It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of a home. And for this reason, it is only logical that homeowners are investing in premium tile and stone products to make it as warm and inviting as possible, while still providing the necessary practical requirements for cooking. The plentiful and diverse tile lines available today definitely meet the demand for both aesthetics and function. Advances in technology, along with forward-thinking manufacturers, have resulted in quality tile products in a range of colors, textures and sizes to satisfy all design styles.

“Trends in tile take some time to get seeded, but once a trend is identified, it tends to evolve and last well beyond its time of origin,” explained Lori Kirk-Rolley, Senior Marketing Director of Dal-Tile in Dallas, TX. “We have seen top kitchen and bath trends over the course of the year that we anticipate will continue to remain popular in the future of our brands.”

According to Kirk-Rolley, wood-look tile remains a popular choice among designers and homeowners alike. “Wood looks are clearly among the hottest trends in the marketplace,” she said. “The use of tile that emulates wood is a style trend gaining momentum in both floor and wall applications for several years. Designers have specifically been leaning toward long, linear plank sizes. What was first introduced as a traditional take on hardwood floors has evolved to include more colors and textures to choose from than ever before. Wood looks with warm rustic visuals and various structures are quite common. Water-stained and brushed visuals have recently been introduced. These products typically are offered in multi-color blends that are very authentic looking.”

Moreover, Kirk-Rolley notes that dimensionality is also a growing trend in kitchen and bath design. “Especially on the wall, tile is no longer square and flat,” she said. “It’s texture and dimension that dominate the market. Mosaics and wall tiles create visual relief by utilizing highs and lows – bringing depth and dimension to any design project. Ways to achieve this look can also include ‘tone-on-tone’ patterning.”

Additionally, large formats and rectangular sizes are also being utilized more in kitchen and bath design. Kirk-Rolley explained that this is resulting in many more pattern options, which designers are using more frequently to create unique designs.

“In terms of trends, we’ll continue to see larger and larger sizes being used as manufacturing capabilities become even more sophisticated,” she said. “We also anticipate the various shapes of tile will continue to evolve. First we had squares, then rectangles, followed by planks, which raises the question of ‘What’s next?’ Presently, 18- x 36- and 24- x 48-inch large-format sizes are entering the market in the U.S. Rectangular-sized tile in both floor and wall applications also continue to be extremely popular, specifically, long linear plank sizes.”

Glass is also commonly seen – especially as accents – in kitchens and baths. “Glass accents are exciting right now – especially in kitchen backsplashes and shower walls,” said Kirk-Rolley. “We’re seeing an increased use of glass – combined with other mediums such as stone and metal -- as well as different types of glass from solids to frosted looks. The texture and color movement you can achieve with glass adds a depth, sparkle and luminescence to any space.”

Designer Rosanna Robin Trivilino, NCIDQ certified, of New York, NY, often turns to glass tile for her designs. “Consistently, I use a lot of glass subway tile,” she said. “I like to alternate between horizontal and vertical – especially when you wrap it around an architectural element such as a column or soffit. Alternating between horizontal and vertical lines creates movement, depth and visual interest.”

In kitchens, Robin favors to use tile on every type of exposed surface. “I take the tile from the backsplash and carry it to the floor on all exposed surfaces.”

Moreover, the designer frequently employs mosaic glass tile – especially blends of glass and stone -- in her kitchen and bath designs. “I use 1- x 1-inch glass tile with 8-mm depth for floors in baths, and carry it up the surfaces of the wall in the same color,” she explained, adding that white glass tile is very popular right now. “Glass tile is not as fragile as one might believe. People might ask if they will chip, but any type of tile [runs that risk] if something is dropped directly onto its surface.”