feature image: chaine femme by fireclay tile
by Marica Fick
Earlier this week Rose and I were chatting about an unfortunate mishap in her home. A leaky pipe in the wall of her main bedroom en-suite caused a bit of havoc – peeling bubbling paint, mould etc. – messy stuff. Fixing the problem is just as tricky – enter an assortment of leak detectors, plumbers, tilers, and painters. The process was dusty, noisy and invasive… not to mention a drain on the wallet. Not fun at all!
Yet, trust Rose to put a positive spin on such a negative situation. She was quite thrilled by the prospect that, at least now, she can replace the tiles in her shower with a feature wall of decorative tiles.
Of course, that set the wheels turning in my head about the increasing popularity of decorative feature tiles. Over recent years we have witnessed a steady influx of decorative wall tiles in all shapes, colours and textures.
As interior designers, we cannot tell you how excited we are to see this trend become mainstream. Here at Design Monarchy, we have always been proponents of bold and interesting instead of predictable and safe.
So, let’s chat a little more about this trend…
Decorative Wall Tile Trend
The decorative wall tile trend had quite a conservative start – a little glass mosaic here, some subway tiles (or metro tiles as some call it) there – nothing too prominent. With the introduction of different shapes, colours and materials, the trend quickly evolved into something far more eye-catching.
Here are a few popular elements:
1. Shapes – got to have me some geometrics:
Even though geo tiles are not a new trend, we now see a greater variety of geometric-style tiles being applied in different ways. While hexagonal tiles remain a popular choice, we have noticed the introduction of triangle, kite, cube, and – my personal favourite – fish scale or “fan”-shaped tiles… and that is but to mention a few. Regular rectangular tiles can also be applied in a herringbone pattern for increased visual interest.
Also included in this new feature tile trend are patterns inspired by age-old cultures. Arabesque tiles with scallops, stars, crosses, and other simplified Moroccan zellige-inspired shapes are a well-liked option. Alternatively, one can opt for Grecian-inspired shapes like the Greek key or a variety of lattice / trellis patterns.
2. Colour, colour and more colour:
White tiles might be timeless but the purpose of a feature wall is to pop. Luckily, we never again have to settle for a limited tile colour range. Most tile suppliers now offer an extended colour selection, especially in the small feature tile category. Take the U.K. tile brand Domus for example – their “New Terracotta” feature tile range has a whopping 49 colours! We have entered the era of bold.
A mix of coloured tiles is also frequently used together in a cohesive scheme. A monochromatic selection is a popular combination, as is a contrasting / complimentary selection, or a collection of different colours with the same tonality.
Whether you opt for soft and subtle pastels, bold and bright jewel tones, or lovely neutrals, you can’t go wrong with this colourful trend.
3. Hand-painted tiles:
Hand-painted is big. Part of me wonders whether the popularity of hand-painted tiles flows from the celebrated Moroccan tile trend. Alternatively, it could be our increasing desire for products that are unique, authentic and mindful. There is such honesty in handmade products.
We are definitely seeing a steady increase in the availability and range of hand-crafted ceramic and terracotta tiles. Furthermore, tiles with contemporary motifs or solidly painted colour are becoming more and more sought-after while the Moroccan variety has been moved to the proverbial backburner.
The beauty of these solidly painted tiles is that the material and method itself adds the interest. Nothing adds character and depth like the varying colours and movement in a hand-painted and glazed tile. The brushstrokes, the slight pooling of colour, the differing textures – it all makes for a truly singular and interesting feature wall.
4. Marble & other natural stone:
There is no denying that marble is, and will always be, timeless. When creating an upmarket, chic and luxurious space marble is often the first finish reached for. It has a certain sophistication to it. Using marble in the bathroom has never gone out of fashion. However, let’s be honest, few of us can afford big slabs of such an extravagant material. Marble has always been rather exclusive.
Nevertheless, with the introduction of statement walls and smaller sized feature tiles, marble has become a slightly more affordable and feasible option for the average Joe. Geometric-shaped marble feature tiles are a favoured option – especially the hexagonal / honeycomb design. These geo shapes add a contemporary twist to the timeless material. One can also use a mix of different shapes, colours, and natural stones to create a more intricate design. It seems, however, that most of the popular designs centre around the ever-popular white and grey-veined Carrara marble.
5. Metal trims:
Want to add Gatsby opulence to your home? Look no further than this trending element. Metal trims – what is new about that, you might ask? Well, it is true, the use of chrome trims to neatly finish off tile edges and borders is not a new practice. However, we are now seeing metal tile trims being used in a slightly different way. Instead of using it as edging, the metal trims are introduced as decorative inserts and inlays that form part of the overall tiling pattern.
The trim trend is also steering away from the standard chrome finish to the warmer metals like brass and gold. These brass metal trims are often paired with marble feature tiles.
So what do you think? Would you like to include a tiled feature wall into your bathroom or kitchen? Is there any of these designs that grabbed your fancy? let us know in the comments below…