Tile sizes continue to grow, according to experts, and, according to Amy Balsimo of Louisville Tile Distributors, the development of inkjet printing continues to give manufacturers the ability to create gorgeous graphics.
“The ability of manufacturers to create dimensional tiles and more intricate patterns has led to tile being used in more non-common applications,” says Lesley Welch of Traditions in Tile & Stone. “We now use tile as wall coverings in powder rooms and even as accent walls in bedrooms.”
Balsimo says that while rectangular shapes are still very popular, growing in interest are curved shapes and three-dimensional wall tile. And while subway tile remains the leading trend, she reports that designers are using different patterns and even some different sizes, rather than the standard 3-in. x 6-in. style. “Longer rectangles are gaining some traction,” she says.
Herringbone designs are quite popular, according to Welch. “We’re also seeing more modern designs, such as straight stacked and vertical offset of subway tiles,” she says.
George Carwile of Robert F. Henry Tile Co. says subway, elongated subway, hexagon, and elongated hexagon tiles are very popular. “We’re also seeing wallpaper-like designs, hand-scraped wood looks in porcelain, linen, fabric, textures, and more in tile design,” he says.
“The porcelain industry has perfected its offerings to absolutely mimic natural materials in exact coloration, veining, texture, and finish,” says Carwile. “These are typically half the price of natural materials and require no extra maintenance after installation.”
Aesthetically, tile is trending in the direction of more natural looks, according to Jim Crumley of Southeastern Salvage. He’s seeing more natural looks such as aged concrete, weathered or reclaimed wood, and stone. “These have transplanted the traditional matte or gloss looks found in older homes. And while tile sizes continue to grow, 12×24 sizes account for over 50 percent of the market. Smaller spaces incorporate 12×12 and 6×6 tiles for more diverse installation patterns such as Versailles.”
Crumley adds that subway tile remains very popular, and lends itself to a wide variety of installation designs. “Many are inserting pops of color like a band of black subway on a field of white for a classic look, or you’ll see a highlight or feature in a glass tile that can break up not only the color field but the texture as well,” he says.
Subway tile remains timeless and affordable, according to Brad Hollis of GIO Architectural Tile & Stone. “There are many new sizes, shapes, and options including matte, glossy, bevel, and more,” he says.
Today’s homeowners are looking for larger format tile, at least in part to decrease the amount of grout lines, according to Camille Jacky of Milestone Design Center. “Wood-look tile is very popular, and allows people to be more ‘green’ without cutting down more trees,” she says.
For wall tile, Jacky reports that homeowners and designers are selecting vertical, abstract lines, especially for feature walls. She adds that gray is the most popular color for tile this year, with a polished finish within a shower, and a matte finish for floors.
While agreeing that subway tile is timeless and popular with her customers, Lindsay Meacham of Red Rock Tileworks says clients are becoming more adventurous with layout, selecting herringbone and elongated tile looks. “Boho patterns are in and our 8-in. Taro Hex is a huge hit. Simple satin white on our tribal-looking 6-in. tile is also very popular with black grout,” she says.
Meacham says the company’s most popular subway tile color at the moment is Laurel Lake, “a beautiful pale sea glass colored tile. It goes well with carrara marble and neutral interiors, but has enough color to show the watercolor-like look of hand glazing.” She suggests that strong colors this year will be turquoise, blush, and white.
According to Kimberly Schmunk of Focus Builders, she is seeing a shift from standard white subway tile to clean geometric tiles with interesting textures in a variety of colors. Subway tile itself is being installed in crosshatch, offset, or stacked patterns. “I think most designers are having fun with floor tile, going more neutral on the
walls but showcasing the floor with bold patterns and colors,” she says.
Geometric shapes such as hexagons and circles are making an appearance in cement and ceramic tiles, Schmunk says. “We’re also seeing natural stone paired with brass to create interesting patterns,” she says, and reports that the 1/3 offset is the most popular pattern, “but we are seeing a shift to stacked tiles for a more modern look or crosshatch patterns to add interest.”
There are a number of sources for tile including:
Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes Franklin 615/ 500-1517
Crane Builders LLC Nashville 615/ 383-0300
Crossville Inc. Crossville TN 931/ 484-2110
Focus Builders Nashville 615/ 517-5685 GIO
Architectural Tile & Stone Nashville 615/ 238-1052
Hermitage Lighting Gallery Nashville 615/ 843-2210
Interior Creations by Rachel Spring Hill 630/ 631-9027
Jonathan Miller Architects Knoxville 865/ 60-2-2435
Louisville Tile Distributors Nashville 615/ 248-8453
Marcelle Guilbeau Interiors Nashville 615/ 574-8711
Milestone Design Center Nashville 615/ 712-9100
Red Rock Tileworks Nashville 888/ 348-8453
Robert F. Henry Tile Co. Brentwood 615/ 712-9439
Southeastern Salvage Nashville 615/ 244-1001
Traditions in Tile & Stone Nashville 615/ 269-9669
Ultimate Finishes Brentwood 630/ 918-9985