Just as grey is popular in paint and cabinetry, so too is it favored in tile, according to the experts. “Greys and whites continue to be popular choices for both floor and wall tiles,” says Dale Wigden of Louisville Tile.
In addition, homeowners are moving away from “flat” wall tile and are requesting more dimensional formats, Wigden says. “They’re looking for bevels and interesting shapes like arabesques and penny rounds. For floor tiles they like larger planks and oblong sizes, often in realistic wood and natural stone looks, which have become better and better due to advances in digital glaze applications.
Large format tiles, which have been in vogue for a few years, show no signs of losing popularity. “Due to the technology used by tile manufacturers, larger format tiles have become commonplace, including 24-inch x 48-inch and 12-inch x 72-inch sizes,” Wigden says.
In agreement is Lindsey Rose of The Tile Shop who reports the company has seen homeowner tastes change from beige to white to grey. In addition, she says, consumers favor subway tiles in ceramic, glass, and stone and don’t care for standard 4-inch backsplash tiles favored in years past.
“Current trends include large format tiles, geometric patterns, encaustic tiles (cement tiles with pressed color designs), white marble, and mixed materials, such as mosaics with glass, stone, and metal,” Rose says.
Reporting that technology has been a big driver in the company’s popular tiles, Rose adds that faux wood is one of the most popular looks because it looks so real but is less expensive and easier to maintain than real wood.
These tiles—porcelain—have come a long way, according to Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors. Digital printing advancements allows manufacturers to achieve a truly natural look. “Porcelain is very durable, and doesn’t require sealing or special cleaners.”
Jones says subway tiles in a 3-inch x 6-inch brick layout are still popular for backsplashes. “It’s a classic choice, in marble, ceramic, or porcelain,” she says. “And larger tiles are great for floors and backsplashes. They can create a more contemporary look and can create a seamless look in many parts of the home from fireplaces to showers.”
Agreeing that large format tiles continue to be popular because their use reduces the number of grout lines and brings the modern look of continuous surfaces to a home is Victoria Highfill of Hermitage Kitchen Design Center. “Mosaics and smaller tiles are frequently used in kitchen backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and accent walls in baths,” she says.
While straight and soldier patterns are more common in contemporary design with brick and diagonal patterns making an appearance in more traditional spaces, Highfill adds that the “fun” patterns such as chevron or herringbone are becoming popular in transitional spaces.
Daltile suggests that while wood-look tile has already been established as a favorite, the trend will shift slightly this year toward creative uses of wood-look tile. Wood tile planks, the company says, can be found in all sorts of interesting patterns, especially herringbone, and will also be found making a strong appearance on the walls.
Other trends Daltile reports include homeowners who gravitate to tile that mimics the weathered, distressed look of reclaimed wood. Everything from barn wood to aged painted planks will be more prevalent than in previous years. The company also suggests that painted wood will be the next bold thing in wood flooring and that tile will follow suit with whitewashed looks and even some brightly hued geometric patterns and floral designs on a classic wood grain texture. Homeowners will also see the rings and circles of the cross grain found when a tree is cut at the stump.
Another trend spotted by Daltile is the use of tile mimicing brick. It’s easier to maintain than actual brick and offers the same look and feel. Most brick installations have been on walls, but this year expect to see brick on the floor. Just as painted wood is finding popularity, brick tile is getting a facelift with some paint. Painted brick has a retro look that is coming back into vogue but still has a flair of the contemporary.
Tile will be able to interpret marble in a new way this year with porcelain making it possible for the marble look to go where it has never gone before—on floors, walls, in mosaics, and mixed with other materials.
Metallics as an accent make a design lean toward the dramatic. Daltile suggests that even in small doses, the metallic look is a hit. It will be everywhere this year, but it will play a supporting role.
And while trends will still favor neutral colors, textures will be anything but neutral. Look for geometric pattern, waves, a handcrafted look, and high-low mosaic patterns—look, in other words, for tile that give a surface a 3D experience.
There are a number of sources for tile in the Nashville area including:
Decorating Den Interiors
Forsythe Home Styling
Hantel Kitchens & Baths
Hermitage Kitchen Design Gallery
Tile Shop, The
Traditions in Tile