Gone are the days of simply selecting the color of your standard 4×4 ceramic tiles. Style choices for walls, floors, and exteriors evolve each year with hot new designs, style, colors, and shapes coming from as far away as Italy. So what tile trends will your interior designer be endorsing and what should you expect to find at your tile shop?
What better way to find out what is new and trending in tile then healthymanviagra.com to rub elbows with members of the Arizona chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) at their networking mixer. NKBA is a non-profit trade association that promotes the professionalism of the kitchen and bath industry. Needless to say by mingling with these kitchen and bath pros, I’m sure to get the best in insider information.
The evening was hosted by a design industry gem, The Tile Shop. The Tile Shop is located on Priest in Tempe and has an internet presence at TheTileShop.com. As part of the evening’s presentation The Tile Shop’s tile expert, Steve Morgenthaler, and Mark and Jason of Patterson Remodeling & Custom Tile held a Q&A to talk about popular trends promoted at the exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings held in Bologna, Italy this past fall.
The Italians are playing with shapes and modularity. By mixing and matching geometric shapes on square and rectangular tiles, patterns pop with a high impact, kaleidoscopic effect. This distinct look is a great way to bring life to small spaces from a kitchen backsplash, feature walls, or flooring. Geometric shapes, although very much a contemporary design, have been used to enhance living spaces for centuries.
Use these tiles alone or combined with ceramic or porcelain tiles to create beautiful, dramatic effects in traditional spaces or to add a fun textural effect to the walls of contemporary spaces. As these patterned and fragmented tiles will be taking over floors and walls in a big way going forward.
Wood-look tile has clearly been established as a true favorite in both residential and commercial spaces. America’s love affair with wood and the easy care of porcelains ensures that this trend won’t change anytime soon. In fact, wood-look tiles just keep getting more realistic and better with each new product introduction.
The most dominant shift this year in wood-look tile is toward some very creative patterns and textures:
- Wonderful new tile shapes being inspired by age-old patterns as Italian companies produce chevron and herringbone tiles across all scales to create patterns that are easy to install.
- Weathered, distressed finishes ranging from barn wood details to aged painted planks.
- As painted wood flooring grows in popularity, tile will follow suit with whitewashed looks, brightly hued geometric patterns, and gorgeous floral designs on classic wood grain textures.
- A new idea in wood is the cross grain. Most wood-look applications show the grain, but some manufacturers are showing interest in highlighting a new perspective. Think of a tree stump cut against the grain—that’s the cross grain. The rings and textures will create a whole new wood-look going forward.
Look for tile planks in all sorts of interesting patterns, especially herringbone and chevron. You’ll also find wood-look tile making a strong appearance on the walls.
Last year the hexagon was a title industry favorite; this season it’s all about brick. Just as exposed brick walls have become the renovator’s favorite, brick tiles, polished to rustic finishes, and in designs ranging from interpretations of aged brick walls, oozing mortar spills and remnants of paint. Painted brick with its strong retro look has a contemporary flair with graphics, text, and metallic highlights as well as being a natural complement to natural surfaces like concrete and wood.
Brick-look porcelain tile is easier to maintain than actual brick so look to see this retro material on floors as well as walls from your country kitchen to your contemporary loft.
Cement, like wood or brick, isn’t a new idea for floors and walls. But this trend is showing its softer side as it hits its stride with highly textural elements:
- Pairing of cotto and concrete resulting in earthy, dimensional hues, and multi-faceted color variances. This rustic and slightly aged look lends itself well to classic designs rather than being exclusively modern.
- Softer, warmer hues, making it suitable for all kinds of design. Concrete has broken the barriers between contemporary and traditional design with its warm grey, taupe, and beiges.
- Look for a variety of different shapes and sizes ranging from mosaic, planks, hex, and large format tiles making concrete a go to favorite in design.
A genuine warmth emerged in tile introductions this year, lending a softness to the hard, cool surface. Designs with distressed and tactile effects such as sandblasting, stripped wood, and fabric patterns as well as warmer shades, watercolor finishes, and velvety textures. A welcome reprieve and fresh contrast from the minimal aesthetic of recent years.
Thick, thin, vertical and horizontal, straight, intersecting, flat and three dimensional, linear designs have the ability to add movement and depth to a space. Marble looks with classic white backgrounds and gray veining is more realistic than ever, making it possible to achieve classic high-end looks in every imaginable format. Porcelain tile is ready to deliver in the years ahead.
Technological advances have brought us three dimensional surfaces in tile. Folds, wavy ridges, concave and convex geometry, and asymmetrical profiles. These sculpted surfaces draw the eye and give a strong tactile, rhythmic surface to contemporary spaces.
Neutral colors dominate but these three dimensional patterns are anything but neutral. Finishes and materials include porcelain, glass, and soft buttery textures making them a go to effect for kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, and high impact walls.
Three dimensional tiles, as beautiful and intriguing as they are, do present a unique design challenge when it comes to corners and edges. Although in some instances materials can be mitered, matching of pattern is highly difficult and not always successful.
Despite gray’s recent rise in popular culture, gray has always been a go to neutral for contemporary designers. Italian tile introductions embrace these shades ranging from crisp, cool slate tones to the dusty, warms combinations of grays and beiges. A textural suede-like interest, hued variations, and embossed patterns generate a calm and relaxing timeless appearance, pairing perfectly with everything from neutrals to bright, bold color palettes.
ALL IS NOT GRAY
No longer limited to the backsplash or tub surround, tile is replacing paint and wallpaper as a top pick for wall coverings. Intense pops of color and metallics lend a design toward the dramatic. Even in small doses, colorful tiled walls will play a supporting role for those that dare.
With a passion for graffiti this is one trend that’s easy to embrace as portrayed by several Italian companies. Transforming the energy of street art and pop culture into printed tiles creating objets d’art. Andy Warhol graphics and spray painted surfaces not to your appeal? Use images of family, travels, and special moments to mark milestones and create a bit of whimsy on the walls of your home. Maybe a motivational message next to the office coffee dispenser to add a little perk to the pick me up.
SIZE AND SHAPE
The simple rectangle is being challenged in both size and scope. With the improvements of tile manufacturing technology in general, production has pushed the envelope with thin, oversized porcelain slabs in sizes up to an unheard of 5.25′ x 10.5′. Homeowners, with a long standing distaste for grout lines, are installing larger tiles on floors, walls, countertops, and furnishings, bringing an entirely new levels of challenge to the installer. Proper preparation and installation is a must with oversized tiles to prevent long term tile cracking and buckling, and substrate failure. You’ll want these sleek, sexy surfaces around for years.
For those with a passion for smaller, whimsical tiles, the emergence of various shapes and geometric patterns include hexagons, triangles, stars, and diamonds allowing for a myriad of possibilities on backsplashes, floors, and walls. The only thing holding you back is your imagination.
The future holds promise for clever design and new developments in tile. I look forward to seeing where inspiration leads your next project.
Head on over to our Facebook page to check out our gallery from The Tile Shop & NKBA mixer event. Lots of great shots of wonderful tiles and talented NKBA members!
What tile trends do you love the most and what are you using most on your projects? Share your experiences with us in the comments.