What’s one of the quickest ways to make a major shift in your home’s style this year? With some brand-new tile, of course. Whether you’re eyeing your backsplash, fireplace, or bathroom floors, manufacturers are turning out an inspiring array of options for any space, style, or budget.
Each autumn, more than 100,000 designers, installers, and buyers from the tile world descend upon Bologna, Italy, to attend Cersaie, an international exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. There, manufacturers display hundreds of new collections that demonstrate the latest in tile style and technology. Here, we’ve gathered a few of the biggest trends from Cersaie’s 36th-annual exhibition, as identified by Ceramics of Italy, a collective of Italian manufacturers of ceramic tiles, sanitary ware, and tableware that are members of Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics).
Trend #1: New Applications
Many tile manufacturers have begun expanding their range of tile thicknesses, which allows for many new applications, from kitchen countertops to bathroom vanities to dining tables. La Fabbrica’s wood-grained Cà Foscari outdoor tile replaces patio pavers or wood decking, Blustyle’s Yosemite collection of porcelain stoneware slabs can cover a driveway, and Sicis’ Vetrite large-format thin glass panels offer beautiful color and visual texture for furniture, countertops, doors, lighting, and more.
Trend #2: Playful Patterns
Want to have some fun with your powder room walls or shower tile? The options—from polka dots to puzzle pieces to 3-D tiles that look like giant Lego bricks—are overwhelming. A few of our favorites: ABK’s Wide&Style collection of ceramic wall-coverings (we love the butterfly-bedecked Papillon pattern), Del Conca’s illustrated Felix the Cat ceramic tiles, and, of course, those Lego-like Bold wall tiles by Marca Corona.
Trend #3: Rare Marbles
Forget Carrara or travertine. These days, tile makers are scouring quarries for unique colors and veining, then harnessing the power of digital manipulation to design realistic interpretations in durable ceramic. Refin took inspiration from the night sky when creating Stardust, a ceramic tile that features ton-sur-ton vein patterns and sparkling flecks of metal, while Rex searched from Brazil to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines mountains to find the new and rare marbles it replicates in its Étoile de Rex collection of ceramic tiles.
Trend #4: Moody Blues
The color blue is trending in a big way this year, and there’s a hue to complement almost any decor. We love the 3-D relief tile in electric blue from the Rilievi collection by Zaven, and the Oceano, Pavone, and Menta hues in Cerasarda’s OT 07026 collection, which evoke the turquoise waters along the Sardinian coast. And, coming soon is the cool Dekorami collection of glazed stoneware tiles designed by the Marcante-Testa firm for Ceramica Vogue, which combines 3-D geometric patterns and a glossy finish for a look that’s a little traditional, a little modern.
Trend #5: Big, Bold Patterns
Many manufacturers are using large-format tiles to showcase equally big patterns that create the look of wallpaper. Case in point: Fuoriformato’s massive panels in the I Decorativi collection are all you need to create a major statement wall. Or, for an instant mood boost, try Unica’s floral Garden tiles, which come in happy green and yellow hues.
Trend #6: Touchable Textures
An irresistible array of new surface finishes and textures might make you forget all about pattern. Ceramica Sant’Agostino’s Lakewood porcelain stoneware planks look just like oiled wood with a hand-planed surface, while the marble look and satin finish of Vallelunga & Company’s Cava tiles evoke an ancient European church floor. But the tile we’re just dying to touch is Made+39’s Cube, a fresh take on the mosaic that combines hollowed out and relief shapes in a variety of thicknesses to play with light and shadow.
Trend #7: New Takes on Tradition
Beloved historical patterns get a fresh twist in the hands of makers including Cir (see their Miami collection), Ceramica Rondine (whose Swing series mixes Op-Art and Art Déco influences), and ABK (what powder room wouldn’t love their Wide&Style collection’s Wild Berry pattern?).