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.