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Celebrate National Tile Day with These 10 Tile Trends for 2020

Dec. 20, 2019

To celebrate National Tile Day on February 23, we’ve rounded up the latest trends in tile, seen on display at Cersaie, and soon to be seen at Coverings 2020. Read now.

Fans and members of the tile and design industry can officially celebrate their love of the material during the fourth annual National Tile Day on February 23. Coverings, the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, founded the holiday in 2017 to commemorate tile’s aesthetics and durability. The material is often noted for its sustainable and eco-friendly traits, as well as its easy maintenance and endless design options.

“National Tile Day is an incredible way to spotlight a timeless element of architecture and design that connects members of the tile community and its supporting industries,” said Alena Capra, certified master kitchen and bath designer and Coverings Industry Ambassador, in a Coverings press release.

In 2019, Capra created a tile trends forecast to celebrate National Tile Day, all of which were seen through the variety of products on display during that year’s Coverings show. For 2020, Capra and Coverings’ sponsors Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America and Tile of Spain collaborated to gather and report the current top 10 tile trends.

These tile trends are a precursor to the nine miles of tile to be seen at Coverings 2020, April 20-23 in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. According to Coverings website, attendees can expect to see:

1. Mixed color palettes
Consumers are currently crazy for Pantone color of the year Classic Blue, blush pinks, sage green and dusty orange hues for a calming look.

(Photo: Wide & Style ABK, Art Shapes; Credit: Ceramics of Italy)

2. Refined natural wood looks
Thanks to evolving digital printing technology and innovations in ink and fit technology, mimicking natural wood remains popular in 2020.

Photo: WEWOOD, KERABEN GRUPO; Credit: Tile of Spain

3. Precious- and gemstone-style made sustainable
From designs emulating rare marbles and semi-precious stones, such as onyx and agate, to tiles with an iridescent finish reminiscent of Akoya pearls, precious material styles are set to make a splash in the tile industry.

Photo: Nolita, Vallelunga & Co.; Credit: Ceramics of Italy

4. Non-rectangular/mixed geometrics
Trapezoid, rhombus and diamond-shaped tiles allow for more interesting layouts.

More so than simple grids and running bonds.

(Photo: Cortina Rectified, Interceramic USA; Credit: Tile Council of North America)

5. Industrial chic
Concrete- and stone-look tile options enrich environments with a chic artfulness while opening the door to endless style choices.

Photo: GRUNGE, PERONDA GROUP; Credit: Tile of Spain

6. Counter culture
The durability and stain-resistance of porcelain make it an ideal countertop choice

This is why this type of gauged porcelain’s expanding applications will continue to be a 2020 favorite. 

(Photo: Porcelain countertops, Crossville; Credit: Tile Council of North America)

7. Modernized marble
Traditional-inspired ceramic materials, such as emulated marble, have been modernized to adapt to today’s contemporary styles.

Photo: Onice Fantastico, Del Conca; Credit: Tile Council of North America

8. Speckled surfaces
This trend features technicolor dots and specks, and modern interpretations of terrazzo in 2020.

Photo: Medley, Ergon; Credit: Ceramics of Italy

9. Large-scale patterns
Expect to see a shift towards ceramic tiles with big, bold patterns that instantly catch the eye this year.

Photo: SEQUOIA, REALONDA; Credit: Tile of Spain

10. Psychedelic
Expect bright, psychedelic colors, playful geometries and trippy patterns galore.

(Photo: Let it Bee, Imola; Credit: Ceramics of Italy)

More Tile Trends and Design Tips

Several of the trends listed above were also evident in many of the tile products showcased during Cersaie in September 2019. Dive into more tile coverage with our original article on Tile of Spain’s five tile trends for 2020, along with further information and tips on how to incorporate the latest tile trends into a project while staying within budget.

At Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings held in Bologna, Italy, manufacturers from around the world explored the latest innovations in the ceramic tile sector.

Tile of Spain, a regular participant at the annual show, had 100-plus of its manufacturers attend the five-day event, where they unveiled their current offerings, including a preview of tile trends the interior design industry can expect to see in 2020.

Ryan Fasan, ceramic tile specialist and Tile of Spain consultant, says the curated trends are selected from manufacturer novelties launched at both Cersaie and Cevisama, an international trade fair for ceramic tiles, surface coatings and kitchen and bath held each February.

