It’s always exciting and refreshing to see what the new year brings in way of trends, especially after a tumultuous 2020. From high gloss and intricate veining, to gorgeous greens and soft textures, 2021’s most important tile trends are primed for several residential and commercial applications, many with a focus on wellness in design.
The below trends were provided by Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America, and Tile of Spain (three of the five owners of Coverings) and are a preview of the newest and most admired styles that can be discovered in-person at Coverings 2021, July 7-9 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
2021 Tile Trends
Color washed concrete with fragments of aggregates combine the grit of a city sidewalk with the playfulness of terrazzo in this popular trend. The flecked effect trend offers a kaleidoscope of colors or floating fragments of shapes, where the patterns lend a burst of energy to floors and walls setting the stage for a playscape or a penthouse.
From chunky to fine flecks, and large slabs to smaller tiles, there are so many unique and diverse options to choose from. This trend works especially well on extra-large tiles that minimize grout lines and allow the pattern to shine.
More time spent indoors leaves one longing for a connection to nature. In come a slew of options to help with the greening of our interior spaces. Green in every shade – from mint and sage to more saturated hues like emerald. And in every texture – from marbled and oxidized to zellige and terrazzo.
Green not only connects individuals to nature, but it also evokes a feeling of optimism, peace, and security, all of which are much needed in these uncertain times.
With a growing preference for more toned-down designs, shades become vitally important. The simplest and most effective way to manipulate shade and to create depth is through texture.
Three-dimensional tiles provide a lively canvas for light to play off of and bring energy and movement to walls while keeping the color palette to a minimum. While there have been stronger, more geometric 3-D tile trends in the past, this year is showcasing softer and more natural looks as people yearn for that connection to the outdoors.
Glossy tiles are making a comeback, allowing floors and walls to pop with perfectly smooth surfaces and beautiful shine. Glossy finishes are an excellent option for areas that need to be cleaned often – from backsplashes and showers, to lobby floors and exterior walls. High gloss tiles offer a way to add both eye-catching flair and durability to the built environment.
Grey veining against a white background is a classic marble look. However, now that the scale of tile has grown, so too can the scale of the veining to create striking looks. Marble-look designs are evolving: some having fewer wide, riverlike veins with flowing movement and clean edges; others having more angular, frenetic looks. In either case, you’ll have a hard time finding a repeat pattern.
Extra-large ceramic tiles are growing in popularity and for good reason: they’re elegant, durable, versatile, and safe. Large-format porcelain tiles come in sizes up to 5.25’x10.5’ and thicknesses ranging from 3.5mm to 2cm, enabling countless applications and design possibilities. On the thinner side of the spectrum, large tiles are perfect for floors, walls, backsplashes, and furnishings as they come in an endless variety of designs and can be easily cut, machined, and drilled to create custom solutions.
Meanwhile, thick porcelain slabs—ranging from 1.2 to 2cm —can be installed in one piece just like a slab of marble, creating a countertop solution that’s beautiful, durable, and practical.
Humans possess an innate tendency to want to connect with nature and other forms of life. But, biophilia is more than just a philosophy—biophilic design has been found to support cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. And ceramic tile is the perfect medium to support this design, thanks to incredible advancements in high-definition printing.
Ceramic tile designs are moving to more natural and un-treated wood looks as the timber elements become calm spaces and tension anchors for the overall design. This trend showcases simple wood grains – narrow and wide, light and dark. As well as natural stone looks in every texture and size and in colors that evoke a sense of nature.
In recent years, ceramic and porcelain tile have grown to monumental sizes. The same is happening now with the non-rectangular styles… specifically, hexagons! Hexagons as large as two feet in diameter can add a lot of drama to a space (without a lot of grout lines), especially with a staggered transition.
Patterned Tile Concrete Lookalikes
Concrete is a ubiquitous building material that has allowed creative architectural expression since ancient times. Long admired for its strength and beauty, concrete continues to serve as a muse for architects as well as manufacturers. The playful patterns and infinite laying schemes of these porcelain tiles create a dramatic impact on any space, be it indoors and out.
2021’s underlying theme of physical and mental wellness has emerged again in the tenth and final tile trend – muted tones. While there is still a lot of super-saturated color tiles for accents, there is a strong rise in soft blues and greens to create soothing and calming spaces. Many can find the harmony and tranquility they are seeking in these turbulent times in spaces designed with toned down, muted tile hues.
So, there you have it, 2021’s top 10 tile trends. To get a more in-depth look and to hear case studies on three of the trends, please watch the 2021 tile trends presentation that was delivered on National Tile Day during Coverings Connected: