Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tile as wallpaper

Tile somewhere other than in the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom--this is a trend I see repeatedly at tile shows, in catalogues and in showrooms.

The idea of tiling non-traditional rooms is interesting because I don’t see it much in North America, and in my work, I go into a lot of well-designed homes. So, is tiling the bedroom, living room, etc, really wildly popular elsewhere? I don't know. Then again, I don’t know why not, because it is hard to imagine anything more elegant than a wall-sized mural of the most gorgeous tile you’ve ever seen. Think of New Ravenna Mosaics and it's hard to conceive of a place you wouldn't want it.

Many Italian glass tile companies show exotic, erotic or exquisite tile murals. (But sheesh--have you seen the ads? You'd think they were marketing to strip club owners.) Those tile patterns are stunning, but personally, I wonder if I’d want to change that out after a while.

The idea of tile wallpaper—a luxurious, repeating pattern—seems more manageable. Several glass mosaics companies have classic tile patterns I could imagine in a dining room wall above the chair rail, or something romantic--but not clich├ęd-- for the wall behind the headboard in the bedroom. 

There's Bisazza and Sicis, with their stunning murals, of course. Previously, I've written about the classic Mosaico Italiano stone mosaics. Also, Hakatai and the Canadian company Interstyle, both of which have beautiful glass tile. Oceanside has very unique and lovely glass tile and mosaic lines.

Trend USA is a glass mosaic company with an interesting line called Wallpaper. It was hard to narrow down the selection because there are dozens of designs, but the black and white patterns are very striking. When I saw these photos, I really started thinking about mosaics that really were never meant for a kitchen backsplash.

This organic vine pattern seen above and at right is called "Glorious 3" and the zebra design below is appropriately called "Wild 3". Pretty groovy, I'd say.

Images courtesy of Trend USA.


  1. This is pretty cool. I think it's beautiful!

  2. Thank you for including Trend USA in this interesting conversation about tile wallpaper. All of the Trend designs originate in Italy where there is a centuries old tradition of using tile creatively.
    ~JoAnn (for Trend USA)

  3. Great post!
    I love tile as wallpaper. Probably because I hate wallpaper and love tile! :)
    Have you seen Ecodomo Recycled Leather tile? I recently designed a home library and used it as the wallpaper. It turned out great.

  4. Thanks for the comments and positive feedback!
    Steph, I hate wallpaper too--especially after I renovated a 1953 house that had it in EVERY room, including ceilings and closets.
    Yes, I'm familiar with EcoDomo and I've even written about the company twice, maybe three times. (I'll check my files.) I'm sure the library looked great in leather tiles--that's such an elegant look! If you have a photo, I'd love to see it.

  5. Yikes! Wallpaper in ceilings & closets!?! Scary!
    Here's the saddest story of my 2009.
    My Mac died and I lost A LOT of my job photos! :(
    I know, I know, back up.
    Anyway, I don't have any photos of that job with the EcoDomo tile. It looked great though!
    I thought I'd read all of your older posts, but I don't remember reading about EcoDomo here. I'll have to go back, I must have missed some! :)

  6. Oh, no, not the dreaded hard drive crash of aught-nine! I had one of those too, so I feel your pain. That's such a shame about your photos!

    As for the EcoDomo mentions, they would have been in print as I've only started the blog in the past year. I know that I wrote a trend report about EcoDomo when they first showed at Coverings or Surfaces about 4 or 5 years ago. Then last year I wrote a piece about other-than-ceramic tiles for TileDealer.

    Got to run now, it's time to back up my computer!

  7. Thank you for the mention. We have some very unique lines coming in 2011. I'll be sure to keep you posted. Matteo (Mosaico Italiano)