As a highly technical industry that relies on creative manipulation of naturally occurring minerals, Fasan says current interpretation of trends is equally driven by:

  • Technological innovations in manufacturing, including advanced digital decoration with the ability to add structure as well as graphics
  • Architectural design focus, such as the growing interest in exterior living space
  • Contemporary design language, like vintage and retro touches that add personality

He adds that the past few years have seen dramatic changes in North American preferences, shifting away from the safe, “vanilla” choices in favor of much stronger patterns and colorways.

[Related: 6 Tile Trends on the Rise in 2019]

Taking this into consideration, Tile of Spain’s five trends for 2020 are:

1. Modernized Marble

Traditional-inspired ceramic materials such as marble have been modernized to adapt to the contemporary styles of 2020. 

Photo: Baldocer, Titanium; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

Highly sought after luxurious designs typically reserved for floor tiles have been converted into large ceramic slabs now used for countertops, bathroom vanities, walls and more.

Photo: Colorker, Mistery; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

2. Wood Look Reinvented

The natural wood look has been a staple in the tile industry for years.

Photo: Azulev, Tanzania; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

Thanks to innovations in ink and frit technology, collections mimicking natural lumber will remain popular in 2020. (Photo: Azulev, Tanzania)

This year, tile manufacturers will reinvent the look in an abundance of colors and details and test it on applications such as walls and countertops.

Photo: Undefasa, Heritage; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

3. Industrial Chic

In contrast to the warm rustic feel of wood look tile, designers can expect to see an emphasis on urban design in 2020.

Photo: Alaplana, Tapiso; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

Concrete and stone-look tile enriches environments with a chic aesthetic while opening the door to endless style options.

Photo: Ceramica Saloni, Foundry; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

4. Large Scale Patterns

For years, the demand for tile was focused on minimalism and simplistic designs. In 2020, the tile industry plans to see a shift toward ceramic tiles with big, bold patterns that instantly catch the eye.

Photo: Peronda, FS Blume; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

“The prevailing size in floor tile for decades has been the ubiquitous 12 by 24 inches, but recently there has been a strong rise in demand for 24- by 48-inch and 36- by 36-inch formats,” says Fasan.

Photo: Realonda, Hex Nouveau; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​
Available in a multitude of shapes and color schemes, large pattern tiles work well as an accent piece in an understated space, turning surfaces into true works of art.

5. A Return to Color

To match the rise of the large-scale patterns, the tile industry is returning to a stage in which the ceramic acquires a more decorative dimension and color becomes the true protagonist. (Photo: Ceramicas Vilar Albaro, Biselado; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​)

So long are the days of neutral color palettes and muted monotone spaces—2020 is all about doses of blue, pink, yellow and green.

Photo: Deccoer, Arnold; Courtesy of Tile of Spain ​

Incorporating Tile Trends into Interiors

“There really has never been a more exciting time for tile,” adds Fasan. “As a material, it can be used almost anywhere to increase performance and aesthetics of different spaces.”

He notes that modern manufacturing processes are creating new formats and collaborations to bring ceramics to spaces outside the traditional backsplash and shower. “For example, there’s a slab manufacturer that is laminating induction range tops into their slabs for flexible spaces that can function as a cooking space, dining or workspace within minutes.”

Fasan says manufacturing processes now focus more on optimizing the performance of the material for intended use cases with minimal effective thicknesses. He says this means that the ability to optimize budgets and afford more tile to create higher-performing, more flexible spaces will increase.

When choosing a tile for a project, his advice to designers is to look for multiple format collections for your commercial specs. “By that, I mean multiple thicknesses or gauges, as well as facial dimensions,” he adds. “Multiple thicknesses allow for specification of the minimum effective dose to expand budget room for more ceramics, rather than having to settle for inferior products due to budget restrictions.”

For more tips on how to incorporate the latest tile trends while staying within budget, check out Fasan’s Fresh Tile Styles that Impact Interiors and Design Budgets.

Originally published on December 20, 2019 and updated on February 21, 2020.

About the Author

Adrian Schley | Associate Editor

Adrian Schley is an Associate Editor for i+s, where she has been covering the commercial interior design industry since 2018. Her work can also be found in BUILDINGS and Meetings Today. 

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