Creative tile options for designers

A look at the many trends in the tile and stone industry.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
by Richard Moreno

Trends in the tile and stone industry are continuously evolving, offering designers, architects and the public more and more options to decorate spaces  and to express their creative individuality.

With the introduction of high-tech laser water jets to cut the stone and glass, it has made it possible to expand the intricate mosaic detail and now make it available to everyone. The beautiful fabric patterns of the past can now be duplicated using natural stones and glass of all colours.

The trend towards more detailed mosaics is only limited by our imagination. At times it can be a small feature area, or it can easily be expanded to incorporate an entire bathroom, kitchen backsplash, floor areas and decorative walls.

We have seen in the past an emphasis on cabinets, countertops, fixtures and appliances while ignoring or giving less importance to the backsplash. This, however, has been changing as we are now seeing a lot more emphasis on the backsplash as designers and clients are reaching out for the huge selection of beautiful tiles and mosaics available. The backsplash in a kitchen should and is demanding more than the standard subway tile.

The functional and traditional subway tile can be elevated by incorporating more design. The trend to introduce mosaic features alongside the standard sizes has brought more individuality to a completed job and has moved away from the standard repetitive design.

More time is needed with the designer or the showrooms who can offer creative tile design. The mixing of materials has always existed, but now we are incorporating extensive patterns and designs in mosaics that a few years ago were not possible. Many of today’s designers can struggle with the vast availability of products and design options, therefore it is important to reference these showrooms whom are involved with the new tile trends.

The trends for geometric patterns are now much more prevalent and are continuously being introduced in tile, stone and glass, and with almost any colour choice, again used for backsplashes, fireplaces, floors, feature walls and even countertops. A timeless black and white combination will always make a bold statement. Now we are seeing the combination of more than two colours as the demand for more pattern and colours grow.

Dramatic and bolder colours are also a big emerging trend. Our bolder water colours and marble mosaics are beginning to outpace the softer and more conservative look. The intricate patterns and multicolours are back.

We are also seeing the revival of cement tiles with more updated and modern patterns and colours. These tiles are being used predominantly for floors, as the trend for patterns expands.

Porcelain tiles have also evolved very quickly from the traditional squares and rectangles; we are now seeing hexagons, extensive planks and much larger sizes and patterns. We still have the standard sizes, but porcelains today have with the new manufacturing techniques taken a lot of the market share away from natural stone.

When in the past a porcelain tile was easily identified, they are now imitating the stone so well that it’s becoming hard to tell them apart. We are also seeing coloured patterns in porcelain starting to gain momentum.

3D textures are also now well established and growing in all materials including porcelain. These are seen on feature walls, fireplaces, bathrooms, restaurants and retail spaces.

The trend for handmade tiles is always in demand as their variation represents a timeless style offering a huge selection of colours and textures. The choice is there for all. Most of the handmade quality tiles are made in the U.S.A who offer consistent quality. The revival of handmade ‘custom’ tile studios in the States has skyrocketed since the early 90s.

We always recommend clients and designers visit the tile showrooms that specialize only in tile and tile design, as they have the most up-to-date products and are the most experienced and knowledgeable. A help yourself store will not offer the huge selection and variety of choices nor the knowledge or trend setting products needed to create a wonderful space.

We can only expect more and more patterns to surface in the future. Intricate medieval patterns as well as computer generated designs are being introduced into the tile industry every day and we can only relish such art entering homes.


Richard Moreno is owner of Toorak tile & Design in Vancouver. With an extensive collection of handmade tiles, natural stone, marble mosaics, glass tile, terracotta and porcelains from all over the world, they deal with exclusive custom factories that produce their mosaics and handmade tile.       





2 thoughts on “Creative tile options for designers

  1. As technology continues to advance, it’s interesting to see what kind of designs can be accomplished with tile and stone. More intricate and complicated designs are now possible, and it’s up to designers to figure out the best and most refreshing ways to implement these new looks into the age-old realm of interior design. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love the tile ideas you have here. We are remodeling our kitchen soon, and I want to include a lot of tile, because I love the look of it. Having geometric patterns sounds like a good idea to me!

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