Any time you're craving a little design refresh, there are a myriad of ways to do so. One of the most popular options is implementing tile. Tile surpasses the two-dimensional constraints of paint and infuses texture and color into a room. It also has the impressive ability to make daunting hues and finishes visually digestible. For example, cobalt blue paint might be a bit too bold for coating the bathroom walls, but in tile form, it's vivid and fresh. Or the wild pattern that feels too busy to incorporate as curtains will look fun and adventurous when installed around a fireplace.
Understandably, designers and homeowners can't get enough of these small slabs, and in 2022, there is no shortage of fresh tile ideas. Vibrant colors are popping up along with original configurations and new areas to spread out the mortar and speckle with ceramic.
Tile Trends to Look Out For
Tile is headed in two (nearly polar opposite) directions this year. One interpretation is a matchy-matchy finish where the color, shape, and texture reflects the room around it, and the other features tile as an accent to be mixed and matched.
Leah Alexander, designer and founder of interior design firm Beauty Is Abundant, has picked up on a variety of fresh looks that have been coming into play this year. "Trends I'm seeing are matching wallpaper and nearby furniture upholstery and/or drapery," she says, and tile is no different. The couch, console, and even pillows are all fair game when it comes to finding objects to match tile to.
Meet the Expert
Leah Alexander is a designer and the founder of interior design firm, Beauty Is Abundant.
In a more general design sense, Alexander has noticed the continuation of wallpaper moving from the wall to the ceiling in bathrooms among other spaces. This is now being reflected in tile, too. Rather than stopping at just the floor, the same tile is being coaxed up the wall for an extended pop of color and texture.
Rooms Receiving Tile Treatments
The areas getting extra tile attention this year may be predictable, but the way in which tile is interpreted is unique. Bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms are common spaces for tile installation but it's not your average subway tile backsplash or floor tile making an appearance this year.
"Areas that are getting tile or other kinds of thoughtful treatment, like the ever-popular fluted or channeled wood treatment, include the back or the entire body of the kitchen island and the backs of bookshelves," says Alexander. "So pretty."
In essence, the cabinet-laden island that might be feeling a little stale would no doubt look transformed with tile coating its exterior. The interior of bookshelves, tiles that stray from the shower to the floor, and ceiling tiles can all be expected, too. Bolder colors are also inserting themselves in rooms, meaning a basic tile layout will look bolder and more trendy thanks to the hue alone.
Popular Tile Colors This Year
Is white tile making you yawn? The jewel-toned colors rolling out in 2022 are the answer to overdone neutrals and bright whites. "Teal, mustard yellow, and even rust-colored tiles have been catching my eye already this year," notes Alexander. It doesn't take much for these tones to make an impact either. A burst of teal around the fireplace or a smattering of golden rectangles on the floor instantaneously pump vibrancy into a room.
And, even if white or neutral tile is your thing, there are endless ways to revamp it that still feel on par with trends but create a refresh that feels true to your personal style. Add a statement color on one wall—perhaps a trendy terracotta shade or an edgy black—or play with the shapes and finishes (pearlescent backsplash, anyone?).
More Tile Trends
Save for terrazzo or mosaic, tile is typically a uniform art with neatly stacked shapes, straight lines, and the same shape used throughout. This year will encourage a little more playfulness. Rather than sticking with solely subway tile on a backsplash or relying only on hexagonal tiles for a bathroom floor, exploring different mixes of tile shapes and styles will be explored throughout 2022.
There are plenty of exciting ways to do this. In a bathroom, try adhering hexagons to the back wall of a shower and install the tile on a neighboring wall in a chevron pattern. Another fresh choice could include rectangular slates on the floor and circular penny tiles around a sink.
Refreshing laundry rooms or kitchens can be fun as well. An earthy terracotta tile (try square or hexagonal) will look lovely on the floor but will pop even more with an emerald or turquoise tile singing above it on the walls. For a subtler take, a paler rust or a complementary shade of orange on the backsplash still adds a visual change but feels super cohesive and matches the floor well.
Others trends are a continuation of what was popular last year and earlier or a defiant tweak to the traditional. Alexander personally likes a particular kitchen trend that misplaces where you'd originally expect to see tile. "I’m still very much enjoying the trend of wrapping the countertop material up onto the backsplash, effectively getting rid of tile in the kitchen," she says. In cases like this, tile can be moved to the aforementioned island. This also opens up an opportunity to save that tile budget for experimenting in other rooms and nooks that would do well with a splash of color and geometric shape.