More interesting color, textures, and sizes for backsplashes is the most welcome change to come along, according to Gina Hewlett of Louisville Tile. “White subway tile has its place, but it’s not every place all the time,” she says.
Daltile’s Lisa Mcneese reports that while subway tiles are still going strong, the trend is toward larger sizes such as 4x12s and 4x16s. “And we aren’t necessarily installing them in a horizontal brick lay. Sometimes we are straight stacking them or soldier stacking them vertically, even making a herringbone pattern with them,” she says.
Mcneese adds that focal or feature walls are definitely on trend, as is making an entire wall of the bathroom one tile that incorporates a wall of the shower. “The goal is to make the shower look like less of a separate compartment or room, and make it more open and part of the room,” she says.
That look can be achieved using accent tile on wall of the shower, tiling from floor to ceiling behind the vanities, or covering a entire wall of in a powder room.
Trends for materials have been gravitating away from glass and metal and toward ceramic and cement material, according to Sara Ray of Sara Ray Interiors. ” We’re seeing fewer mosaics being used, but the classic penny round and hex dot are still popular. The trends of shaped ogee and lattice tile have given way to interlocking shapes and star/cross shapes.”
Subway tile is a classic, according to Irene Williams for Crossville Tile, Inc.. “It’s perpetually popular. However, today we’re seeing more variations of the long beloved favorite: more generous dimensions to the rectangle, beveling on the edges, and more color options. And people love playing with grout color to make their subway tile installations more customized to their styles.”
Williams adds that the introduction of porcelain tile panels has taken the tile industry to new heights and new places. “From very lean profile panels (3+mm, perfect for walls) to slabs that are 12mm thick for countertop installations, it’s a new day for the ways we can use tile—in so many places never before possible for tile,” she says. Large format porcelain tiles offer large swathes of style nearly uninterrupted by grout lines.
“Think big—and small,” says Williams. “Large format and porcelain tile panels have momentum. Whether field tiles that are upwards of 36” or porcelain tile panels measured in feet, the residential market is very accustomed to large tile sizes and showing preference for these big options. In contrast, mosaic tiles are perpetual favorites.
“And it’s more than just the aesthetic appeal; mosaics can answer technical requirements, as well. We offer mosaics for nearly every porcelain tile collection we produce to ensure there’s an option with proper slip resistance for wet area flooring.” she says.
Trends have gone from gray and white to warmer tones and additional shapes, according to Hewlett. She reports that Emily Dyer Gulick of Emily Dyer Designs recently said her customers are now asking for color—bright, bold, fun colors, and that her most recent project includes a thread of teal running throughout the large master bedroom and bathroom remodel.
“The 12×24 is still the go-to size for floors,” says Hewlett. “Many people are starting to ask for large format square tiles. Customers and designers are always looking to put a twist on what the majority is doing. The marble look is still popular, and our Italian designed Atlas Concorde tile offers a look that is more of a marble flavor than mimicking the actual stone with heavy veining. It is a lighter design with a luxury feel.”
Pointing to the benefits of tile, Hewlett adds, “Porcelain tile is the strongest finishing material available. Durable, resistant to liquids and stains, fireproof, long lifespan, and design flexibility makes tile the best option for both residential and commercial applications.”
Color and pattern are definitely making their way back into tile applications, and Mcneese says, “We still see a lot of gray, but it’s leaning toward warmer tones. Also, there’s a lot of black and white for a classic but modern take. And we’re also seeing navy and sapphire blues, emerald and olive greens, pinks, roses, and plums.”
While agreeing that subway tile is still popular—in fact a now classic design, Ray reportrs, “We are starting to see more 3-dimensional tile for walls. For now, we like the dimension and texture that a handmade tile brings. Cement tile has become very popular with so many different patterns and colors currently available on the market.”
Lindsay Sheets of Red Rock Tileworks says her company has been inspired by the natural hues of the desert. “We love soft pinks, rust, and marigold, and are getting ready to launch a new line that includes round and oval shapes that pair with these hues,” she says. The company’s Taro pattern, with a geometric look with watercolor lines, is hard to keep in stock at this local tile manufacturing company.
