Modern laminate flooring isn’t how you remember it!

Remember those glossy fake wood planks your Dad came home with in the 80s? They were very unsophisticated. Fortunately, you can now forget about them because the modern versions have changed in every way.

Modern engineered wood planks and laminated tiles are often impossible to tell from the real thing. Their construction is solid, they snap together with a tight click and their finished appearance is convincing even when you get on hands and knees and run your fingers over the grain.

Now that engineered flooring really can capture the qualities of the materials that inspire them, the enormous advantages become clear. A range of exotic timbers, stone or other materials become available that you would never have been able to afford, or even find, before. And you aren’t depleting the earth of precious rainforest and other rare resources.

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Textured finishes have become more prevalent, more convincing and more popular over the last decade. The range has been widening and so has awareness of the ways you can work them into a room design. Types that simulate real wood grains are certainly the most popular but there is laminate flooring that looks and feels like parquet too. For an idea of the great range of options, take a look at

The textures of distressed, antique or hand-scraped timbers have been available in engineered planks for a while but are now available in laminate tiles too.

Beyond wood

Laminate tiles are made almost entirely from wood fibres (often from recycled or renewable resources), but it doesn’t have to look like it. It can also look like stone or ceramic tiles. In fact, the majority of flooring options you can think of are all readily available as laminates for a fraction of the overheads in time, labour and costs.

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The sky is the limit

Although harder to get hold of at the moment, expect even wilder options to become the norm in future years. In principle, laminate surfaces can resemble any pattern and texture you can imagine, including newsprint, 3D optical illusions or abstract art. To oil the wheels of your imagination have a look at the ideas here.

Crocodile skin leather and other amazing fabric finishes exist. A simpler alternative for the creative is to mix different colourful tile types, arranging them into geometric and contrasting patterns.