Trends In Tile For 2017
Based on a visit to CERSAIE 2016 (the international tile trade show in Bologna, Italy) and on assessing current and upcoming releases from our vendors, we offer you a peek at tile trends in the new year!
Key Looks In Porcelain and Ceramic Tile
Many of the newest wood looks are in relatively light, warm colors. Sometimes the grain is soft and low-key; sometimes it is dramatic. Some have a gently worn look, while others have a highly distressed appearance. There are several multicolor wood lines that include rusts and blue tones, something like the multicolor slate looks of a few years ago.
There are very few slate looks, but lots of marble, onyx, limestone, travertine, brecchia, and terrazzo looks. The scale on these options has expanded to sizes suitable for countertops. Veining is generally softer and more subtle than previously, and highly polished finishes are making a comeback in a big way! Some of the limestone and brecchia have a “spotty” type of movement.
Cotto, Brick, and Concrete
These overlapping looks are sometimes produced in traditional terra cotta and brick colors, but also in greys, browns, pastels, and multicolor blends. Many brick looks are highly distressed. The brick shape (often in a 2×10 or 3×11” size) lends itself well to herringbone layouts.
Fabrics of many types inspire new tile lines: linen, burlap, stripes, menswear weaves, plaids, tapestries. Often these are in tone-on-tone shades, with a bit of texture.
Many series have patterns that vary from piece to piece. Some are inspired by majolica, and have multicolor patterns on a white or cream background. Blue and white is another common color scheme for these patterns. Many, however, are monochromatic, or tone on tone. Some have geometric patterns and, of course, tiles that are in a geometric shape, such as a hexagon or triangle, form patterns. (More on shapes and sizes below.) Large scale wallpaper looks are appearing more frequently.
Metal shows up as a subtle burnished highlight on some tiles, and then there are tiles that are a bright, shiny, solid color metallic! Warmer metals predominate—copper, brass, gold.
The past few years have been dominated by greys, including the popular marble looks of carrara and calacatta marbles. Greys are still important, but light, warm tones are joining them. Many new porcelain series include a cream and a light warm tan. Wood looks have moved lighter and warmer, and also include the multicolor range mentioned above—creams/rusts/blues. There are still many dark options, usually a charcoal grey or a cool chocolate brown.
Texture remains a strong component of a tile’s interest. We have already touched on the resurgence of highly polished finishes. Even some wood looks have a sheen! Some marble looks have a soft, worn look, with a slight unevenness, like they have been underfoot in a home for hundreds of years! Fabric–looking tiles often have the texture of the fabric that inspired them. There are tiles with raised patterns (geometric or floral), and tiles with a distressed, scratched appearance. For the walls, there are 3-D options with deep dimension.
SIZE AND SHAPE
Tiles continue to grow ever larger! Many manufacturers offer lines that can be fabricated as countertops; the larger they get, the fewer the seams.
Many are offered in a thin format. Some are for walls only (and often have a wallpaper appearance); others can be used on the floor over an existing tile floor.
New sizes and thicknesses are expanding tile’s range of function: exterior cladding, tile roofing, outdoor pavers.
Planks remain popular, and longer plank options are available.
Rectangles also remain popular as wall tile options, expanding from the traditional 3”x6” subway. Sizes of 2.5”x10” are becoming more common, similar to the size of brick-look tiles.
In mosaics, super-tiny options don’t seem to be getting smaller. (Getting smaller than 3/8”x3/8” is difficult and expensive.) Many new mosaics are back to a 1×1” or 2×2” option.
For floor and wall options, 6×6 continues a renewed popularity. Many of the multi-pattern lines make use of this size.
And of course, there are all the fun geometric shapes! Hexagons continue to rule, but they enjoy the company of triangles, trapezoids, fish scales or tear drops, circles and. . .you name it!
PLAYING TOGETHER WELL
Putting numerous trends side-by-side makes for super-creative and ultra-current looks. Take a look at these combinations for effects ranging from light-hearted and sassy to ultracool and upscale: