From glass to metal to faux hardwood, we profile the latest styles in tile.
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What do copper, stainless, hardwood and glass have in common? They represent some of the hottest tile trends currently popping up in hip kitchens and baths. Here's what designers have to say about today's latest tile trends.
"Glass accent tile is really exciting right now," says Bill Wolf, owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in Grand Rapids, Mich. Used for kitchen backsplashes, shower walls and as accents on floors, glass tiles add a depth, sparkle and luminescence not found in ceramic or natural stone.
With a broad color palette, and finishes ranging from glossy to flat, glass tiles can fit most design schemes. When used sparingly, vivid glass tiles can provide exciting visual highlights. Conversely, when covering an entire bathroom wall, glass tile can create a luxurious spa-like atmosphere. Bonus: Many glass tiles are made from recycled glass.
Looking for a tile that complements stainless steel appliances? How about one that goes splendidly with that hammered-copper vent hood? Gary Fratianne, owner of Creative Kitchens, Baths and Closets in Westlake, Ohio, says the natural choice is metal wall tile.
"Much more interesting than those huge sheets of stainless or copper," says Fratianne, "small metal wall tiles allow the homeowner to create different patterns and designs."
The most obvious application for metal wall tile is the kitchen backsplash. For a polished, contemporary look, Fratianne suggests going with stainless steel, which is available in finishes ranging from satin to brushed. Warm bronze or copper tile adds a timeless beauty to kitchens with more traditional style.
We all love the look of hardwood flooring, but most contractors say it has no place in a moist bathroom. The next best thing may be faux hardwood porcelain tile.
"The tile industry has gotten really creative at manufacturing tiles out of one material to look like another material," says Christine Jurs, owner of The Advance Design Studio in Gilberts, Ill. "A perfect example is porcelain tile made to look like real hardwood. It looks fabulous."
Available in 2-, 3- and 4-inch planks, the tile is much easier to care for than real wood. And porcelain's natural resistance to moisture makes it an appropriate material for kitchen and bath applications.
"Picture Frame" a Window
When Wolf points out the tile-bordered window in his showroom, his customers invariably say, "I can't believe how sharp that looks."
For a totally finished look in a kitchen or bath, Wolf may suggest removing a window's existing wood casing and replacing it with tile. "We call it 'picture framing' the window," he explains. Wolf typically recommends a natural stone or ceramic border tile with some depth for the best results. And to really tie the look together, incorporate tile used elsewhere in the room.