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Tile has transformative power, whether it’s used in the bathroom, kitchen, or even outdoors. It can add plenty of character to any space, and is also an excellent and (sometimes) budget-friendly way to modernize a dated room. Lately, I’m extra into tactile tile, that is, tile with raised details and relief, which really adds a contemporary touch (no pun intended!) to the walls of a home.
I’m not the only one who’s currently loving this look. “We have seen more interest in creating depth and dimension in design as of late, likely due to the fact that people have been spending so much time indoors and want to create spaces that intrigue and inspire them,” comments designer Amanda Thompson of ALine Studio. “Tactile tile is a great way to create this sort of interest but in a subtle, almost subliminal way.”
Tactile tile also supports the notion that even the smallest design details can make a major impact. “Using an unexpected twist on material — like a tile with texture or grooves — is a fun and inventive way to take your design to the next level,” notes designer Eleanor Trepte of Dekay and Tate. “Little details, such as the look, feel, and even grout of a backsplash or shower pan, for instance, can make the world of difference in taking your design from plain to powerful. We love tactile tile for the big impact it makes in a small and relatively easy way.”
Ready to bring a little tactile tile into your own home? I’ve rounded up some of our favorite options on the market. Before you fill up your cart, note that some of these options are on the pricier side and therefore may be best incorporated in smaller doses — think over the range in a kitchen backsplash or as an accent in a shower surround. When used with plain field tiles, matching or otherwise, you’ll still get a lot of charm without the sticker shock.
Vector Reverb Azul 4-inch x 8-inch Polished Ceramic Wall Tile
I’m partial to the blue hue of this ceramic wall tile, but if you’re seeking something even more neutral, don’t worry. This style comes in gray, black, and brown, too. It’s excellent for those who are looking for intrigue but don’t want to go too bold with pattern.
Buy: Vector Reverb Azul 4×8 Polished Ceramic Wall Tile, $9.95 per square foot from TileBar
MADE by Ann Sacks Modern Field Tile
The MADE Modern Line by Ann Sacks offers a wide variety of tactile tiles. Whether you prefer a funky moon-shaped design or are looking for a more classic criss-cross, hatched look, there’s something for everyone. Tiles are offered in 29 different shades, which range from a deep green to a dusty rose. This line is very pricy, but even just a striking stripe of a few of these accent tiles in your shower could really turn up the drama in your bath reno project.
Buy: MADE by Ann Sacks Modern Field Tile, Starts at $79.95 per square foot from Ann Sacks
Degrade Blue Milx Ceramic Wall Tile – 8 x 24 in.
Want a modern ombré look? Then this oversized striation style is the tile for you! Featuring a subtle color variation, this 8-inch by 24-inch tile also has a grooved surface that makes it even more eye-catching. Four other colorways are available, including white, red, gray, and emerald green.
Buy: Degrade Blue Milx Ceramic Wall Tile, $10.39 per square foot from The Tile Shop
Retreat White 10 inch x 20 in. Glossy Textured Ceramic Wall Tile
Mid-Century Modern Textured Subway Tile
This glazed tile, which appears to have a frothy, bubbled surface, gives subway tile a contemporary, textured twist. It can be used on its own or combined with existing white subways, depending on your preference. How on-theme would it be in a bathroom?!
Buy: Mid-Century Modern Textured Subway Tile, $75.00 per square foot from Etsy
Cube Silver AC Ceramic Wall Tile
Nuvola White 3D 12 in. x 22 in. Ceramic Wall Tile
Feeling a swirly design? This tile brings the fun with its sculptural effect that is intriguing without being too much to take in visually. In fact, I think it looks pretty calming in this classic white colorway!
Buy: Nuvola White 3D 12 in. x 22 in. Ceramic Wall Tile, $3.99/square foot from The Home Depot