Emily Morrow, Shaw Flooring's director of color, style and design, discusses flooring while Designer Visions panelists Alexa Hampton, Victor Ermoli and Linda Woodrum look on.

NEW YORK – As younger people move into the workplace, their attitudes about flooring will begin to differ dramatically from what homeowners demand today, a panel of designers said at a recent forum exploring the industry's future.

“The next generation of professionals and flooring consumers are going to be very different than what we have now,” said Victor Ermoli, dean of the School of Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. “They will have between 15 and 20 jobs in their lives and that will affect the way they see the home. They will live in a home for only three or four years and they will not want to make big improvements in those homes.”

As a result, Ermoli and the two other panelists at the Designer Visions forum sponsored by Shaw Flooring said dark wood floors that are easily scratched and uniquely colored carpets could give way to lighter colored wood and neutral colored carpets.

From left: Alexa Hampton, Victor Ermoli, and Linda Woodrum at Shaw's Designer Visions event.

In addition, they said, more emphasis will be placed on the texture and sustainability of the materials used to cover a home's floors.

“Floors are the foundation of a home,” noted Linda Woodrum, owner of T.S. Hudson Interiors and the designer of the HGTV Dream House and Green Home projects. “They are so significant that when they are not right there is really nowhere you can go from there.”

Still, the designers on the panel stressed the future of flooring will continue to offer unique options for a wide variety of tastes as technology continues to evolve and creates ways to produce carpets with intricate prints and a wider variety of uses, including in bathrooms and other areas of the home where it's applications have traditionally been limited.

“Carpet is so important,” the third panelist, Alexa Hampton, president of Mark Hampton LLC, said. “It makes a statement about who you are.”-Richard Monks