A key word for interesting design has to be texture. As room decor becomes more monochromatic, it is important to add texture to a design wherever possible. Today’s ceramic tiles are available in a range of textures, shapes, formats and sizes. For decades our choices were shinny or matte. Now you have almost as many choices in finishes as you do in color.
Following the path of the ubiquitous square and rectangle, the hexagon has firmly established itself as the tile shape de rigueur. A far cry from traditional hexagonal tiling, this new wave includes micro and macro sizes, irregular cutouts and multiple dimensions that deliver depth and complexity.
Lunada Bay has created a three-dimensional approach to the trending hexagon, most notably in its Crest line of hexagon ceramic tiles. Named after the highest point of a wave, each tile is slightly raised in the center, creating a visual display that plays with light and shadow.
If glitz is more your style, look to the new mirrored and metallic tiles. A collection by Borja Regina features dazzling tiles with angular facets reflecting light to create a glittering effect on the wall. The tiles are available in gold or silver finish.
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Oceanside revealed new Antique Mirror tiles in its Devotion Collection, which adds soft touches of mirror to make for a distinctly luxe design statement.
White is still the number one choice when it comes to bathrooms, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Large format, 3-D patterns in white-on-white breathes new life into the all-white bathroom. Saloni’s Vantage Drip white and black tiles beg for a full wall with which to exercise their design potential.
If you’re not up for a complete bathroom or kitchen remodel, consider using tile in unexpected places like on a fireplace wall, foyer or a stand-alone wall between two rooms. If you have a wet bar or bookshelves, consider tiling the space with the new mirrored or metallic tiles. This is a very simple Saturday afternoon do-it-yourself project.
Today’s new grouts, adhesives and helpful tools and saws that you can rent have made tiling one of the easiest home improvement projects you can tackle. The one exception here is a shower floor and drain pan. This is better left to the professionals, but for walls and floors you should do just fine.
The best way to discover wonderful new products is to visit kitchen and bath showrooms and tile stores. Searching online will also lead you to wonderful new options. You’re not going to find these new looks at the typical big box store. Their buyers are conservative and tend to stick to the tried and true (boring and overdone) offerings.
If budget is an issue, consider using less expensive field (background) tiles and add interest with a band or border of these new, creative shapes and textured tiles. You can’t go wrong with a little updated bling.
Vicki Payne is the Charlotte-based producer and host of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV, and in syndication. Reach her at www.foryourhome.com.