Tired of white tile? You’re far from alone. White porcelain and cool white stone have been staples of bathroom design for most of the 2000’s, but as we enter a new decade, it’s time to usher in a little change, and a whole lot more variety. From new colors and shapes to different types of stone, 2020 marks the culmination of a big shift in bathroom tile trends, not to mention a great opportunity to update your space and make it feel bolder, brighter, and more personalized.
Warm, Natural-Textured Stone
Stone tile has never really gone all the way out of vogue, but white marble with light blue or gray veining – like calacatta and carrara – have been overwhelmingly dominant for years, typically as a luxurious alternative to white porcelain. But with homeowners and designers alike looking to ditch all that white, it’s high time to start considering some alternatives. Warm-toned travertine is definitely leading the pack in popularity, and as a straight replacement for white tile, it’s a perfect way to cut the chill out of your space. Unpolished, natural-textured stone is also becoming a way to add texture and depth to a bathroom, from tumbled travertine accent walls to natural-finished slate flooring.
Bold, Heavily Veined Stone Tile And Accents
All this warm stone tile is generally being used to create a sunny, laid-back, spa-like environment rather than anything really traditional and ornate (which is how travertine has largely been used in the past). But for the people that want their tile to feel bold and striking, there’s a second big tile trend that’s one the rise. Rather than stacked tile or mosaic sheets, many homeowners are installing big, seamless slabs of marble or granite with colorful or distinctive veining – the bolder the better. This is one place where calacatta marble is still seeing a lot of use – for its dramatic gray veining. But while this particular brand of white marble is still being used as a statement piece, for once it doesn’t have a stranglehold on the market; many more distinctive and uncommon stones are also getting their turn to shine.
Colorful Tile – Glazed, Glossy, And Eye-Catching
The race to escape the white bathroom trend doesn’t just represent a straight switch from porcelain to stone, though. In fact, I’d venture to say that for the first time in a while, there isn’t one clear, stand-out, must-have type of tile. Instead, stone, porcelain, glass, and even metal are all getting their moment…as long as they come in the right color. For stone, that mostly means warm beige or blush; for metal, usually copper, gold, or steel. But porcelain and glass tile are showing up in every color of the rainbow, often with distinctive glossy finishes – all designed to make them a feature element that stands out rather than blends in, and really brings something special to your bathroom.
No More Subway Tile!
When your only option is white subway tile, the most interesting thing you can do is play with how you install it: stacked, brick, herringbone, basket weave, and so on. But in 2020 tile trends are turning away from unusual installations and focusing instead on the color, size, and shape of the tile instead. From beautiful arabesque tiles to elegant fish scales to simple but striking hexagons, look for tile that’s just about anything but a 3″ x 6″ rectangle.
Graphic Tile Flooring And Accents
Want a really intricate, highly-detailed look, but don’t want to fuss with a lot of teeny-tiny mosaic tiles? Printed graphic tile has been showing up more and more in recent years, almost directly as a way to combat the plainness of an all-white bathroom. How do they work? These typically-square tiles are printed with a repeating (tiling!) pattern that connects with itself on all sides, making a “mosaic” as big or small as you want it. Graphic tile has been getting used on almost every surface in both the kitchen and bathroom, but is a particularly popular choice for bathroom floors or inset tile niches, where they make the biggest impact or an eye catching statement piece, respectively.
Try Out Tile “Paneling”
Last but not least, 2020 bathroom tile trends don’t just mark changes in the type of tile homeowners are choosing, but also how and where they’re installing it. What’s popular in terms of the nitty-gritty of installation is always changing, from the size or color of groutlines (right now, thicker is better), to height or width of tile backsplashes (full height, narrow width), or how many types of tile to use in your space (as few as possible, especially on the floor!). Most notable this year, though, is that many homeowners are swapping out traditional wainscot paneling for 1/3, 2/3, or 1/2 height tile walls, for a unique new twist that still gives a subtle nod to cottage and farmhouse bathroom styles.
If you’ve been craving a little more color in your white bathroom, these 2020 bathroom tile trends should feel like a playground. Whether you want warm, muted stone or a plethora of bright colors and intricate designs, 2020 is the perfect time to experiment – the only real rule is: no more white subway tile!