When it comes to implementing a decorative refresh, the bathroom and kitchen usually tend to get the short end of the stick. While in the living room or bedroom you can sub in new textiles, smaller decorative accent pieces, or even a fresh coat of paint (if you’re up for the challenge), the aforementioned areas are more difficult to take on.
In the bathroom, a revamp can come in the form of new lighting, fixtures, or perhaps a bath mat or shower curtain. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s more or less the same, with the obvious exception of the latter two. So how does one integrate a transformative upgrade sans a complete overhaul? Tiles are one way to start.
We’ve seen our fair share of statement-making kitchen backsplashes or bathrooms where a seemingly modest pattern steals the show. Throughout said spaces, one thing is quite apparent: tiles are a decorative essential that can truly go the distance. With this in mind, we set out to uncover the prints and patterns that will be leading the trends this year plus, helpful tips for implementing them into just about every spot of your home. Spoiler alert: some of these may surprise you.
Sure, backsplashes may serve a purpose—the avid cook knows all too well the nuisance that is cleaning up splashback from the walls—but given the opportunity, we’re in major support of utilizing tiles in decorative form over the more functional. Case in point? The ingenious statement that makes up the back wall of NYC’s famed eatery De Maria, where the tiles are more or less there for a stylish impact.
To recreate the look, establish your palette of choice, opting for a stark contrast between your chosen hues. Simply inlay the tiles as you normally would—opting for a light grout to keep the look cohesive—while incorporating a patterned display with the use of the colorful tiles.
Above: Fireclay Tile
This one is all about sleek lines with a subtle element of color or pattern. Complementary to the minimalist aesthetic, a bold display allows for an understated approach to the remaining decorative characteristics of a room. More notably, we’re looking to the prints that exude an illusionary effect—much like the one in this Parisian bath, which seamlessly modernizes its antiquated build—yet remain streamlined and impactful. As an added bonus, the integration of a relatively busy pattern means you can feel free to take a light-handed approach to the decor.
“We’re looking forward to a more sophisticated take on the geometric cement tile craze of the past year, says designer Christine Markatos Lowe. “When in a monochromatic palette it just adds a modern texture, perfect for a master suite, or a multi-tone palette of complementary colors can create a more playful effect for a kid’s bath or mud room.”
Diamond Twist Cement Tile, Cle Tile
Glossy tiles have had their moment and yes, that includes subway tile as well. [%2091%] have become a safe material often used for renovations as well as new construction,” says Karen Asprea, Director of Whitehall Interiors. “Recently, there has been a trend towards using large format tile and even slab-sized porcelain sheets. This shift is not only aesthetic, but one of function, as larger tile has less grout and is both easier to install and maintain.”
In place of the polished variety, we’re looking to the matte, more commonly found in the form of ceramic or cement tiles, to lend a fresh textural detail.
“Rombini by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec has created a stunning line of ceramics for Mutina. The large ceramic tiles are 3D and add an additional level of textural depth and intrigue to any space, large or small. I predict that in 2018 we will continue to see large-scale, sculptural tiles introduced in surface,” says Andrew Kotchen of Workshop/APD.
Above, oversized tiles, comprised of reclaimed ceramic kiln shelves, instill the feel of a rich, patinaed surface, making a bold statement all on their own.
Glazed Tiles from Heath Ceramics
It’s safe to say that terrazzo has been a trend steadily on the rise, the stand out, gaining a burst of traction in the past year or so. Max Lamb’s interpretation has graced the interiors of both residential and commercial interiors, inflicting a remarkably versatile effect for such an intricate print. Regardless of the room or aesthetic style, its remarkable qualities earmark it as a statement-worthy pairing for surfaces stemming from the sleek and streamlined to the rustic and warm.
“Already a popular trend in interior design and fashion, terrazzo started popping up in the tile industry last year and has grown to become a potential new mainstay, on par with marble, wood and concrete designs,” says the Ceramics of Italy team.
Saturated earthy tones are a major player in the array of paint colors we’ll be seeing this year and luckily, the trend applies to tiles as well. Regardless of the finish—concrete, ceramic, or glossy, it’s really up to you—it’s the warm array of hues that will be making the statement.
“This trend has become popular partially due to a revival of 1970s style along with a greater focus on mother nature and its ability to create a sense of natural serenity,” advises the team behind Ceramics of Italy.
Our ideal interpretation of this trend lies within a supporting element, which manifests itself with the absence of the grout. While it’s basically a necessity for certain tile types, when opting for a colorfully-charged variety, you can feel free to skip out on it. Here, tinted concrete tiles sourced from Mexico are set sans the gap-filler, resulting in a more compact finish. The trick to the chic finish of the look lies within the beautifully color-coordinated palette of pinks, blue-grays, and creams.
This year, the art of mixing and matching tiles takes on a new approach, one that is charged with the intention of establishing a dynamic effect through the use of mixed materials. Consider it an elevated version of the standard subway tile—and while it has undoubtedly maintained its stature as a classic decorative element, a subtle switch up is always welcome. More specifically, we’re seeing an uptick of bathrooms and kitchens that feature a mix of two distinctly sized tiles, arranged with an untraditional spin.
“Metal inlays are sure to dazzle but especially when combined with dimensional tile,” says designer Donna Mondi.
“Who says you can’t do both copper and brass, or vary the size of a tile? We love bringing different elements together,” note Susan and Ben Work, founders of the architecture and interiors firm Homework.
As for the tile trend we’re desperately craving? It’s all about the squares with a retro pink spin. “I really want to see the ‘50s style cement tiles come back,” says Domino style editor Elaina Sullivan. Recreate the look with a modern twist by opting for either a two-tone detail or bring in sleek, matte black fixtures to complete the look.
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