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Latest tile trends direct from Italy

Visiting the CERSAIE trade fair in Bologna provides a glimpse of 2019's hottest tiles.

One trade fair I never want to miss is the  annual International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings (CERSAIE) in Bologna, Italy.

This massive event draws more than 100,000 visitors from around the globe and features 160,000 square metres of exhibition space – so basically it’s huge! Armed with cameras and a good pair of shoes, I spent an entire week there in late September, seeking out the latest trends that I thought would translate to the market here in Australia.

Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble

I took almost 3000 photos (I know! I get a bit damn excited) as I walked through aisle after aisle, stand after stand.

What’s hot for 2019?

Despite the popularity of extra large tiles, I certainly noticed that smaller sizes are back on the market. Prepare yourselves for a strong return to the smaller format, with a wide range of styles and finishes, colour, pattern and textures. Playing with the rectangular shape, some are very narrow, and often laid vertically. Being a designer who commonly lays tiles horizontally to accentuate width, these smaller tiles excited me as a vertical treatment.

Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble
Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble

Some new patterns and colours are reminiscent of the ceramics, wallpaper and décor items we loved in the ’70s and ’80s. These are playful and just right for a kitchen splashback or statement bathroom, adding warmth through colour and mostly geometric-inspired patterns.

Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble
bold and the beautiful

Balancing the continuous presence of bold blues, greens and reds,  the presence of soft pastel tones was noticeable, with shades of dusted terracotta through to more blushy tones.

After duplicating so faithfully marbles and natural stones, there’s a new generation of porcelain tiles that pushes these natural looks to the extreme! Due to their complexity of vein and depth of colours, they work best in XL size.

Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble
Cherie-Barber_Renovating-For-Profit_Tile-Trends_CERSAIE-James-Treble

3D effects – on both small and large format tiles – as well as more subtle, stone-like textures, were also strong on the trends list this year,  Providing another dimension to any space, these offer many options to play further with lighting, allowing it to bounce off the textured surfaces.

luxurious marble

Marble still reigns supreme, with the high-quality brands offering looks which are barely distinguishable from the real thing. Even when the tiles seem similar (eg, Carrara and Calacutta) what ultimately distinguishes one brand from the other is the durability of material and the quality of surface image. So I want to end this brief report with my usual advice: choose quality first and foremost.

Tiles and flooring add great value to your home and are worth every cent you spend on them!

I’ll leave with some more highlights from CERSAIE 2018

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