Agreeing that pastel shades are on trend for tile this year is Todd Wigant at The Tile Shop. “We’re seeing in herringbone, cross hatch, and beveled patterns for texture,” he says, “as well as textile patterns seen in wallpaper, carpet, rugs, and draperies.”
Reporting that she, too, is seeing a movement away from “natural stone” and toward porcelain is Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors. “The digital printing processes have made porcelain tile super popular, and almost any look is possible in this low-care material.”She adds that hand-crafted tiles are gaining popularity, reflecting the “maker” movement.
Jones reports that herringbone is showing up in both flooring and wall installations. “I like a classic brick pattern, known as running bond, or doing an off-set running bond. And mosaics are still popular with my clients—for some, the more bling the better!”
“We are seeing a lot of the black/white and grey/white combinations,” says Ray. “Blue, teal, and emerald green have also been at the forefront for tile color selections so far this year. Glazed and gloss ceramic wall tile for showers are very popular.”
Wood look tile has become a standard, and Williams says it’s become so widely popular because it can bring the appearance of wood to places where it may have been impractical.
Ray says while wood-look tile is still being used in bathrooms and wet areas, she has noticed other looks, such as cement, taking over.
In contrast is Mcneese, who says many customers are choosing wood look tile for an entire house, or entire basement floors. “The look is also popular for sunrooms, secondary bathrooms, and even for feature and fireplace walls,” she says.
Amanda Sweeney of Just Design This reports that wood-look tiles remain very popular, and adds that she too is seeing a preference for herringbone patterns in kitchens and baths.
Tiles today are chosen for their mimicry of nature, according to Deborah Saunders of Caldwall Banker, Wallace and Wallace Realtors®. “I’m seeing a lot of tiles with a washed-out fabric look and whites with watercolor linen textures,” she says.
Corrie Rich of Exit Realty Music Row says subway tile is still a hit. “It comes in so many new colors, textures, and polished glass finishes,” she says.
Price can still be an issue with some homeowners who choose hardwood over tile, according to Sassy Hackett of Capitol Homes, Inc. “Customers love the look of tile, but not the price. A tiny bathroom can cost as much as one room of hardwood,” she reports. However, Capitol’s customers do favor hexagon, glass, and chevron patterns in wall tile.
Jennifer Jones of Jennifer Jones Design Inc. says she is seeing a trend toward saltilo and antique pavers, as well as faux marble porcelain. She says that while herringbone is extremely popular, she favors larger format tile which eliminates the need for so many grout lines.
Larger and linear tiles are the modern choices, according to Hugh Cobb of Cobb Home Innovations LLC. He adds that wood-look tile is popular, as are herringbone patterns and larger planks.
There are a number of tile sources in the Greater Nashville area including:
Cobb Innovations Woodbury 615/ 439-0438
Crossville Tile Crossville 931/ 484-2110
Daltile Nashville Nashville 629/ 208-7199
Decorating Den Interiors Nashville 615/ 469-7334
Elite Installation Hendersonville 615/ 266-9370
Emser Tile Nashville 615/ 297-9299
Floorz Brentwood 615/ 771-7669
Jennifer Jones Design Nashville 615/ 3354-8907
Just Design This Auburntown 615/ 606-8450
Kenny & Company Nashville 615/ 782-8000
Louisville Tile Nashville 615/ 248-8452
MIlestone Design Center Nashville 615/ 712-9100
Red Rock Tileworks Nashville 888/ 348-8453
Robert F. Henry Tile Company Brentwood 615/ 988-1893
Sara Ray Interiors, Nashville, 615-254-6329
Southeastern Salvage Nashville 615/ 244-1001
Stone Source Nashville 615/ 244-6448
The Tile Shop Franklin. 615/ 6565-5112 Nashville, 629/ 333-690
Traditions in Tile Nashville 615/ 942-3182