The ever so popular flooring and wall panel material for bathroom, Tile, has been upgrading itself with more styles, textures, patterns and colours than ever before, unleashing new design creativity in the washroom space, writes Mrinmoy Dey
Great flooring is a key to a well-designed and spotless bathroom. Choosing bathroom flooring or wall panel is far different from choosing flooring or wall panel in other parts of the house. Choosing a material that can cope with humidity, water spills and temperature changes is the obvious part. Unlike western counterparts, Indian bathrooms usually have wet floors and lack proper segregation of different areas like the commode, bath area, basin etc.
Tiles present the opportunity to truly transform spaces. Choosing the right bathroom tiles can refresh the look of the washroom, allowing the designer to create a calming and beautiful space that represents the user’s personal style. While most users deem features like slip resistance, finish, strength and cost to be essential, there is definitely an increased demand for the germ-free and anti-viral range given the current situation.
As the preference of the user changes over time and with technological advancements, we are seeing a plethora of new designs, textures and finishes being applied to ceramic tiles. Interior spaces like washrooms are increasingly witnessing more calming and natural colours. There is increased usage of large-sized tiles and antique patterns which have lent a new whole new dimension to the humble bathroom’s walls and floors.
Large sized tiles
One thing that is a clear trend in the last few years is the size of tiles being used. They are much bigger than the earlier popular 12”x18” and 24”x12” tiles. Availability of good tile adhesives and experienced masons, have made it feasible to use large format porcelain tiles on walls too. This change is also accompanied by a deviation from the typical glossy finish, Light-Dark-Highlighter combination of tiles in residential washrooms.
The interior designers are not hesitating to use matte finish large format tiles in washrooms while the conventional approach is also equally still very popular. “However, in high-end, we can see minimal clutter and clean line approach in the washroom. The point to keep in mind is that there are other important elements in washroom viz washbasin, faucets, shower, etc and tiles need to support their aesthetics as well. Easy to clean and maintain tiles will never be out of fashion,” opines Dinesh Vyas, Building Material Expert and Advisor, H&R Johnson India.
In large format, under its vertical Porselano, H&R Johnson offers a huge range of (2’x4’) size glazed vitrified tiles which have the glossy finish also for those who still love the traditional shining surfaces but want to go for large format tiles to reduce the number of grout lines (joints) in the tiled surface.
Talking about keeping up with the current trends in tiles, Abhishek Somany, Managing Director, Somany Ceramics, adds, “At Somany, we have created tile collections inspired by biophilic designs, Moroccan patterns, bold marble designs, geometric designs, classic wood designs, metallic designs, terrazzo and retro concrete patterns. We offer largest collection in various sizes like 30x60mm, 30x75mm, 45x90mm, 60x60mm, 60X120mm, 80x160mm, 120x180mm etc and different shades,” adds Somany.
Managing Director, Somany Ceramics
“To uplift the aesthetic appeal of spaces, we would recommend Mosaic and geometric patterns, which is trending these days in the market. We offer various punches, designs and surface applications related to these trends.”
Mosaic, patterned, and coloured tiles
The aesthetics of any space are very subjective and depend upon the overall theme. Mosaic and coloured tiles have definitely become extremely popular for wall tiles this year. Mosaic tiles are the perfect way to showcase one’s personal style on the walls, whether used as a highlighter for a specific wall or to create a unique look across the entire room.
“To uplift the aesthetic appeal of spaces, we would recommend Mosaic and geometric patterns, which is trending these days in the market. We offer various punches, designs and surface applications related to these trends,” opines Somany.
He further adds that the Moroccan Tiles by Somany are a true testament to how one can uplift the aesthetic appeal of their spaces. “If you like minimal design and can’t add tiles to the whole area, you can add Moroccan Tiles to your special corner or one particular wall. If you are looking for renovating your bathroom or kitchen area, you should go for Moroccan tile design and make your area look fresh and exotic.” These Moroccan Tiles come with VC Shield and are built to last all types of abrasion, keeping them fresh and new forever.
Sumit Thapar, Category Head, Ceramics, Orient Bell, informs, “In both the popular sizes of 12×18 and 12×24 wall tiles, we have options in small as well as large mosaics. Buyers even cut and lay the mosaics in a range of permutations and combinations as per their likings. We also offer patterned and coloured tiles in different materials like ceramic and vitrified but also in a wide range of designs like floral, herringbone, geometric, basket weave and chevron amongst others. You can choose vibrant shades like yellow, aqua blue, red and subtle colours like beige and greys that are perfect for creating attractive interior spaces.”
