The ceramic tile category is arguably flooring’s closest link to the interior design community. Ceramic tile trends take their design cues directly from consumer habits within the home and builds upon those needs to craft its looks, textures and technologies. It is because of this that ceramic tile tends to lead the industry in terms of style and design and why ceramic is considered the most stylish and design-forward product category in the industry, proponents agree.
In 2022, there are several consumer habits in and around the home that have been driving ceramic tile trends. Consumers today are still evolving to overcome challenges presented during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. That includes 2020’s lockdowns, frequent and ongoing quarantines and even the new work-from-home lifestyle that has forever changed the workplace landscape and is likely to continue into the future. These events have helped to shape several tile trends that are currently thriving in the market today.
Outdoor living, for example, has taken on more importance due to the impacts of the pandemic. “It’s no surprise that homeowners are spending more time at home,” said Amber Leigh Martinson, senior director of marketing, Dal-Tile Corp. “They’re eating, visiting, working and relaxing outside in their own residence. Consequently, outdoor spaces are being utilized more as an extension of the home.”
Another home trend that has been gaining ground for several years is the concept of biophilia, or the addition of natural elements into indoor spaces. Just as the pandemic ushered in the age of outdoor living, its isolating effects have caused consumers to return to nature for a sense of safety and calm. This idea of bringing nature indoors has been reflected in many elements of tile design and is now reflected in ceramic tile trends. “Biophilia paired with wellness continue to be primary drivers for tile design, as the benefit of bringing nature into the space for stress relief and overall well-being is greatly recognized,” said Suzanne Zurfluh, director of design and trend, Emser Tile. “Since the start of the pandemic, individuals have become more connected to the outdoors with biophilic design. Therefore, they are recognizing the overall importance of nature as well as the benefits of bringing these elements into a space. This behavior is encouraging more individuals to move toward a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle and, therefore, boosting the importance of eco-friendly building products such as tile in both their homes and offices.”
Shapes and sizes are also taking center stage when it comes to ceramic tile trends. Somewhat removed from the consequences of the pandemic, the consumer’s desire for shapes outside the traditional square and rectangle has been growing for several years. The demand grew from the need to express individualism among a sea of sameness when basic subway tile and muted grays ruled the day. Large-format tile, for example, has been steadily increasing in popularity for about a decade. From oversized wood-look planks to sheets of marble-inspired porcelain big enough to cover a bathroom wall, size does matter when it comes to tile trends. “Ceramic/porcelain are growing exponentially in size due to increased factory capabilities,” noted Suzi Portugal, vice president of design and sourcing for Mosaic Companies. “Tile is fashion, so design is very important.”
While the outdoor living trend was burgeoning before the onset of the pandemic, the aftermath of global shutdowns and forced quarantines have pushed the trend to the forefront. Consumers today are building outdoor oases to supplement their indoor spaces in an effort to gain more square footage of livable, safe space within the home. Seen here are several outdoor tile collections from Daltile.
Along with the outdoor living trend, biophilia has been growing for several years and has finally cemented its place within the home as consumers continue to look to nature as a safe space to rest and recharge. Consumers are bringing those biophilic elements into the home through color, texture and even shape. Shown here is Emser Tile’s Inhale tile collection, which features blues and greens as standouts as the mixed finish replicates the way light reflects off the surface of ocean water.
Sizes in tile have evolved from the traditional 12 x 12 formats to encompass everything from huge porcelain panels to large-format planks in myriad design options. Pictured here is Mosaic Companies’ Pop Culture collection, which features large-format planks in a variety of black and white options.
Tile has evolved beyond tradition to include options that help consumers express their individualism at a time when the at-home lifestyle is thriving. The home has become the most important space for consumer’s today and a place where they finally live most of their lives—versus the workplace, which used to dominate the day. As such, shape options are evolving and varied. Hexagons, for example, have emerged over the last few years as a wildly popular shape in the tile world. Seen here is MSI’s Hexley Hive.