rage. In what might have sounded like an oxymoron only a few years ago, “high end vinyl” is now a chic option. (Who’d have thought?) These low–maintenance floors are the most economical choice and tend to have long lives. They are now available in designs that often mimic natural stone, wood, ceramic and even porcelain. I’ve even seen some that are made to look like leather! Similarly, tile is now experiencing a similar trend–looking like other materials. You can choose ceramic tile that looks like natural stone or brick and porcelain tile that looks like wood (a very common choice in new construction bathrooms, for some reason). People are also demanding (and finding more) 16″ sized tiles. These are often laid on the diagonal, creating a more elegant look. Cork isn’t brand new, but, especially in kitchens, is gaining in popularity. It is more forgiving to tired backs and legs, as it has some “give” and is, therefore, kinder to dropped dishes. It is also an environmentally conscious choice as it is easily renewable. Finally, wood, more popular than ever, is showing up in gray and even darker tones and wide plank as well as reclaimed/distressed lumber are increasingly chosen by designers and home owners. Gone are the days when floors were just for walking on–now they are an expression of creativity and taste!