I have see the future of tile and it makes me want to renovate my bathroom or kitchen…again. At Cersaie last month, which is *the* bath and tile show, I had a chance to see lots and lots and lots of examples of what's next in that world. Here are some of the trends I saw:
As technology improves, ceramic tile makers find new methods to create tile that looks and feels like completely different material. They can now create tile in the manner of floral wallpaper, metal, wood, brick that looks, and sometimes feels, like the real thing. You can get the weathered look of driftwood, oxidized metal, or an aged vintage sign. (If you want to test your skill at telling the difference, try this quiz.) Image above is ceramic tile from Norway Wood Collection from Serenissima.
Provenza's Groove Collection looks like weathered stone with all its imperfections.
Del Conca created this product to look like exposed brick, but that's lighter than the original, and doesn't create dust. It also has a bend built into the tile, so the edges are groutless.
These Digitalart tiles from Ceramica Sant'Agostino look almost tweedy. On the floor they read more like carpet tile than ceramic.
Perhaps a subset of authenticity is the handmade look. The ceramic holds a more whimsical look that feels personal and unique, even if it’s mass-produced. Above, tiles from the Chess collection from Geotiles that look hand drawn.
Above, a drawn/wood hybrid with a weathered look from Unica for TargetStudio. The lines are playful and look sketched.
Textured, instead of traditionally smooth, tiles are also now a frequent option and add movement and dimension to the surface. If you want something different, but are afraid of color, try a neutral tile with a 3D finish. It's subtle enough to make them easy to clean but they still hold interest and drama. Or, mix up textured with flat tile for a striking contrast. Above, Roma tile from Fap blends the look of classic marble with a modern geometric surface.
Matte finish Tekne tiles by designer Daniele Bedini for Ceramic Bardelli with a variety of triangle sizes and designs.
Visual texture is also on display, as is the case with CIR's New Orleans collection, which approximates a brick wall with peeling paper.
Companies are playing around with scale, blowing up patterns and experimenting with actual tile size to expand their applications. (For example, some tile companies are even making marble slab-like tile in sizes up to 24" x 72" or long and narrow tile that look like wooden boards.) Above, larger blocks of pattern make up these tiles from YurtBay that look almost like decorative wallpaper.
This large geometric pattern is from Refin, called Labyrinth, whose huge tiles can be configured into multiple designs (see last trend).
Tile trends are mirroring paint trends as dark, moody rooms move into the mainstream and become more commonplace. Just like black painted walls, black tiled walls are a dramatic backdrop that provide serious drama and make other colors really shine. Above, tiles from the GA by Giugiaro Architettura collection from Del Conca tiles have a subtle pattern variation.
These from Emil Ceramic's Brick Design Collection are part subway tile, part brick in appearance and a fresh take on the common white variety we see so much. (They also have a wide range of really beautiful, vibrant colors in the same tile if you aren't into the dark.)
Ornamenta's Paper line looks like graph paper, is available in black, white and grey, and can be used as a chalk board.
Rogue Mosaics & Custom Patterns
Tile collections are increasingly modular, letting you mix and match and combine them in new ways to create a unique, custom look that's more personal. Lead image above, Keidos encaustic tiles from Enticdesigns almost seems to skitter off the floor in a haphazard fashion. Similarly, this Harmony tile from Peronda uses both random patterns and intermittent placement.
Or you can combine a random selection of tiles to make a patchwork design, like these from Emil Ceramica, which look like patterned stone.
Ceramica Bardelli's Tangram collection has range of colors and can be configured in countless ways.