When weekend supplement style gurus describe something as the “new black” or “so this year”, you may be tempted to turn the page, bin the supplement or shoot the guru. But when one wrote last week that “wood is tipped as a key interiors trend for 2003” I had to read on. It turned out to make more sense than I’d expected. The piece said that wood furniture and interior joinery generally are in greater demand than at any time since products in alternative materials came on the market. As evidence, the writer pointed to the fact that, in many parts of the UK, to get hold of a good carpenter you have to book them months in advance. I can vouch for that – and our carpenter is my brother.

The triggers cited for this trend were wood’s natural appeal and capacity to be ‘reinvented’ with a quick sanding, a lick of paint or a new finish.

Another key factor has been the resurgent fashion for timber floors and consumers’ desire for fittings and furnishings to co-ordinate with them. The good news from the Contract Flooring Show is that this key driver for wood in the home continues to belt along. In fact, exhibitors predict ongoing annual market growth of 5%. Interestingly, they also said that the growth rate in sales of solid floors is catching up with that of laminates and engineered board. Even more encouraging for timber merchants, manufacturers see them as a prime outlet for solid products. “Their wood knowledge gives them a tremendous opportunity in this market,” said Tony Lancaster of Terhürne UK (and we’ll carry a full CFS report in the next TTJ).

Another producer commented that the industry should not only capitalise on the rush to timber floors now, but ensure it continues long term with effective promotion.

As far as the latter is concerned, we have the benefit of wood. for good which has big plans for 2003. It will be targeting professionals and consumers with a range of press and PR activity. And love them or loathe them, it also aims to keep those supplement style gurus talking about timber.