Colors, textures and sizes have come a long way in tile, and materials become more diverse every year. Check out the latest trends with these stylish projects, and find inspiration to create your own work of art.
Make your bath glow with a shimmering wall of iridescent glass tile.
For years it’s been popular in high-end design, but now glass tile is becoming affordable for everyone. It’s durable enough for walls, floors, counters, and backsplashes. As impervious to moisture as ceramic tile, glass is a healthy option for kitchens and baths.
Bold, modern décor keeps the look simple and clean. Shown here: vanity (KraftMaid, Thermofoil, Shelburne White, Special Order); laminate countertop (Sea Grass, Special Order); vessel sink (Mansfield, Vitreous China White, Special Order); pendants (White Fishline Art Glass, Special Order); mirror (50- x 14-inch, #26204).
A contemporary faucet (Giagni, Polished Chrome, #172424) enhances the sleek glass tile.
Make It Yours
1. Using a notched trowel, cover the desired area with mortar suited specifically for glass and mosaic tiles.
2. Set the tiles into the mortar, pressing gently but firmly to secure. Wipe away excess mortar; use a utility knife to remove excess mortar from thin grout lines. Allow mortar to dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Using a grout float, apply unsanded grout diagonally across the tiles to prevent scratching the glass or catching on delicate corners. Wipe away excess grout with a damp sponge. Glass tiles may require several steps of wiping to remove excess grout completely.
4. Apply penetrating grout sealer to grout lines using a small paintbrush.
Good to Know: Some glass tiles require unique installation methods. For very thin glass such as the tile shown here, a handheld glass cutter works better than a wet saw for delicate, accurate cuts.
Add a durable focal point to a high-traffic area with a ceramic tile inlay.
Inspired by an antique rug design, the inlaid tile shown here gives a decorative feel reminiscent of Spanish and Italian designs. A variety of patterns can be created with economical ceramic tiles. Many sizes, shapes, and colors are available, so the possibilities are endless.
The decorative tile inlay provides the look of a rug but with tile's easy cleanup.
Make It Yours
1. Take accurate measurements of your space, and sketch your design on graph paper. This allows you to determine exactly what you will need to purchase and how it will look. Feel free to use several sizes, shapes, and colors in your design.
2. Install tile backer-board per the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Apply mortar using a notched trowel, and set the tiles following your sketched design. Allow to dry.
4. Apply grout with a rubber grout float. Wipe away excess with a damp sponge. Allow to dry.
5. Apply a tile sealer/enhancer using the sealer applicator.
Dress up a plain fireplace with a mix of slate and porcelain.
Mosaics have been used for centuries to add texture and interest to surfaces. Here, this ancient art gets a new twist by mixing large porcelain tile with subway slate in a fresh pattern. Originally covered with plain brick, this fireplace is now a fabulous focal point.
Make It Yours
1. Apply a thinset mortar with polymer over the brick with a flat trowel, forcing the mortar into all the brick grout joints to create a smooth, flat surface without any seams. Allow the first coat to dry for at least 24 hours.
2. Apply a second coat of the mortar with a notched trowel. Set the tiles into the mortar. We chose neutral-colored large tiles and combined them with earthy multicolored subway slate tiles. Allow mortar to dry.
3. Apply grout with a rubber grout float, and wipe away excess with a damp sponge. Allow to dry.
4. Apply a tile sealer/enhancer to the slate and grout with a sealer applicator.