Expert tips and trends to breathe new life into your home’s interior design.
By Maria Allen
Photography by Jack Foley
Few materials have the power to transform the look of a room the way that tile does, especially in a kitchen or bathroom. In addition to being a durable surface—resistant to scratches, stains and water damage—tile comes in an astounding array of shapes, colors and patterns that can be incorporated in different ways to add beauty and personality to your home. From ceramic and glass tiles to cement and natural stone, the abundance of choices available can seem overwhelming if you’re visiting a showroom for the first time. We recently sat down with the owners of Classic Tile & Stone in Hingham,Julie Ryan and Kristin Henaghan, to learn how they guide homeowners and interior decorators through the process of choosing the perfect tile. Here are a few of their top tips and favorite trends to inspire your next project.
Large-format tiles are becoming increasingly popular. Each tile covers more space, so there are fewer grout lines to clean. Large tiles also make small rooms appear more open and spacious.
For added charm and character, consider using cement tiles with playful patterns. There are lots of designs to choose from. Cement tiles have a beautiful matte finish and feel soft underfoot. Once sealed properly, they are very low-maintenance..
Square and rectangular tiles are extremely functional (you can’t go wrong with a subway or herringbone pattern), but there are other tile shapes to consider if you want to make a big impact. Hexagon tiles are particularly hot right now. Waterjet tiles are available in many intricate shapes and feature clean edges and a polished look.
Tiny wrinkles, waves and bubbles inside handmade glass tiles make them shimmer and shine. Lunada Bay agate glass tiles, an exclusive line carried at Classic Tile & Stone, have beautiful banding through the stone that gives them the look of flowing water. Similarly, tiles made from recycled windshield glass add sparkle and are environmentally friendly.
Grout has come a long way in recent years. It’s stain resistant and available in many colors. Choosing the right grout for your project can make or break a tile installation. Keeping your grout color subtle can create a cohesive look, while a high-contrast color will make your tiles pop.
Not all tiles lay perfectly flat. Smooth pebble tiles can help transform a shower or tub surround into a relaxing indoor sanctuary. They also promise to give your feet a little massage as you walk over them.
The secret to success when using a natural stone surface like marble and limestone is to ensure the tiles are installed by a professional. To avoid risk of staining, be sure these tiles are sealed properly before grouting.
No longer a purely functional product, the look of the tile you choose can play a prominent role in the overall design of a space. Don’t be afraid to think beyond the floor and kitchen backsplash either. Since tiles are super easy to care for, they make a durable alternative to wallpaper and can add personality to fireplace surrounds and other areas of the home.
For more tile inspiration, visit Classic Tile & Stone, 9 Whiting St., Hingham, 781-741-5230, classictile-stone.com.