Mixing glossy and matte tiles – how to pull off this new trend

Is there anything more striking than a beautiful kitchen or bathroom tile? We do not think so. The amount of options on the market – from different styles and patterns to different types of tiles – allows us to express ourselves in fun, original and colorful ways. In recent years, geometric patterns have been all the rage, but have you ever considered mixing glossy and matte tiles in your home?

Well, the latest tile trend encourages us to do just that, and for all the right reasons. This simple yet intriguing idea blends the two contrasting tile finishes to produce stunning results. Typically, when we mix and match tiles in a space, our instinct is to choose the same style, just in shades, shapes or a handful of patterned options, but the visual impact of matte and glossy tiles juxtaposed can create a dynamic and contemporary look. which cleverly plays with the lighting of your space.

“In 2023, the combination of matte and glossy tiles in the same color will definitely be in style,” says Diane Hyde, marketing manager and tile expert at Craven Dunnill & Co. “It creates a unique design with a discreet patterned effect where the gloss finish catches the light, creating a sense of space and contrasting the neighboring matte tiles.

The experimental look was a standout feature at the Cersaie tile show in Bologna last month, and we’re pretty sure plenty of designers will be embracing the look in the coming year.

Here we asked some for their tips on how to replicate the look so you can experiment with the style as well.

Lilith is an expert at keeping up with news and trends in the world of interior design. She is committed to sharing articles that help readers embrace emerging trends and keep up to date with changing styles, including the latest tile trends. For this piece, she spoke with leading designers and tile makers to learn how to execute the look of mix-and-match glossy and matte tiles in your home.

What are the aesthetic advantages of glossy and matt mixed tiles?

A room with a shiny yellow tiled floor and a matt tomette floor in the adjoining kitchen

(Image credit: German Saiz/Sierra+ de la Higuera)

Before we dive into the details of how to achieve the look, let’s first consider the aesthetic benefits of mixing glossy and matte tiles. Classically elegant uniform tiles are always a safe bet, so you might be nervous about committing to such a bold kitchen or bathroom tile idea. Why mix two finishes and risk opposing them when you could rather opt for a simple but nevertheless effective design?

According to Lesley Taylor, interior designer and founder of The Baked Tile Company (opens in a new tab), there are several ways to embrace this new tile trend that could benefit your space. “The aesthetic benefits that come from mixing glossy and matte tiles come down to the wonderful contrast between the two,” she says. “It adds a really interesting dimension that brings detail to the space without having to rely on pattern.”

Due to the contrasting appearance of glossy and matte tiles, combining them can accentuate their individual qualities. Next to a glossy tile, a matte tile looks richer and even more textured. Conversely, a matte finish makes the gloss even more brilliant. “What you’re doing is enhancing the aesthetic quality of each of them by putting them together,” says Lesley.

As she also notes, glossy and matte tiles used side by side in a space can add depth and dimension. This is thanks to changes in the perception of light. Light will bounce off reflective glossy tiles to give a shiny effect while matte tiles will absorb it resulting in a soft, duller look. When used next to each other – especially with abstract geometric shaped tiles – the tiles add a dimension to your wall or floor that will make it seem like it comes and goes.

What should be the ratio of glossy and matte tiles?

A grand entryway with a black spiral staircase and colorful glossy and matte tiles mixed with terracotta effect tiling

(Image credit: Baked Tile Co.)

If you are sold on the idea of ​​glossy and matte tiles together, whether for floor tiles, bathroom wall tiles or a kitchen backsplash, there are a few things you need to consider before applying them in your own home. First of all, there is the question of the ratio. Should you have an equal number of each or an imbalance?

As Lesley explains, it really depends on the look you’re trying to create. “The gloss and matte look equally good with a 50/50 split in a fairly repetitive and tidy layout, as they do as a random splash of a finish among its dominant rival.” The bottom line is that the ratio comes down to personal preference.

There is also the question of whether you want a more contemporary or traditional look. “Glossy tiles add elegance and sophistication to a design, perfect for grabbing attention, while the lack of shine in matte tiles creates a modern, industrial feel,” adds Diane de Craven Dunnill. (opens in a new tab). “The balance depends on which aesthetic you prefer and want to show off the most in your design.”

A uniform layout of rectangular glossy and matte tiles in a running brick formation will produce a more traditional feel. On the other hand, matte tiles interspersed randomly will give a more abstract and therefore modern look.

“If you want a look that’s not quite so formulaic, I’d suggest a splash of glossy or matte kitchen or bathroom tiles,” says Lesley. “That way the fact that you have less gloss or less matte makes it more powerful because your eyes get used to something when it’s repeated regularly on your floors or walls.” But when you only have one or two, they can have more power.

Should they be arranged according to a pattern or randomly?

A kitchen with a mix of glossy and matte pink and white tiles on the floor

(Image credit: Baked Tile Co.)

The answer to this question will likely inform the ratio of your tiles (or vice versa), but knowing whether to go with a more abstract pattern or idea can be tricky. How do you imagine the notion of gloss and matte? Is it a stereotypical pattern of shiny tiles as a diagonal stripe, or is it a handful of random colored matte tiles in a sea of ​​shiny white squares?

The truth is that any arrangement has its unique qualities, however, certain designs lend themselves better to different styles. Lesley suggests using a handful of random tiles for a more rustic look, “whereas in an older property where you want a more traditional look, putting together a checkerboard effect of glossy and matte tiles would look amazing. “

In general, uniform patterns will look more traditional while experimental arrangements will create a more contemporary feel. Think about it – a perimeter line of glossy subway shower tiles amongst an otherwise matte wall looks classic and sophisticated, while a mix of gloss and matte (as pictured above) looks more original. (This example from the Baked Tile Company reminds us of computer pixels!)

“You can mix matte and gloss in a random pattern to subtly revive classic subway tiles,” suggests Diane. ‘If you prefer more consistency, create a pattern by alternating stripe or check finishes, or use shiny checks as a border. For a mural effect, consider a gradient wall, creating a soft shadow starting with glossy tiles at the bottom, then gradually moving up to matte. The options are endless.

Lesley’s advice? If you’re creating something with a more contemporary feel, go for something less tidy and regular. “A quirky design will almost always have a more contemporary feel,” she says.

Should we keep the same colors?

In short, whether or not you stick with the colors of your glass and matte tiles is entirely up to you, but a monochromatic look can be effortlessly impactful in its simplicity.

“Combining matte and glossy tiles is a nice, understated way to add texture and variety while maintaining a sleek monochromatic color palette,” says Diane. “It’s perfect for a kitchen backsplash or a fireplace surround because the softness of the matte tiles adds contrast, allowing the glossy tiles to shine without dominating the space.”

The main takeaway from us is to stick with a monochrome scheme if you want to retain an element of cohesion, but don’t be afraid to experiment! Whatever ratio or pattern you decide to match for your matte and glossy tiles, you are sure to get beautiful results.

About Ethel Nester

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