January 7/14, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 16
By Megan Salzano
The tile and stone category is expected to see growth in the coming year, and retailers looking to capture that sales potential should stay ahead of the coming trends. However, that becomes more difficult as tile continues to evolve its place in the home—no longer banished to the bathroom or kitchen floor. “It’s not just for the residential kitchen backsplash or the hotel bathroom anymore,” said Lindsey Waldrep, director of marketing, Crossville. “There are more options for countertops and other horizontal applications.”
As such, FCNews tapped some of the categories top vendors to bring you the most sought-after product features that will drive tile production and trends in 2019.
Bigger and better
The large-format trend continues to reign, and “planks and rectangles remain king,” said Emily Holle, MSI’s director of trend and design. Multiple vendors agree that large format will continue its upward trajectory—in both sales and installation—in the coming year, with sizes such as 18 x 24 remaining popular while even larger sizes, some measured in feet, continue to gain ground in floor and wall applications.
In addition, these large-size tiles will push boundaries in terms of color and design. For example, Marco Fregni, CEO of Florim USA, said advancements in extra-large tiles being used as wall to floor coverings has resulted in something quite intriguing: ceramic wallpaper. “Creative designs like geometric patterns, floral and tropical patterns and art-deco motifs are really allowing designers to come up with concepts that are only limited by their imaginations.”
Functional in all forms
MSI’s Holle noted that consumers today want waterproof, pet-proof and kid-proof flooring. “We are seeing function and performance get closer to the top of the list when a homeowner is shopping.”
What’s more, non-traditional tile applications, such as three-dimensional wall tile or chevron looks, are expected to reign. Other vendors agree that tile’s move from the kitchen and bathroom to these unconventional applications throughout the home is enabled by its evolving functionality.
Fregni said Florim USA is devoting significant time and effort into creating porcelain that can be used as a countertop surface but remain impervious to stains as well as run from ceiling to floor and seamlessly transition to outdoor patios without fear of being damaged by the elements. From walls and countertops to outdoor pavers, retailers should be on the hunt for versatile functionality.
Pattern and color go bold
Vendors agree encaustic prints, retro and modern geometric looks and graphic bold patterns will dominate. Paij Thorn-Brooks, vice president of marketing, Dal-Tile, also noted the impact cultural influences will have on tile patterns. “The decorative art found in Moroccan culture will play a large role in surfaces, and countries in the Far East will make an impact as well, inspiring origami and tangram geometric patterns,” she said.
When it comes to color, Emser Tile said wood looks will range from classic warmth to more contemporary cool tones featuring brushes of blue, while mosaics will see bright blues, greens and whites. Crossville’s Waldrep added that new collections will include richly nuanced surface visuals with layered and saturated colors and details.
On the surface
In addition to the growth of both polished and matte finishes, vendors expect the growth of textured tiles. Due to advancements in digital printing, vendors are now able to mimic not only the look of other materials but also the feel. These realistically textured tiles—or those that give the illusion of texture—can add depth and dimension to a project, helping to spur tile’s popularity with consumers and projected growth in the coming year. “Offered in several shapes and sizes, textured tiles can make a statement on their own or be combined into exciting combinations,” Dal-Tile’s Thorn-Brooks noted.
Vendors said textured tiles will complement the forecasted pattern and color trends for 2019 with bold colors and encaustic patterns high in demand.