Organized annually by BolognaFiere, Cersaie is known as the world's largest exhibition of ceramic tile and bathroom furnishings. With more than 1.7 million square feet of exhibition space, the renowned tradeshow is held each year at the end of September in Bologna, Italy.

This year, Cersaie welcomed more than 112,000 attendees — a 0.4% increase from 2017 — and 840 exhibitors from 40 different countries. The show also saw a 1.6% increase in international visitors.

When it comes to viewing products, there is no show quite like Cersaie. The larger-than-life displays bring tiles to life in a variety of environments — from bedrooms and kitchens to commercial gyms and cafes — and allow visitors to truly envision what a finished product would look and feel like. Over the last five years, I’ve seen a range of trends grow, with more refined looks and options introduced. Natural materials have continued to serve as an inspiration for all manufacturers, who are constantly reinterpreting wood, stone, concrete and even terracotta looks. More mix-and-match options are also being encouraged to spice up the design or add a pop of color. In terms of texture, each year is a surprise as to what technology is able to create. Simple patterns are a thing of the past and extruding designs are in style; three-dimensional tiles are now mimicking everything from window blinds to crumpled pieces of paper, and people want to see more. Patterns and shapes have always been popular, but create interesting accents. Floral patterns are also being utilized more frequently, along with other textile-inspired designs.

With large-format tiles, designated as “gauged porcelain tile panels/slabs” in the U.S. several years ago, the options are seemingly endless. These formats generally span larger than 10 feet and are starting to pop up everywhere, thanks to continuous advancements in digital printing technology. Manufacturers are even beginning to feature one-of-a-kind decorations on these panels that look like “ceramic wallpaper.” Below is a glimpse of some evolving trends I saw on the show floor this year.