The following are questions I’ve received from readers:
“I’m in the middle of a kitchen renovation and I’m considering patterned tile for either the backsplash or the floor. I’m hesitant though because I wonder if patterned tile is too trendy?”
“I fell in love with this pattern tile for my bathroom renovation, but I’m worried it’s just a trend. Do you think I should go for it? Or should I stick to something less busy?”
“I’ve been loving all the patterned tile I’ve been seeing via blogs, magazines and Pinterest. I’m redoing my master bathroom in a couple months, and I’m considering a patterned tile floor. But I’m worried that it’s a trend that will make my bathroom look dated in 5 to 10 years. What are your thoughts?”
I could copy and paste tons of similar questions that have been submitted to the design dilemma series from readers over the past year or so. Second guessing your design decisions is a totally normal thing to do, especially when you’re getting ready to start a renovation. This is one reason I started the series. We all suffer from design indecision from time to time. I think any time you’re considering major, costly changes in your home, like backsplashes or flooring changes, you want to make sure the choices you’re making are ones you’ll be happy with for a long while. No one wants to pay for a bathroom or kitchen renovation and be ready to change it all again in five or ten years time.
So let’s unpack this hot design topic of patterned floors together.
Patterned Tile: Trendy or Timeless?
Having just returned from Italy, where gorgeous tile floors seem to be the norm rather than the exception, I’d have to say I think both patterned tile and patterned floors in general are absolutely……….timeless.
The colors and patterns of the floors I saw were bold and beautiful! And not one time did they look dated. I observed patterned tile floors everywhere from contemporary hotels, restaurants and boutiques to centuries old estates and churches.
And even in the ancient ruins of Pompei we saw patterned mosaic floors. It just goes to show, creating beauty in your home, is not a modern idea. People have been doing it since the beginning of civilization. And patterned floors are not novel.
So timeless most definitely gets my vote, although if the question is, “Is patterned tile on trend?”, then my answer is sure, absolutely! We’ve seen it’s popularity in design rise in recent years. With the growing influx of images we see these days it doesn’t take long for something to really take off, and it does seem like trends are easier to spot and often shorter lived. For the most part, whenever the big box stores start to carry something you can be sure it’s become “trendy”. Remember how strong and fast the chevron trend hit the scene?
Is trendy bad?
Personally I rarely care if something is trendy or not. The only design question I ask myself when considering whether or not to do something in my home is “Do I really love this?”. Rarely is anything in design or fashion “new”. Things are recycled and re-imagined. So no, I don’t think trendy is bad. Though when it comes to the hard finishes in a home, the things that can’t be easily changed, those things that involve great expense to redo, I think longevity should be carefully considered. I think the real question, besides the obvious, “Do you really love this tile?”, is “How can you make this patterned tile trend look timeless in your home?”.
Things to Consider
1. Compliment the Architecture/Style of Your Home
I think it’s important when selecting a patterned tile for either a backsplash or a floor to consider the style and architecture of your home. If you live in a 50’s – 60’s modernist-style ranch home, geometric patterns will probably work really well. However, in say, a brick colonial, a geo-tile will probably look out of place.
Here in this old estate we toured in Ravello, Italy, the intricate patterned floors complimented the ornate moulding really nicely.
2. Quality Is Enduring
I’m certainly not a materials snob. I’ve found great things in big box stores. Good, even great materials aren’t always expensive. However, quality tile is well worth the extra expense when you’re renovating. And in the long run when it comes to pattern tile with a timeless look chances are the better the quality of the craftsmanship the more enduring the look.
3. Keep the Color Palette Tight
As much as I love, love, love color, I tend to go with neutrals when it comes to things like flooring and backsplashes. I think neutrals offer more design options even where pattern is concerned. Colorful, patterned tile is absolutely enticing, but it’s much more of a commitment. So you have to really decide if the colors you’re committing to will be ones you’ll love for a long time. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with black and white. But if you really want to do something colorful, I think it’s a good idea to keep the color palette of the patterned tile tight – as in just two colors. And allow for at least one of the two colors to be white or off-white.
This bathroom in a newly renovated bed and breakfast where we stayed in Amalfi is a great example. The navy blue and white makes a bold statement, but I think ten to twenty years from now this will look just as fresh. Simplicity, even when pattern is involved, lends itself to a timeless look.
Black, White & Timeless All Over
I just finished working on a design project in my own home as part of a fun challenge that I can’t wait to tell you all about where I used this beautiful charcoal and white twenties-inspired tile. The pattern flows nicely with the style and moulding in our home, and I know even though the pattern is bold since the colors are neutrals it will stand the test of time. I played with color in this space via paint and some whimsical art, both of which are easy, inexpensive changes I can make down the road if I tire of them. The beauty of black and white is that it always feels classic and never goes out of style.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Would you bring in patterned tile in your home? What say you? Trendy or timeless? Is this resurgence of patterned tile going to be what dates this time period in design? Will our kids grow up to tear all this patterned tile out? Or will the tile remain and be the thing they design around?
Design Dilemma Submissions
Do you have a general design dilemma question you’ve been pondering? Want some help sorting through your thoughts? Is there something you’re struggling with design-wise or having trouble making a decision on in your space? Send your submission to Carmel@ourfifthhouse.com with “design dilemma” in the subject line. I’d love to help you brainstorm ideas!