What makes a tile design modern?
Most modern tile designs are edgy and make use of vibrant colors and new materials, unlike traditional designs. Whereas traditional designs seek to soothe the sense, modern design goes for high drama and flair and continues to evolve stylistically.
Even now modern design is experimenting with warmer tones, whereas it concentrated on cooler ones in the past. These designs typically provoke an exciting, visual, effect with modern tile layouts or interesting new uses of old materials too.
Modern design can be ornate or simple, but tend towards clean, smooth, lines with seamless marrying of edges. They make use of modern technologies, like waterjets, to create designs that are seamless in appearance too. In this manner, modern tools can allow a stonemason the ability to create intricate geometric shapes and ornate curves for modern mosaic tile patterns, without the heavy grout lines of the past.
Here are seven different modern tile designs that appeal to me as prime examples of the ever-evolving modern aesthetic.
#1 Old Materials Made New Again
There are plenty of "outdoor" materials like slate and limestone that are repurposed with modern design in ways that give them a cool, new, edge. Take, for instance, this slate design.
Most people think of slate to be used around a fireplace hearth, but there is nothing that says it has to be used only in heat-resistant areas. It, in fact, can make a cool statement in a modern Zen-like bathroom. The same is true of limestone, mostly used around outdoor pools, but now used in a neutral gray color in this design. The monochromatic color palette also helps to produce a very "seamless" appearance.
#2 Glass and Strip Mosaics
Strips made of glass can add additional reflection and a dance of light in your kitchen or bathroom. Here is one modern take on glass, in thin strips, to create a kitchen with a dappled light effect.
However, the strips do not have to be made of glass, they can be made from ceramics or stone and still produce a modern design such as here
Strips created with contrasting colors instantly add drama and height to a room, as in this design.
#3 Geometric Designs
Geometric designs are classic, but updated via modern waterjet technology can also be cut in thin strips. This can produce designs like this one where the geometric produced is a series of interesting, but abstract, geometric shapes.
If you prefer a more classic tiled look to your geometrics, they can still look good in a modern design, such as the backsplash in this kitchen.
Geometric designs of squares are showcased in an entire collection called "studio quad" that lends itself well to the modern motif. Here is the studio quad used in a modern bathroom design.
#4 Warmer Toned Modern Mosaics
Mid-century modern designs used to be almost sterile with a only a small dash of accent color. It relied heavily on cool colors or monochromatic schemes. In a new adaptation of the modern aesthetic, warmth has been brought back to the palette with an emphasis on "earthy" tones. You still have the same cool seamless look, but the space is decidedly more inviting. This design almost seems to bring the outdoors back inside, with its use of verdant greens and browns.
However, remember that today's modern tastes aren't necessarily muted and bold design is still basically considered modern, as in this large circle mural in warm tones.
#5 Modern Art Themes
Just like traditional design relies on themes that are classic and timeless, modern design seeks to push the boundaries by invoking fresh, new, perspectives in art. That can mean adding a tiled mosaic that brings the Art Deco period into your kitchen,
or takes a cue from Asian-inspired prints popular today.
As usual, bold themes also feel right at home in a modern decor, like this flower mosaic.
#6 Seamless Abstracts and Curves
Going back to the waterjet technologies used to create intricate geometrics, they really come into their own with curved abstract mosaics. Here, the curved dimas pattern even adds shadows along the backsplash. That's how insanely accurate the waterjet can make your design.
Waterjet medallions are basically seamless works of art that can look beautiful in any modern setting.
Even without the use of the waterjet, though, mosaics can still create some intensely modern curves using old-fashioned tiling techniques as in this aqualine wave mosaic.
#7 Dimensional Designs
Smooth surfaces have been the defining characteristic of modern design in the past. However, as tastes evolve, there is a hunger for more textural dimensioning of modern designs. The waterjet that is able to produce almost seamless designs also can create intricate textured geometrics that add extra dimensions to the tiled space. One such tile is actually called dimensione tile.
However, you can get a raised textured effect using any technology and even older materials simply by creating original layouts that add a sculptural modern relief to your design, such as in this ledger stone wall close-up.
Here is what such a tiling project would look like from a distance to get the overall dimensional and shadowy effect. Pretty sharp, no?
Modern Tile Designs Are No Longer Antiseptic
If you've shied away from modern designs in the past because they seemed cold or alien, the good news is that modern design today is warmer and more visually interesting than in the past. Modern tiles not only make use of interesting layouts and new materials, but also adds a growing appreciation for modern artistic themes and their ability to evolve and change.
While smooth surfaces still prevail, they also tend to take on a more dimensional feel too, adding depth even without jagged or soft edges. The result is a flowing unity of multiple colors (even earthy tones!) that welcome a visitor into a space, rather than makes them uncomfortable to sit within it.
I love modern spaces as they tend to delight and excite the senses and inspire the people who live within such a creative and bright environment.
Which is your favorite modern tile design and where would you put it in your home or business? Please comment at the bottom of the article and don't forget to share this article with your friends and followers.