Wall Tile Trends 2014

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No longer confined to the décor pigeonholes of bathroom showers and kitchen backsplashes, wall tile has been expanding its territory in homes and creeping into new and exciting realms of interior design in recent years. With a significant portion of exhibits at the Interior Design Show last month touching on, and even featuring, the wonders of wall tile, there is certainly a lot to look forward to in 2014.

Here are a few things we’ve picked up on:

White on white on white

An overwhelming trend featured at the Toronto IDS show was the monochromatic use of white. White walls, white floors, white appliances—all white everythang. Not only a landlord’s dream (have you ever moved into a rented space that wasn’t white washed?) but the neutral aspect of the pantone offers cart blanche in terms of design style, as white is a staple hue in modern, traditional, and contemporary décors alike.

The idea behind the trend is twofold. Firstly, it immediately instills a sense of expansive airiness that lends itself to an open concept design. This is a great option for both opening up small spaces, and creating a sense of serenity in busy functional rooms like kitchens. Secondly, the white acts as a blank canvas that allows tertiary elements of your décor to stand out, like texture and shapes which, incidentally, is another trend that’s expected to be big this year.

White kitchen wall tile kettle

Texture and contour

2014 will see the beginning of a shift away from sleek linear concepts, towards rounder and more interactive shapes, patterns, and finishes. Notable innovative textures in showrooms this January really played with this idea. Surfaces brushed to create a woven effect that mimics rugged textiles like wool and burlap offer a warmer almost rustic alternative to the polished modern look that’s on the way out.

Taking an even bigger step out of the box of fading angular fads are these great semi-psychedelic, warped-looking mosaics that offer a softer undulating surface that’s both visually and tangibly refreshing.

irregular wall tile

For those who prefer a more subtle or muted design scheme, there is ample room to incorporate the illusion of texture while still remaining in vogue. Putting more emphasis on the demand for innovative shapes, this year will also favour a focus on a disruption of the traditional oblong lines.

Tiles will be arranged in patterns to create geometric silhouettes, shaded to create three dimensional facades on flat surfaces, and rounded into scallop shapes to appease the desire for softer lines.

Organic patterning and themes

Another theme that ran consistently throughout colors, prints, and materials in showrooms this January was a focus on nature. Color schemes have started to shift from greys and silvers to a more glamorous and glitzy gold, most notably seen in IKEA’s dazzling gold wall tile.

Patterns will have a more floral flavor with flowers, leaves, and trees both printed on ceramic and porcelain tiles themselves and arranged in trompe l’oeil fashion with mosaics. But what’s flora without fauna? There were also several animal-inspired prints and images imprinted onto tiles, especially featuring birds, foxes and squirrels.

floral and fauna patterned mosaic tile

Although there is certainly an obvious push for nature-inspired prints and patterns, the materials of choice this year also favor a more organic look and feel. Stepping in line with another current motif of blending rustic and contemporary design elements, 2014 will see a big focus on ceramic and porcelain tiles manufactured to look like weathered floorboards.

Brushed to mimic the nicks and scuffs of natural wear, these wood-look tiles offer the moisture endurance of porcelain but the aesthetic and, more importantly, the feel of genuine reclaimed planks.

When it comes to keeping up with wall tile trends for 2014, fortune seems to favour the bold. With an emphasis on dynamic shapes and textures, and a jump to graphically designed patterns on tile, this year is certainly an exciting one for tile trends.

What are your thoughts?

Now that wall tile is making a name for itself in the design world, how will you incorporate it into new areas of your home? Or maybe you think it strictly belongs in the kitchen and bath aisles?

Which trends are you most excited about?

Can you picture any of these trends unfolding in your home?

Are there any you’ve gotten wind of that we haven’t mentioned?

Let us know in the comments section!

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Jill Canty

hiker; runner; breakfast food, mcdonalds, and beer lover; HBO and AMC marathoner; insatiable modern fiction devourer; hopeful globe-trotter; concert-goer; proportionate Beyoncé obsession-haver; and - of course - content writer.