Wall Tile Trends 2011
Current tile trends reflect a more refined contemporary style with clean linear edges in airy neutral shades of gray, taupe, and cream, according to Susan York of Traditions in Tile.
“In the past five years residential tile design has gradually moved away from traditional Country French styles that showcase heavy rustic tumbled materials, large decorative accents with deep hues of gold and browns,” says York.
In agreement is Cara Highfield of Kenny & Company, who reports that trends are moving away from travertine, especially tumbled travertine. “We are seeing more limestone and white selections. Clients are leaning toward more clean, cohesive looks,” she says.
Jennifer Earnest of The Finishes Group says that while subway tiles remain popular, they are now available in larger sizes—4-in. x 8-in., 4-in. x 12-in, and 2-in. x 8-in. “We’re also seeing more and more gray tones, both cool grays and warm grays,” she says.
Trends in tile include textured designs, fabric-look pieces, wood-look planks, clean monochromatic looks, contemporary graphics, glass and metal tile accents, rectangular sizes, and seamless-look grout lines.
Most of these trends evolved because of improvements in digital printing technologies which first emerged in the market about five years ago. And, in the meanwhile, tile producers worldwide have been jumping on the green bandwagon. Tile manufacturers say their products are environmentally friendly because they are long-lasting, can be recycled, waste can be recycled, and new slimmer tile formats consume less material.
Style-wise, interesting cut-outs, lace, oversized flowers, skinny stripes, and mid-century modern are making their way to the tile runway. Experts say look for organic influences ranging from rustic wood-looks to natural stone.
Although large sizes, gorgeous textures and designs, and contemporary styles are abundant, it may take a while for them to penetrate the American market from Europe, according to Lynda Whittle of American Olean, a sister brand of Dal-Tile, who says, “Beige is king [in America.]’’ Other neutral palettes of black, white, and gray are commonly being used throughout interiors to create a monochromatic look.
Beth Taylor with Dal-Tile reports that linear tiles and mosaics are among the most requested tiles. “They are available in sizes ranging from 4-in. x 36-in. to 12-in. x 24-in. for field tiles. There are great linear mosaics in stone, glass, and metals. Classic stone bathrooms are always in fashion and now the colors and sizes of stones are even better, allowing us greater creativity.”
Porcelain tiles that resemble other materials, such as wooden planks, concrete, and fabrics are popular, according to Marcia Leach of Designer Floors and Interiors. “They offer the look of natural materials without the maintenance.”
Alyson Pitarre of Hastings Tile & Bath says, “Tile options continue to evolve and consumers and designers are moving toward sensuous, organic shapes. No one is relegated to using ‘just’ subway tiles anymore. Glass mosaics, metallics, fake animal skin, raised panel tiles, richly saturated colors, and a myriad of sizes are available.
Saying that Calcutta Gold is the most expensive materials used, Robert Bell, Jr., of Custom Tile and Marble, says it is used on 50 percent of his jobs. “Travertine is also very popular, but just about anything goes with travertine, such as glass borders, insets, borders—you name it,” he says.
Water-jet technology’s advancements have created greater possibilities in tile by giving tile manufacturers the ability to cut stone into unique shapes and patterns, according to Zachary Epstein of Artistic Tile. Large format glass tiles have become popular and accessible and can be utilized in creating unusual mosaics.
York says the most prevalent themes in wall materials are dimensional relief pieces, organic linear forms, and mosaics in a multitude of textures and shapes. “Classic linear inspired art deco shapes such as subway tile and elongated rectangles in stone and ceramic are configured in herringbone and soldier course patterns to create focal points.
One of the newest trends, according to Bell, is broken joints and 6-in.x24-in. tiles running vertically in showers, making the shower seem taller.
Regarding kitchen backsplashes, Leach says, “Many of our customers have a lot of movement in their granite countertops, so tile backsplashes tend to be fairly simple with glass and natural stone used as borders and full backsplash options.”
Amanda Sweeney of Just Design This says one of the newest trends she’s seeing is painting a wall a particular color and laying translucent glass tiles over the painted surface.
There are a number of sources for tile in the Nashville area including:
Custom Tile and Marble
Designer Floors & Interiors
Discount Ceramic Tile
The Finishes Group
Hastings Tile & Bath
Just Design This
Kenny & Company
Tile and Stone Design
Traditions in Tile