Take a Walk on the Tile Side

Just design the look that you love

PERHAPS IT’S THE TIMES WE LIVE IN, OR JUST THE YEARS OF LIVING with neutral colours that make us yearn for more, but texture, bold patterns and colour are back. And nowhere are they better showcased than by the vivid new tile trends on the market today. “Tiles have always been big but they are definitely having a moment,” says Renata Biala, interior designer with Decorium. “Homeowners are using them not only in kitchens, but in entryways, on walls, floors, and ceilings as well. If you want to update your house, adding new tile can make a huge impact without having to spend a lot of money.”

Hotels and restaurants are often the first to showcase design trends and Cluny, a French bistro in Toronto’s Distillery District, is a great example of the impact tiles can have on a space. Maxime Bocken of Studio Munge, the design firm that created Cluny’s interior, is a big fan of the drama tiles can bring to a space: “Handmade tiles add a touch of romance and a sense of place to your home. They can dramatically transform a plain room into a storytelling space. We love to use them in contrast to hardwood floors to split large volumes and create pathways.”

Travel is another great source of inspiration and anyone who has can instantly recall the elaborate mosaics, the jewel-toned tiles for sale in the souks, and the black and white patterned sidewalks of Lisbon. “People are travelling to places where colour is more prevalent and they come back wanting to transfer what they’ve seen to their own lives,” says Myriam Velasquez of Mettro Source Tile. She encourages clients to go with their own desires and not be prey to the what-will the-neighbours-think syndrome.

“Don’t be limited by what you think others will say: Design for yourself. We have a tile called Carpet, inspired by Belgian carpets, and most people question it initially, but when they see it they are in awe and thank us for pushing them to not take the safe way out.” And that advice about using small tiles for small spaces?

It’s flat-out wrong, says Ms. Velasquez: “Never feel limited by a space. A large tile is just as efficient as a small tile, if not more. It’s the illusion of a bigger place because your eye isn’t looking at little lines of grout, it’s reading an immense space because of the scale of the tile. You don’t see the perimeter of the room, you see the overall impression of a large tile.”

Decorating with tiles isn’t as hard as some might believe, adds Ms. Biala. “Tiling is such an artful expression that not many accessories or extra pieces are needed to pull the look together. For a modern minimalistic look, leather sofas and chrome work very well, and to accessorize pull the main colour from the tiles and use that as your key accent.”

tile trends for 2018 acording to industry association.

EARTH TONES: It’s back to the 1970s with the new emphasis on natural colours and elements. From clay, mustard and sandy browns, moss and grass-like greens, red and golden tones to shades of azure blue, these earth tone tiles create a sense of serenity.

BOTANICAL: Tropical modernism has seeped into interiors and product design, which can be seen in this year’s abundance of palm, cacti and other flora-inspired patterns.

DECONSTRUCTED: This style features the breakdown and reconstruction of shapes that transcend the traditional rectilinear format of a tile. Geometric shapes like diamonds and ovals, kaleidoscopic patterns, even fragments of tiles that mimic broken tile – all of this is game.

GLOBALISM: With social media feeds filling up with vibrant images captured from our travels, it’s no wonder designers look to other cultures for inspiration. New tile collections use advances in digital printing to imitate the tactile qualities of carpets, mimic the texture of rare exotic woods, and recreate ethnic patterns like traditional Indian rice floor decorations.

PAINTERLY: Evident in the design world these days is an unmistakably artistic look in designs, whether for fabric, wallpaper or carpets. Tile is no exception with this year’s collections  featuring handpainted patterns, sketches and illustrations, marbled effects and watercolour designs.

PASTELS: Wonderful for creating a soft, calming effect, pastels in such shades as blush, lavender, sea green and pale yellow can be found in dozens of floor and wall tiles. Less saturated
than primary colors, pastels create a timeless, nostalgic effect.

TERRAZZO: A go-to backdrop for showcasing fashionable shoes and clothes on Instagram, modern terrazzo ranges from cement to epoxy terrazzo, traditional to modern colours, and
glossy to matte finishes.

WEATHERED: Think of plaster walls with scratch marks, rustic and rusted surfaces, and oxidized metals: This style reflects a continuing fascination with unfinished spaces, antique surfaces
and vintage effects.

NEW TYPOLOGIES: Technological advances allow tile companies to convincingly recreate the look of wood or stone; mixing different materials or handpicking certain characteristics can form a whole new typology. While it’s still early days, this imaginative reinterpretation of tile holds promise as a new language for interior design.


Written  by Ilora Biro for the Globe and Mail