“This is the time to reflect on the past year here at Ecora, and we have had some great successes, including the opening of our second store. However, it's also an exciting time as we look forward to and plan our year ahead. It's the time, when a retailer like our selves, takes stock so to speak. I use this time of the year to look back at the trends I saw at Trade Shows and what products proved to be popular in 2011 and what change I forecast in designs and of course flooring.

For the last three years or so designs have dictated that grey wood flooring is the most popular amongst the colours available. We have worked closely with our suppliers to create unique grey colours to offer to our clients and we've built up a wide range of products. Oak Portobello, Oak Carnaby, Oak City Grey and Grey French

Oak have been some of our best sellers this year. However, towards the late part of 2011 we experienced a slight shift in trends towards much darker colours. The new feel seems to be dark floors and architraves with light painted walls. It echoes very much of Kelly Hoppen's signature designs. Simple, clean, masculine and then finished with feminine touches.

We already have an excellent range of dark flooring on offer. These include Oak Long Acre and Oak Aubergine for a shabby chic interior. Oak Thermo with its beautiful, rich, natural colours for a glamours look as well as Oak Milton. We did, however, feel we needed a couple more dark products. So in 2012 we will add Oak Core Fumed to our range. This product has been heavily fumed and when you see it unfinished, it carries a very dark brown colour, but once you apply and oil or lacquer finish, the colour becomes jet black!

The other product we will be adding to our range is Oak Farringdon. Unlike all our other dark stained floors, this one is finished with a lacquer, not an oil. The unfinished Oak is heavily brushed and then the finish is sprayed on by machine, creating a contemporary floor. There are also two different sheen levels: Matt Black or Semi-Sheen.

When I discuss the option of dark floors with my clients a lot of them say to me that if they were to have a dark floor everything else in the space would have to be light colours such as whites, tuapes and greys in order to prevent the room from feeling smaller. Not true! I recently stayed in a hotel in a relatively average sized room. The floors were finished a dark black lacquer, the walls were a very light grey and so was the bedding, but the accent colour was this beautiful lime green floral pattern. It wasn’t done over the top at all, but the impact that little bit of fresh zingy colour had on the room was amazing!

So those are my personal trend forecasts for 2012, but remember that regardless of what’s trendy right now, you have to select a product that suits you, your lifestyle, your interiors and your taste.

As always we are available via phone, email and more importantly face to face in our showrooms to assist and advise you on selecting our products.

All the best for an amazing 2012!”

Jeandré du Toit