Walls That Talk
Tile Statements That Say Everything About Your Style
By Cheryl Alexander
Choosing the right wall tiles for your home just got easier and a lot more fun. Though the choices are plenty, don’t be overwhelmed. Quit wondering whether to play it safe or take a risk in your design. Let 2017 be the year that you increase your home’s value and interest and make big statements with tile. What’s currently hot and trending in tile this year includes some bold, new ideas as well as some new twists on familiar designs. The key is to take your time and consider what you want your tile to say about your home and its personality. Here’s what we’re predicting will be this year’s biggest trends in tile:
PATTERNED TILES. Plain no more! Today’s walls feature fresh, exciting patterns and are being used in stunning new ways. Whether you opt for the traditional encaustics, Moroccan-inspired, modern geometric, or other patterned tiles, the key to a patterns is to let the tiles be the star. That way, the other elements, like furniture and lighting, can remain simpler and more streamlined. The effect will be a modern aesthetic full of character and artistic flair, where the patterned tiles bring art, nostalgia and quality craftsmanship. Color doesn’t matter, as long as they’re patterned. Also, since bathrooms and kitchens are typically overloaded with straight lines and hard surfaces, a patterned tile can soften things a bit. Too, these rooms can often carry a lot of grays and whites, so the pattern can do the talking, revealing your personality in the room.
METALLIC TILES. Shine on! Metallics have been used to add contemporary flair forever, but still turn a wall into a work of art, regardless if you select a mosaic or ceramic tile. For a more luxurious and shiny vibe, select raw-cut quartz, Lucite and opal-hued tiles. Just imagine the most beautiful, colorful stones and start picking tiles that match their look. Steel, burnished and other dark metals will bring unparalleled elegance to a space. At Walker Zanger, they’ve brought glam and textiles to their Stardust collection, which features a variety of sleek, modern patterns reminiscent of foil wallpaper and mirrored surfaces blending bright metallics, cool neutrals, and bold blacks and whites.
COLORED TILES. Happening hues! Much like going darker with paint on your walls, choose wall tiles that are more colorful, especially earthy, organic ones. Jewel tones, like blues and deep greens, are trending. Pastels have a sunshiny spring overtone. Grey is moving into taupe. Even beige is getting an update. And black is no longer basic. For example, if your style is more contemporary, select a black hex tile combined with a neutral large format tile to create a little drama. Or consider pairing a shiny, glazed black with a muted black for a creative, modern look.
VINTAGE TILES. Everything old is new again! Currently, the lines between contemporary and vintage are blurred. Geometric and mid-century shaped tiles, like hexagons and triangles, are reoccurring in home design, and both are really effective and easy to use for achieving expressive style. With so many sizes, colors and finishes available, it’s easy to create a unique look. Consider a two-toned look by combining two different colors and sizes of hex tiles. For example, use a darker, smaller tile inside the shower alcove. Or create lots of interest by not tiling all the way to the ceiling. This will create a dramatic contrast against white walls where the shape of the tile is allowed to shine. And for a backsplash, perhaps leave the tops of the tiles uncut to create a simple pattern along the top, which will add some artistic interest. Another vintage trend to love is the Terracotta comeback. Think orange tones, muted saffron and cinnamons mixed with metal furniture, woven fabrics and overstuffed cushions. This throwback trend is not only perfect for walls, but floors and ceilings, too.
TEXTURED TILES. Get in touch! In 2017, texture is everywhere. “Texture is the extra dimension that makes a room pop,” says Feras Irikat, director of design and marketing for Lunada Bay Tile. Consider balancing textures in your home with tiles in the same way you balance color and light. Mix smooth and textured surfaces for an interesting aesthetic. And don’t be afraid to use several textures in a single room. Handscraped wood-look tiles, geometric textured designs, simple raised pinstripes or any three-dimensional surfaced tiles are trending and are uncomplicated methods to add either a daring or understated amount of texture. Perhaps a natural texture like leather, rattan or abaca is more your style. For example, leather tiles add a warm, elegant element to a room and they come in many colors and shapes that can complement either contemporary or classic interiors. Leather tiles may be plain, embossed or laser-engraved. Use them as an accent wall behind a bar or headboard or tile an entire office or media room. They are durable and versatile and offer an element of sound-proofing to a space. Best of all, several manufacturers have designed installation systems that are portable, meaning that any tile installation can be easily changed, repaired or moved. No matter your preference, a textured tile will make a strong statement on any wall.
MARBLE TILES. Simple, yet sophisticated! There’s hardly anything that says classic more than magnificent marble. Effortlessly modern and in vogue, the natural, luminous composition of marble speaks a variety of languages, making it the perfect backsplash material for a white kitchen. Because it’s versatile, you can integrate marble into a rustic, traditional or minimal design. Because it is elegant and flexibile as either a honed or polished material, you can attain sustainability and an organic design wherever you use it. Because it is practical and everlasting, it is a wise investment that will last for many years with the right care. And the veining in a marble backsplash adds texture, dimension, character and beauty that is hard to beat.
ARTSY ARRANGEMENT. Get creative! Tap into your inner artist by mixing patterns, colors and textures. Nancy Epstein, founder and CEO of Artistic Tile, said, “Using a stone slab, dimensional stone tile or an opulent stone mosaic, sometimes mixed with glass or mother of pearl accents creates a luxurious and lasting look for areas of the home that call for a design statement, such as fireplaces, entry ways, and accent walls, taking tile and stone far from their functional only existences into the world of decorative art.”
As well, instead of laying your tiles in the traditional formats, consider becoming more creative. Lay rectangular tiles vertically instead of horizontally and in straight lines, rather than a brick pattern, for a cleaner and more contemporary effect. And if your budget is a little tight, by using inexpensive tiles in different layouts, you’ll be able to update and elevate a simple rectangular or metro style tile. For example, utilize a herringbone pattern, which is simple to achieve. Consider the following ideas for a creative layout:
- Flemish bond
- Diagonal with dots
- Block herringbone
- Vertical rectangles
Whether you’re planning a major remodel or simply looking to spruce up your home’s style, remember that tile is no longer just for the floor. Consider letting your tile do the talking just about anywhere to make a dramatic declaration about your space.