Tile has been around for millennia, and it graced ancient palaces and walls before making it into ordinary people’s homes. It has staying power because it’s almost indestructible, looks terrific and comes in so many styles, colors and options. Tile, like all things decorative, changes with times; but many styles are classic and timeless. If you’ve been bored by tile before, that’s all about to change.
Before making a commitment to tile, consider the type of tile you’re selecting and where it will be used. For instance, a smooth, glossy surface looks clean and elegant, but it shows smudges and smears easily and may be slippery underfoot. A raw stone tile is also gorgeous, but it would be hard to clean in a kitchen or shower area. Textured tile is also making inroads; but in certain areas, like a shower, the texture may require more cleaning and upkeep.
Some of the most popular trends in tile have a retro feel. Whether it’s the mid-20th century look of pink or turquoise tile rimmed with black or the honeycomb of a hundred years ago, certain looks are now back in style. The honeycomb, or hexagon, style has both a vintage and current feel to it. Honeycomb tiles can be found in simple white porcelain, marble, a metallic finish or colored porcelain. For something more current, try a black hexagon tile with white grout. It’s simplicity that retains an ageless appeal.
Some of the newest styles of tile are textured. Rather than being flat and one-dimensional, textured tile adds visual interest. A wall of textured tile makes an interesting accent wall outside the bathroom, or you may want to consider adding one at the end of a long hallway or in a foyer.
Other interesting textures include beveled subway tile. Or, for something that has a textured look and visual interest but with easy maintenance, try mermaid’s-tail tiles, which come in iridescent finishes and in the shape of fish scales. The texture is beguiling and looks especially pretty in the colors of blue and green of the mythical mermaid.
For all the warmth of wood without the upkeep, try a wood-look tile on floors or walls. Wood-look tiles come in every shade, from pale aspen to deep cherry.
Always classic and enduring is beautiful white marble tile with gray veining. Warm it up by mixing other tiles, like hexagon and subway. Patterns like herringbone and chevron are very popular right now, and also making waves are geometric tile patterns that take you back to your high school geometry class.
For something really up to the minute, check out the encaustic, or cement, tiles that are bursting with style and playful patterns. These tiles are reminiscent of the tiles of turn-of-the-20th-century buildings or like the bright and captivating styles of tiles from Spain or Portugal. They add an explosion of pattern wherever they’re placed.