Patricia Shannon for Better Homes & Gardens on the latest trends in tiles. Let the excellent remodelers at SRB Signature Kitchen & Bath help you with your kitchen or bath upgrade.
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Find tile inspiration for your bathroom, kitchen, and more with these popular design ideas.
It’s time to talk tile—and there’s a lot to say. Whether you’re of the more-is-more mindset or are looking for a natural look, there’s a trend to suit your aesthetic. From terra-cotta applications to interesting installations to grout that does more than just hold bricks together, today’s tile trends are aplenty. To get all the details on installation, colors, shapes, patterns, and more, we tapped Kali Gibson, PR and partnerships manager for Fireclay Tile, and Sarah Lonsdale, senior creative director at Cle Tile.
“Color is everywhere! This is an era of maximalism and embracing color is a large part of it,” says Lonsdale. But getting color right can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to begin. Gibson says the best place to start is by selecting a color family that speaks to you and your aesthetic goals. “When you’re choosing your tile color, you should select a color that will bring you joy and suit your style in the long term.”
As for what’s trending, Lonsdale says green and mauve tones are two of her favorites right now. “One of the things I love about green is that while it might be trending, it truly never goes out of style. Good design is timeless and if you choose this color in a shade you love, it will invigorate your home for years to come,” she says.
When it comes to mauve, she prefers to treat it like a neutral—but with flair. “Mauve plays well with both warm and cool tones and works wonders in creating a soothing feeling wherever it is used,” Gibson says. “I especially love how this color creates a luxe, spa-like vibe in a bathroom.”
2. Authentic Materials
“It’s a return to the classics with stone and terra-cotta,” says Lonsdale. “There’s a real move towards embracing authenticity and the handcrafted, and we see this in particular with terra-cotta tile.” The draw of using these natural materials is their imperfections, but Lonsdale says this hasn’t always been the case. “Where at one time we had to explain the rustic finish or the variation in the color of clay that comes with something natural and fired in a kiln, designers are now seeking this out.”
Zellige tile, a handcrafted clay variety that embraces irregularities in everything from the surface texture to each tile’s size and shape, also plays to the authentic movement. While these rustic, natural materials can add character and interest to just about any project, they also come at a price. “Not everyone can afford a giant slab, so making this material available in tile form makes it not just accessible, but also gives greater design options,” says Lonsdale.
3. Creative Installations
Thinking about installation with a fresh eye, especially when it comes to classic materials, will give your tile a fresh, contemporary style. “A vertical orientation of brick or tile has a more modern look, so if your style ranges from midcentury to eclectic, this pattern is a perfect choice,” says Gibson. “Plus, it can highlight or create an illusion of height in your home, which is always a good thing.”
Speaking of height, there’s no easier way to give the illusion of higher ceilings when working with tile than thinking beyond eye level. “We have always been big proponents of taking tile all the way to the ceiling as opposed to halfway up a wall,” says Lonsdale. “That said, we are also seeing some great creative installations on tiling the ceiling, too, which creates a whole different vibe.”
4. Impactful Grout
“Grout has often been overlooked as a design element, but it’s such an integral part of any tile installation and can really make or break a project,” says Lonsdale. While there are ways to have fun with grout, careful installation is also key in order to protect the tile and avoid the potential need for frequent cleaning (looking at you, white grout flooring). “In terms of design, a contrasting grout color will really make a pattern pop, but if you want a more subtle look, find a color that matches your tile,” suggests Gibson. “We’ve also been seeing people be more playful with grout. Pairing a fun color with a white tile makes for a memorable installation.”
5. Hand-Painted Tiles
Hand-painted floors have been on the radar as of late, but hand-painted tiles are also trending and can make an impact in a budget-friendly way. “Hand-painted tiles are a beautiful way to add something special to your home, plus a little can go a long way. If you’re on a budget, consider tiling your powder room floor or create a focal point behind your stove,” says Gibson.
Both patterns and florals are in, big time, Lonsdale says, and mixing and matching them with hand-painted designs can play to the maximalist trend, too. Even if budget isn’t an issue, keeping these bold trends small in scope can prevent your tile from becoming too busy or overwhelming the space while still allowing it to act as a focal point in your design.