If you spend even a little time in the company of artists, interior designers, or product developers—or, as we do, a lot of time—you realize that while they have many of the same mundane responsibilities as the rest of us, their approach to these daily tasks occurs through a  creative set of lenses. The pattern of their car’s upholstery becomes a new texture on a porcelain tile, the shades of green in their neighborhood park are transformed into a palette for a carpet collection, and the grain of a well-worn piece of lumber at their favorite café becomes the basis for the next best luxury vinyl plank. Their phones are filled with random images snapped throughout the day, sketches made on cocktail napkins, and audio memos reminding them about the feeling they experienced the moment they saw the next best bit of inspiration. 

In this month’s issue, we take a look at 2020 trends influencing this year’s flooring business. We talk to designers, product managers, and business leaders about what we should anticipate seeing this year.

Our deadlines always seem much too early for the January issue, but our sources are generous—giving us behind-the-scenes access to things in progress—the early sneak peeks that give us a clue about what we will see for the coming year. It’s a joy to visit a development studio. You get to understand just how much research, effort and creative inspiration is needed to get to a final product, how things are chosen or discarded based on market viability, and just how many voices are considered before a new product is put into production. And you get to learn why, just weeks before the start of the winter show season, these same teams are tweaking colors, re-shooting images, and laboring over descriptive copy to tell the product story just right. There’s a lot at stake—there is no chance for missteps in this competitive environment.

In the following pages you’ll learn about Shaw’s Color of the Year and the adventures that product development team got to experience while curating their palettes and 2020 collections. You’ll see Karastan’s first foray into hard surface, and how rugs are again being brought back into the fold for specialty retailers. Engineered Floors, celebrating its 10-year anniversary, is turning the flooring business on its head through new technology. Phenix, recently acquired by Mannington, is leveraging interior designer input to create more beautiful surfaces. This is just a small preview of all the things we will see at the markets this month, but we’re anticipating a glorious year.