From Zellige to Kitkat: 7 Trendy Tile Types Every Homeowner Should Know

  • Jul 18, 2022

There are times you may have came across a tile you like, but didn't know the actual name for it. Not only does this make it difficult for you to find other inspiration of the same type of tile, you may also have trouble conveying exactly what you want to your interior designer or contractor. This handy guide on the latest tile types out there should help you out.

1. Zellige

Tiles seen on backsplash.

Design: Collate

Bursting into our social feeds and magazine spreads since last year, zellige (pronounced zil-eehj) tiles offer a handcrafted, unpolished look that adds a quaint, cottage charm to your interiors.

Tiles seen on walls.

Design: Monocot

True zellige tiles are handmade from Morocco and are laborious to make as well as difficult to maintain because of all their imperfections and crevices, so most folks here get easily accessible, cheaper knockoffs that offer the same appeal without the hefty price tag and maintenance.

2. Kitkat

Tiles seen in white on walls.

Design: Blend by ImC

If there’s one top trending tile to pick for this year, it’s kitkat. These are so called because of their resemblance to the chocolate confectionery. Thin, long and stick-like, individual kitkat tiles are usually group together and attached to a mesh sheet for ease of installation.

Tiles seen in white on walls.

Design: Insight.Out

Tiles in two tones on column.

Design: Ascend design

Most homeowners and designers use them on walls, backsplashes and vertical surfaces like the sides of an island. They are great with all sort of styles, ranging from the more contemporary to even classic themes, and work both as a standalone and as complement to another dominant tile.

Tiles seen on kitchen island.

Design: The Local Inn.terior

Sure, they are not the easiest to clean with all that grout lines, but hey, if they look this good, they are worth all that sacrifice, eh?

3. Picket

Design: Ethereall

For folks looking for something a bit different, consider the picket. Named after picket fences, this unassuming tile is an offshoot of the once-popular hexagon tile, and comes in a long-ish shape rather than their boxier counterpart, the hexagon.

Tiles shown on flooring.

Image: Hafary

Lay them vertical to visually extend the height of your space or go horizontal to lengthen the depth of your room. We think it offers up something quite timeless, so if you want a tile that stands the test of time in your forever home, this is it.

Tiles in four different hues on wall.

Design: Facelift Design

4. Terracotta

Tiles seen on flooring.

Design: Monocot

Characterised by their reddish-burnt orange hues, terracotta tiles add cosiness and warmth to any interior it’s placed in and they are popular because of their natural colouring from clay.

Tiles seen on kitchen backsplash.

Design: DistinctIdentity

Tiles seen on kitchen flooring.

Design: Shan Wong Interior Design

The real deal requires quite a bit of maintenance as it’s made from a porous material so they are not suitable for wet areas like your bathroom.

You can consider glazed terracotta tiles that will hold up to stains better, but glazed ones will hide a bit of their natural, textured finish. For those that prefer a low-maintenance tile, go with terracotta lookalikes tiles, where some even come with anti-slip properties suitable for use in bathrooms.

Tiles seen on backsplash.

Design: E+e Design & Build

5. Mermaid

Tiles seen on wall.

Design: Threehaus Works

Looking just like rolling waves or the scales on a fish’s back, these tiles are called by a wide variety of names, including mermaid, fish scale and scallop. They made a big splash in 2018 and were gone for a while, but they look set to make a comeback this year and next largely because of the latest curve trend and their versatility.

Tiles seen as backsplash.

Design: In-Expat

While mermaid tiles have their origins in the Moroccan and Mediterranean styles—which is why they are commonly used in shades of blue and green—they definitely have their place in different looks.

Glossy and white mermaid tiles would do well in a Scandinavian themed home, while black/gold mermaid tiles would fit right into an Art Deco home that takes its inspiration from The Great Gatsby.

Tiles seen on wall behind the vanity.

Design: E+e Design & Build

6. Ice Cream

Tiles seen on the walls of the shower.

Design: Ecasa Studio

The successor of mermaid tiles, ice-cream tiles are also nicknamed popsicles. These ones are fun and youthful, but definitely veer towards trendy rather than timeless. Still, if you are hoping to inject a bit of personality to your space, look no further than to these oblong shaped babies.

Tiles seen on wall.

Image: Hup Kiong

To add more whimsy, go with a contrasting colour grout. Most inspiration we’ve seen are laid with the rounded ends up, but they can work just as beautifully when aligned in the opposite direction.

Design: Ethereall

7. Subway

Tiles seen in two tones on bathroom walls.

Design: Ethereall

You’ve seen them everywhere; covering surfaces in bathrooms and kitchens with great fervour and laid in a variety of patterns from the classic running bond to the more quirky herringbone.

According to Hafary, dimensions for the classic subway tile is 7.5cm x 15cm with a flat surface, but modern renditions can go shorter or longer and can also come with beveled edges so it pops up from the surface.

Tiles seen on backsplash.

Design: The Interior Lab

Subway tiles are like the black dress of the fashion world—incredibly versatile, timeless and can be employed in every circumstance. Created for the New York subway in 1904, they were as fashionable then as they are now and they look set to stand the test of a very long time. Use them for a timeless look or if you can’t quite make up your mind on what tile to choose.

Tiles seen on backsplash.

Design: Starry Homestead

Want more tile talk? See what you should know before shopping for tiles

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