Coverings 2011 Recap

I just got back from the Coverings tradeshow in Las Vegas where more than 1,000 exhibitors displayed the newest and best in tile and stone, and experts spoke at roughly 70 conference sessions (I was lucky enough to participate on a panel discussing how tile as a good alternative for guestroom floors, walls, and headboards).

There was so much to see, but here's a short recap of the trends and interesting things I found on the show floor.

–Bold colors are in. Take Crossville's Color By Numbers with Benjamin Moore series, which offers multiple colors that coordinate with Benjamin Moore's Aurora paint selections (Crossvile is part of the Tile Council of North America). And Design Postive by Epoca (part of the Ceramic Tiles of Italy pavilion) offers a wide range of colors, with green being their third most popular sold color.

–Tiles that look like wood planks have been around for years, but new technology and printing techniques are making them look more real than ever. Same goes for tile that looks like other stones like marble and travertine, allowing designers to create a sense of place. (Belgiore tiles from Florim.)

–Gray is the new neutral. Above are two examples from Tile of Spain.

— Glass tiles are no longer just for walls. For instance, Interstyle has tiles that can be used on benches, among other surfaces.

–Thin tile is in. Many exhibitors were showing thin tiles that can even be applied over existing tiles.

–Mosaics that look like artwork. For instance, SICIS premiered PixALL, a mosaic collection that composes into artwork much like the pixilation of a computer image.

–Sustainable technology for tiles continues to impress—from tiles that improve the air (Oxygena from Gamarelli) to Ecom4 Tiles from Ceracasa that reduce energy use by 16 percent, actually optimizing the temperature of a room by two degrees.

–And a few other thoughts from the Tile of Spain press conference:

Other neutral hues are in, like robust gradients of cream.

Black, white, and charcoal hues are being infused with blue tones.

Discreet luxury is key.

New shapes are the rage, from triangles to 3D effects.

With the economy, classic styles are being reinterpreted—handstitched embroidery and vintage prints are inspiring various tile lines. 

— Stacy Shoemaker Rauen, Hospitality Design