Décor & Gardening
Top 10 tantalising tile trends
Over the years tiles have become a go-to durable and visually attractive finish for walls, floors and back splashes throughout the home.
And as their popularity have grown, they have also been produced in more colours, shapes, sizes and texture options than ever before.
We speak to Johnny Lamprecht from leading tile supplier, Bathroom Bizarre, for an overview on what’s currently bang on trends in the world of tiles.
“I am always a bit loathe to use the word ‘trends’ when referring to tiles, as the word lacks a reference to longevity, and it is the exceptional durability and long life span of tiles that have made them the most popular wall and floor covering currently on the market.
However, having reflected on what is currently in demand, I have come up with a list of the top 10 elements that are driving tile design and sales going forward,” Johnny says.
Brave and bold patterns
“Not since the wild ‘70s have bold patterns made such an impact. Of course, today’s bold patterns are not as garish as those retro ones from the ‘70s – instead, they boast a more stylised and streamlined form, but they are big on impact. Whether it is in mild neutrals, bright or contrasting colours – today, it is all about bold graphic patterns. If you are thinking of making a statement by including boldly patterned tiles in your, there is no better time than the present,” notes Johnny.
The shape of things
Traditionally, tiles have been available in either square or rectangular shapes. However, of late, there has been an influx of tile shapes that haven’t been commonly available, notes Johnny: “The sky is the limit with regards to tile shapes – today, you can find all sorts of interestingly shaped tiles, from diamond-, cross-, and most popularly, hexagonal-shapes and more. They can be used on their own, or in conjunction with the more traditional square or rectangular shaped tiles to add some visual punch to otherwise ordinary layouts.”
Taming terra cotta
Terra cotta tiles are certainly not new – in fact they date back thousands of years. What is new is that those that are in vogue currently are a lot less orange and shiny compared to the ones that were so popular in the ’80s, notes Johnny:
“Terra cotta in darker or multi-tone hues, with more of a matt finish are currently on trend. What’s also very interesting is that you no longer have to invest in genuine terra cotta tiles that are expensive, heavy, porous, and that need to be treated with a sealer. Today, you can invest in porcelain or ceramic tiles with a terra cotta print that are really hard to tell apart from the genuine thing, but that don’t require sealing and are a lot easier to install and maintain. They also come in at a much more affordable price point.”
Bright and beautiful
Bright colours are making a big comeback in interior design in general, and tiles are no different. Johnny elaborates: “When it comes to colour, you can be bold and create a feature by tiling a full wall or floor, or an entire room in brightly coloured tiles.
Or, if you are a little more conservative, you can choose to add a splash of colour through the intermittent inclusion of décor tiles within the main tile layout, or in the form of a brightly coloured back splash, border or feature section.
Whichever avenue you choose, bright colours can add a splash of glamour and create an eye-catching feature in any room. Today, jewel tones such as emerald green, ruby red, ochre orange and sapphire blue are especially popular – replicating the gorgeous velvet soft furnishing and upholstered furniture that is currently so incredibly popular.”
Although colour is fun, the popularity of monochrome colour schemes doesn’t seem to be waning. However, they can be boring, unless you use various textures to create interest and warmth, says Johnny: “Textured tiles have never been more popular, and they can be used to great effect to add interest and lift monochromatic schemes to create variation, colour depth and surface interest. Textured tiles can appear subtle or pronounced, depending on the material used, as well as their colour and finish.”
Great and small
Tiles today are available in the widest variety of sizes – from really small mosaics, through to exceptionally large format sizes, notes Johnny: “The really big format tiles are awesome for a clean floor or wall installations, and they are especially suited to very large spaces. The lack of grouting lines creates a wonderfully streamlined and smooth aesthetic.
With regards to the small mosaics – these can be used to great effect to add subtle textural interest to walls and floors. Since they are really pricey, they are usually only used in smaller spaces. They are especially great for wet areas, as their grouping provides added non-slip qualities to flooring in showers, bathrooms and kitchens.”
Loving the layouts
Subway tiles are still in, however, today, they come in a variety of sizes, colours and designs (domed, bevelled, arched) – with the longer rectangular shapes gaining popularity.
Johnny notes that what is interesting about the developments of subway tiles, however, it is the way that they are being laid – which seems to be taking its queue from popular parquet flooring designs: “These layouts include the likes of inlaid, overlay, strip layout with alternate joints, herringbone, and basket weaver for example.”
Marble has always be a popular wall and floor material that oozes luxury and style, however, for the most part; it has often been prohibitively expensive for most residential applications.
Today, however, there are marble-look porcelain and ceramic tiles that look exactly like the real thing, but are much more affordable and durable than genuine marble.
Johnny explains: “There is nothing quite as beautiful as the subtle colours and natural veining inherent in marble.
Although beautiful, the drawback of marble is that it is natural stone and therefor it is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, and it is a porous material, so it needs to be sealed and well maintained. Modern printed porcelains and ceramic tiles, however, offer a wonderfully realistic alternative that is far easier to maintain and clean, very durable, just as beautiful to look at, and much more affordable. As such, the inclusion of marble in residential applications has fast been gaining ground.”
Wood remains a very popular finish for walls and floors alike – it offers an unbeatable natural warmth and rich aesthetic that never seems to go out of fashion. However, like marble – it requires regular maintenance, is pricey, and not great for wet interior or outdoor areas.
Wood look-alike tiles, however, provide a great solution, notes Johnny: “They are durable, easy to clean, require no maintenance, and much more affordable than timber. They are also stain-resistant, and able to cope with very wet areas – both indoors and outdoors.” He says that popular wood look-alike grains include the regular Oak, Maple and Cherry woods, as well as distressed, weathered and white washed versions as well.
Neutrals never seem to go out of fashion – their long-term commercial appeal make them a great choice for tiles as they offer longevity of style. Johnny notes that the most popular neutral include various shades of grey, beige, creams and whites.