Hip to be Square

Tile that doesn’t look like tile is setting the style for homes.



“Forest” by Gayafores has the look of wood plank flooring but it’s actually ceramic tile.

Courtesy of Tile of Spain

Today’s tile alternatives are great pretenders, with the textured appearance of wood, the shimmer of metal, the rough-and-tumble look of stone and other faux finishes. There’s also a fresh take on size, shape and color for the new year.

Rough, coarse and smooth textures are frequently found in glass tiles, round pebble-like tiles or other contrasting finishes and shapes for heightened visual interest; combinations of two, three or even four types and textures are used in au courant installations.

Texture also can be an important element within a single tile: A matte metallic tile may have a glossy embossed pattern, which in turn creates a recurring pattern throughout the installation. Patterned tiles are one more top trend for the year.

Texture also appears in the form of dimensional tiles with varied surfaces, such as concave and convex tiles that together form either a random abstract surface of different light-catching angles or a more structured look, such as a basket-weave pattern. More appropriate for walls instead of floors (for obvious reasons), they add a tactile dimension to a room.

Tile sizes veer from one extreme to another, with teeny-tiny Chiclet-sized tiles on one end and jumbo tiles, often rectangular instead of perfectly square, on the other. Overscaled floor tiles are appropriate for large rooms, but they can also make smaller ones appear larger, as there are fewer grout lines to stop the eye.

Another recurring theme in the contemporary style story is color—not wall-to-wall washes of color but splashes that add punch to more subtle surroundings. Pairing an accent wall of honey-yellow glass tiles with floors of warm gold travertine, or running a band of bold turquoise (“the” color of 2010) glazed tiles along a wall of cool white marble, to take two examples, can enliven without overwhelming a space.

Bright colors are tops in popularity (some trend spotters attribute this to the universal desire to counteract the recession blues), but any favorite shade can be used to tap into this trend, such as black diamond inserts with creamy stone tiles or deep cobalt dentil trim edging a fireplace surround of smoky gray tiles.

There’s so much more on today’s menu of tile offerings. So add a dash of style to your domicile with a fresh take on color, shape, size or texture—or some imaginative combination.

 

 

 

Winter Park’s Beasley & Henley Interior Design used vibrant yellow glass tiles to make this dramatic tub surround “pop” against the neutral limestone flooring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Undefasa’s dual-textured “Lis Ebano” takes its cue from nature, with a metallic floral relief pattern over a matte finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Formats” collection by Natucer includes gloss-finished rectangular tiles in a variety of calm colors, including this year’s top-trending turquoise.

 

 

 

 

Daltile’s “Stone Radiance” collection features a mix of glass and stone for a multi-textured surface.

 

 

 

 

 

With the look of stone but the easy care of tile, Plaza’s “Quartz Slate” series can be used indoors and out.

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