It’s officially summertime — arguably the best time of the year. A time when wildlife thrives, warm weather brings a smile to your face and spontaneous adventures become daily activities. Of all seasons, summer has the tendency to just wrap its arms around you like a warm blanket, wouldn’t you agree?

When warmer weather approaches, the outdoors become the place to be. You may have noticed the trend towards indoor-outdoor living, which only seems to be picking up momentum. We’ve learned that outdoor installations have become one of the most requested types of projects, aside from bathroom and kitchen renovations, especially in places with warm climates year-round.

In the U.S., the West Coast is infamous for these architectural styles, however, the idea seems to be prevalent from coast to coast nowadays. Whether for a pool, patio or seamless transition from indoors to outdoors, it’s obvious that people are looking for new ways to integrate their designs indoors and outdoors without limiting themselves to “indoor” and “outdoor” options.

As tile sizes continue to grow — taller than the average human, in some cases — and more durable materials are created, possibilities only become infinite. Manufacturers are constantly developing new products specifically for outdoor use, ensuring ease of installation and a natural aesthetic, all with the durability of tile.

Designs mimic everything from concrete to stone and wood, and can even mock that of concrete and brick. It’s hard to distinguish which materials are real and which are constructed out of porcelain, ceramic and even glass. It’s a new era.

After speaking with a diverse group of industry professionals, we learned that neutral colors still remain timeless options, while brighter colors such as blue and orange are starting to infiltrate the market. “Bold colors have been a popular trend for 2018 around the world,” said Arthur Mintie, senior director of technical services at Laticrete in Bethany, CT. “Not only are they a great way to add personal style to any space, but they can easily enhance the feel of a room.”

Textured designs, which are often seen in three-dimensional and decorative tiles, are also rising in popularity, thanks to advancements in technology. “Digital printing has really elevated how true to life certain lines can mimic natural materials, and it keeps getting more and more refined,” said Matt Karlin, president and CEO of Nemo Tile & Stone in New York, NY.

“It will eventually become the norm due to the advanced technologies and I don’t ever see it slowing down,” added Jeffrey Johnson, owner of Jeffrey Design, LLC, in Dallas, TX and Glendale, CA. “It is entirely a blessing adding more personality to space.”

For a more in-depth look at this year’s trends, turn to pg. 36. And always remember to “live in the sunshine,” as the great Ralpho Waldo Emerson discovered long ago.



Heather Fiore