Category Head, Ceramics, Orient Bell
“I honestly feel that the interiors of a space should be a reflection of individual tastes and it is important to have a general colour palette while also keeping in mind the type of room to ensure uniformity.”
Thapar believes that this offers greater flexibility and wider creative options as these tiles can be pieced together to produce intricate designs in a variety of colours and patterns. “I honestly feel that the interiors of a space should be a reflection of individual tastes and it is important to have a general colour palette while also keeping in mind the type of room to ensure uniformity.”
Talking about finishes, he adds that buyers can choose between matte and glossy tiles. “Glossy tiles reflect light around your bathroom exceptionally well, creating a bright and spacious effect. They are an excellent choice for bathroom tiles because they are low-maintenance and stain-resistant. On the other hand, matte finish tiles are the way to go if you want understated beauty and unspoken sophistication. In addition, they’re perfect to give your bathroom an earthy touch.”
However, Vyas feels that coloured and glazed tiles are not as sought after. “Contrary to the general understanding by many, as per the producers’ data, conventional coloured glaze tiles are no longer dominating the scene. Yes, they are used in niches or to accentuate some part of the tiled surfaces.
Usage of ceramic tiles as wall panels in areas like the living room and bedroom is not very popular although some people do use tiles in the wall adjacent to the dining table,” opines Vyas further adding that in terms of designs, there is a greater preference for marbles, geometric, floral designs amongst buyers with rustic designs being preferred for floors.
Biophilia – Bringing nature inside
Wood and natural stones have been used as surface coverings for centuries as perhaps these were found to be the best available resources with aesthetic value. Even in modern times, while marble has been associated with opulence, wood is perceived to create cosiness and warmth. A recent trend that has made its way to the tiling industry is natural-looking tiles that imitate the look of marble, granite, and wood. These tiles have a fair advantage over real marbles, granites, or wooden planks in terms of ease of installation, prices, and maintenance.
Today, with advanced technology and decoration methods, it has become possible to create exact replicas in ceramic tiles not only in terms of colours, but also the texture and natural randomness in the design pattern. These new generation tiles do not look like a repetition of the same tile. “H&R Johnson has been a pioneer on adopting new technologies and launching latest international trends in tiles. The range is vast. Apart from conventional matte and textured wood, it has even polished wood themes for those who love to see the ‘chamak’ in the wood before using it,” shares Vyas.
Somany offers a huge range of decorative faux wood tiles that are remarkably durable and designed to cater to a wide range of tastes. Talking about the reason behind the surge in its popularity, Somany adds, “Somany has always been a trendsetter in this area and due to the technological advancement, infrastructure, and research work, these tiles are the closest replica of the natural wooden finish available in the market. Apart from being eco-friendly, they offer a host of benefits such as ease of installation, high durability, and incredible resistance against natural wear and tear, and low vulnerability against chemicals, which makes them perfect for modern interior designs.”
Building Material Expert and Advisor, H&R Johnson India
“Contrary to the general understanding by many, as per the producers’ data, conventional coloured glaze tiles are no longer dominating the scene. Yes, they are used in niches or to accentuate some part of the tiled surfaces.”
Talking about the nature-inspired tiles from the house of Orient Bells, Thapar adds, “The Granalt series tiles bring together the best of marble and granite in a variety of colour options. The Zenith range is inspired by the surface colour and the textures of planets to bring freshness and choice to interiors. Our Inspire series draws design inspiration from the best marbles of nature – from the Statuario marble of Italy to the Emperador stone of Turkey to even the sandstones of Australia – in an easier to maintain format.”
He further adds that the Wooden tile range replicates the natural wooden look with added benefits of functionality and feasibility, making it more durable and long-lasting than actual wood. “Our high depth Elevation range for walls is inspired by natural stones, woods, and rocks. The grooves in these tiles are very deep which replicate the look and feel of a wall actually made with these materials,” asserts Thapar.
Some other notable trends in the tiles segment in the last few years include mixed colour palette, high gloss, and retro concrete inspirations. Tiles are available in book match patterns, with drawings, and even custom photographs can be imprinted. These can be good options for walls – as a highlighter. High gloss is a trend being embraced by those who crave glamour. Additionally, there are playful patterns that evoke retro concrete tiles and make personalization easier for designers.
Geometric tile shapes other than rectangles increase the interest factor of an installation. Trapezoid-, rhombus-, and diamond-shaped tiles allow for more interesting layouts than simple grids. Décor schemes can go even more creative by sprinkling a few same-shaped tiles of another colour into a layout. Random or carefully positioned, the possibilities are endless with these innovative configurations.