Refresh your most hardworking spaces with fashion-forward and durable tile. With its many uses—on a tray ceiling, in custom applications, as fireplace surrounds, in exterior landscaping and so much more—today's tile is available in a variety of colors, materials and options.
Glass tiles are a chic way to introduce color into a kitchen or bath, such as this Glass Blox tile by Crossville, which comes in 44 fashion-forward shades. Photo courtesy of Crossville Inc.
With an incredible array of colors, sizes and sleek or textured surfaces, tile has become a stylish choice for floor and wall coverings in homes across the country. Not only is it durable and easy to care for, tile can provide the distinctive and upscale touch that many homeowners want.
One of tile’s best features is its versatility. Traditionally, 4x4-inch ceramic tiles had been used as a hardwearing surface in the kitchen and bath. Today, there are a myriad of shapes and materials, including porcelain, stone and glass. “The kitchen continues to be the area where people congregate, and most women want a gourmet kitchen even if she eats out seven days a week,” says Lori Kirk-Rolley, marketing director for Daltile, a Dallas-based tile manufacturer. “The master bath has also evolved into a spa retreat.” One way to get an upscale look in these spaces is through custom tile applications.
Tile can also be used outside the kitchen and bath. Homeowners in warm climates often choose tile floors for the majority of their rooms, including living rooms and bedrooms, because it helps keep temperatures cool underfoot. In seaside or desert environments, it’s easy to sweep away sand and dust from tile.
Interior designers are using tile for many creative applications. For example, fireplace surrounds become focal points in a room when they’re covered in handcrafted artisan tiles. Accentuating a tray ceiling in a formal dining room with glass tile can reflect the glimmering light from a chandelier. Tile can also be used in exterior landscaping as non-slip, all-weather pavers provide a chic look for walkways and patios. Decorative tiles can also dress up outdoor kitchen and grill areas.
Popular stone-look tiles are jazzed up by using multiple hues and border accents. Photo courtesy of Questech.
With so many styles to choose from, it can be difficult finding just the right tile for your remodeling project. Natural stone or stone-look tiles continue to be a wise investment because they bring in the atmosphere of the great outdoors and often feel a bit more luxurious than standard ceramic tiles. In the past, rustic ceramic styles that mimicked the variation, rough edges and pitting of natural stones were popular. This year, stone-look tiles are available in more contemporary designs that have a cleaner edge and sleeker appearance, according to Kirk-Rolley. Larger sizes, such as 20x20-inch, and rectangular shapes, such as 12x24-inch sizes, are also popular. Setting these tiles with a narrow grout joint of 1/4-inch or 1/16-inch also creates a cutting-edge look.
For extra sparkle, glass tiles are a great choice for both surface or accent tiles because they’re eye-catching and easy to maintain. “Glass allows brilliant, shimmering colors with a depth not attainable in other materials,” says Barbara Schirmeister, a New York-based color forecaster and interior designer. Glass works well in backsplash projects for the kitchen and bath and in shower surrounds. Mosaic patterns, created by 1x1-inch or 2x2-inch tiles, can sometimes provide enough slip resistance in shower applications thanks to the gritty grout used in those applications. Ask your local tile center for advice on finding the right tile for your specific project.