Whether used for floors or walls, an increase in the popularity of large-format tiles is apparent. More and more tile collections are offering bigger sizes, and to even make the products more enticing, these tile lines are also including matching trim and accent pieces. No matter what the style or space of the design, there are tile sizes to meet almost any requirement.
Additionally, large-format tiles are available in a variety of finishes, including polished, honed and antiqued, further lending themselves to all types of designs. While polished pieces are ideal for a sleek and chic look, a traditional or Old World feel can be created with honed or antiqued tiles.
Although 12-by-12-inch tiles still remain in circulation, 16-by-16- and 18-by-18-inch tiles are even viewed standard sizes these days. Larger formats such as 20-by-20 and 24-by-24 inches are being used to pack more of a punch in both residential and commercial designs.
Wall and floor tiles are also stretching beyond squares. The larger sizes offered today are also available in rectangular pieces. Formats such as 24-by-12 inches offer many design possibilities. By pairing large-sized tiles with varying smaller sizes, a modular floor or wall pattern is created - bringing a clean, fresh look to a space. Even if spaces are on the smaller size, large-format tiles can give the illusion that the area is bigger than it actually is. Whether used for interior or exterior applications, larger tiles can enhance and upgrade a design.
Making a statement“I see the trend coming,” said Anna Marie Fanelli of Floor & Décor in Tenafly, NJ. “Tile is showing bigger formats. It used to be 16-by-16 and 18-by-18 inches. Now 20-by-20 is the biggest in porcelain that we have in our showroom.”
Fanelli is experienced with designing and selecting materials for high-end homes. Tile is often a material of choice - particularly for floors. She explained that she often likes to combine large-format tile with large stone columns or other architectural elements in areas such as entryways to make a bold and elegant statement.
“It makes a room look so grand - as if you have slabs on the floor,” she said. “I always say my little clip, ‘bigger is better.’ I really like grander tile. In a foyer, I especially like to go as large as I can.”
According to Fanelli, she has often used 16-by-16 and 18-by-18 tiles on walls, in spaces such as bathrooms. “The space always looks very clean,” she said. “It might be traditional or very minimalist.”
A versatile productAnd large-format tiles are not only relevant to interior applications. “It can be used indoors as well as outdoors,” said Fanelli. “It doesn’t have to be limited to indoors as long as the tiles have thickness.”
In areas such as pools and balconies, large-format tile can provide a great flooring option. “Pool decking is another avenue where we’re using bigger tiles,” said Fanelli. “You can decorate it with a little bit of glass. There is nothing inferior today about porcelain - polished or distressed.”
Inside, kitchens are another area where large-format tiles are being used. Complemented by a granite countertop, the tiles can create a warm yet upscale dining environment.
“Bigger formats are very popular,” said Fanelli. “We do a lot of basements, believe it or not.” In spaces such as this, tile not only enhances the design aesthetically, but it provides the strength and durability that is necessary in these areas.
According to Fanelli, a simple way to spice up a floor or wall design is by placing the tiles on a diagonal. “I don’t like traditional lays,” she said. “I like to twist and turn things a little to make it a little different. You don’t have to be conventional.”
Creating depthNumerous tile collections today - including large-format pieces - feature a variety of textures, which add to the overall depth and feel of a residential or commercial design. Many of the textures used for tiles are inspired by fabrics or elements in nature.
The appearance of tiles can include tonal variety, random streaks and tiny reflective bits. When featured on large-format tiles, the dimension of a space can really be enhanced. And while the tile looks textured, the glazed porcelain surface can be smooth and flat, in some cases. But for those desiring an actual textured feel, those types of finishes are available as well.
The expanding sizes of tile formats is just another confirmation of the ever-evolving technology of tile production. Tile manufacturers continue to dedicate time and money to fresh and innovative ideas that open new doors in design.