Jumping headfirst into the latest bathroom tile trend runs the risk of falling out of vogue, leaving the bathroom looking dated.
Since tile lasts 20 to 30 years — longer than bathtub surrounds or vinyl flooring — homeowners don't need to update as often, said Carlos Martinez, first officer of C-Bek Tile & Stone Design in North Hollywood, Calif. So homeowners should consider a trend's staying power when planning a bathroom remodeling.
Tile color trends: Despite the number of flashy colors available, the standards still reign supreme. Minimizing tile colors doesn't minimize options, said Kevin McDaniel, director of product design and development for the Tile Shop in Minneapolis.
"Gray, white and 'greige' colors continue to grow in popularity," he said. "Low-contrast palettes with minimum coloration are still the predominant trend."
Porcelain tiles gain popularity: Porcelain tile catches the eye with its good looks and relatively low cost. Larry Bushner, owner of Masterpiece Tile & Grout in Arlington, Texas, has noticed more homeowners requesting porcelain tile.
"This can look like stone without the additional costs of installation, purchase price and maintenance," he said, adding that porcelain tile costs slightly more than ceramic tile.
Besides the stone look, manufacturers are creating contemporary and classic product lines in porcelain, which doesn't stain like other tile types, Martinez said.
The Tile Shop has seen higher demand for porcelain, and the company will release a line of Travertine Ivory porcelain tile early next year, according to McDaniel. However, with stone's classic appeal and certain glazing techniques only possible with ceramic tile, those two won't disappear, he said.
Glass tile has proved its staying power, becoming a timeless classic in its own right, according to McDaniel. Now, designs that combine glass with other materials are gaining momentum, he says.
"Newer water-jet technology allows for unique shapes, sizing and combination of materials that were unthinkable a few years ago," he said.
Faux wood tile on shower walls has recently grown into a popular bathroom tile trend, according to McDaniel.
"The thought of having wood inside of a wet area is a completely novel idea, and homeowners and designers are widely embracing it," he said.
One trend McDaniel debunked is the death of multi-tile patterns. Patterns offer a classic, traditional look, he said, even if they don't fit some homeowners' modern tastes.
"As some homeowners embrace a more contemporary look, designs have become cleaner, with more emphasis placed on the use of a single material throughout one or more spaces," he said. "Accents, if used, tend to be limited to one dramatic focal point.
James Figy is a reporter at Angie's List.