Words: Anne Schauffer | Images: Hadeda Tiles

Tiles are no longer simply that minimalist or neutral shell; they can be a way to breathe life into your home. Increasingly, there are bold and beautiful tiles available which form artworks in rooms, or which, if laid differently, add astonishing colour, designs and patterns. They become your stamp. “Tile trends for the year ahead will be taking their cue from the fashion catwalks – exciting bold graphics, more textures, faux naturals and the colour palettes that range from ultra-bright to dark and dramatic. Bold and retro are the keywords to tiles this year,” says Johnny Lamprecht from Bathroom Bizarre.

From fashion to fabulous

Hadeda is a Joburg company specialising in decorative encaustic cement tiles (also known as Moroccan, Victorian, Spanish, patchwork or hydraulic tiles) as well as hand-painted Mexican Talavera tiles. Owner Des Armstrong says there’s been a noticeable increase in clients who want something different and beautiful. “Some only want a little splashback, a row of handmade tiles in a bathroom, while others plan an entire wall or fountain. But they want a certain exclusivity.” She says black and white is a trend today – as is grey – but it’s been around a while and is likely to last long into the future. “It’s what you do with it that counts.”

Black, white and hexagonal

Hexagonal, or hex, tiles were hugely popular in the ’20s and ’40s on floors and in a variety of simple colours. Today, hex tiles are making a big comeback on walls and floors. Johnny says, “They’ve been gaining popularity for a while now, largely due to their organic honeycomb shape. The difference with modern hex tiles is that they’re available in a variety of colours, textures and materials. Since designers have started embracing this shape, so has the variety of sizes, colours and textures grown to accommodate tiles that would suit virtually any decor style.”

He suggests grouting of a similar colour for a more subdued effect or a contrasting colour to make the tile shape pop. “If your choice of hex tiles already has a design on it, this dictates how it’s laid. But in plain colours, they open up a whole world of creative layout options.”

Tiles with a twist

Jasmin Kraneveldt of Bathroom Bizarre says mosaic tiles are making a huge comeback, specifically monochromatic and geometric patterned versions. She also says that clients are now thinking out of the box and adding tiles to places where they previously wouldn’t dare. “That feature bedroom wall which is usually painted or wallpapered can be tiled – so can a headboard. The use of dark floral tiles, for example, can add a subtle, yet modern and romantic accent to the overall decor composition.”

Des adds that how you use patterned tiles is up to you, and the more fun you have the better! “Whether you mix bright colours or go for a black and white palette, let the tiles dominate or create a vivid focal point.”