5 outdated tile trends that are letting your kitchens and bathrooms down

And what to consider instead for 2024

Outdated tile trends
(Image credit: Future)

The enduring beauty of tile is unquestionable, and a kitchen or bathroom space that is adorned with marble, ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone, is more often than not, one to be envied. 

However, as a defining part of kitchen and bathroom designs, if something feels a little off in these spaces, could it be that they are featuring tile trends that have been and gone? It is hard to resist a trend, especially as so many swing back around time and time again. In some spaces, we can allow detail that feels past its best, however, in such a busy (and guest-facing) area as the kitchen and bathroom, we cannot let this detail slide.

Much like our preferred kitchen and bathroom tile ideas are always subject to change with our design mood, some trends have more longevity than others. We checked in with the experts to see whether our mosaics and subway tiles are still doing their decorative duty, or if it is in fact time for a refresh. These are the bathroom and kitchen tile styles you might want to rethink in the new year:

1. High gloss tiles

deVOL burgundy kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

No one likes a showoff, and it appears that this stands in the tile world too. Ginger Curtis, of Urbanology Designs tells us how texture matters in a home that wants to feel timeless

'Glass and high gloss tiles can date a space very quickly. Matte tiles not only exude a more relaxed vibe, but they also have this timeless quality that can make any space feel effortlessly chic. The subtlety in their finish is a game-changer - it adds a touch of sophistication without stealing the spotlight. So, out with the super shiny and in with the soothing matte tiles - it's a design choice that's easy on the eyes and stands the test of time.'

2. The 12x24 subway

White subway tiles in bathroom with pedestal basin

(Image credit: Future PLC/James Merrell)

A classic kitchen backsplash tile, the 12x24, also known as the metro tile, has frequently been questioned as outdated. Joey Conicella, President, SOCO Interiors tells us that they are not necessarily over, but nothing new, and in the kindest way, we can all do better.

'12x24 tiles were fresh and new at one time but have become the norm and no longer make a statement,' Conicella tells H&G. 'Though they do the job, there are so many exciting types of tile and formations out there, it would be a shame to not explore other, fresher options.'

'One style of tile and installation that is definitely going out and needs updating are the basic white glossy subway tiles that have been overused in home flipping.' agrees Amy Youngblood of Amy Youngblood Interiors.

Joey Conicella, President
Joey Conicella

Joey Conicella is President of Soco Interiors, a high-end, residential interior design firm based in Winter Park, FL. Joey’s career has spanned over two decades, working both in the interior magazine publishing space as well as the design firm side of the industry. Joey pulls inspiration from his favorite places to spend downtime including the coasts of California to the eclectic and electric pulse of Miami. Joey is based in beautiful Maitland, Florida.

Amy Youngblood, Founder
Amy Youngblood

Amy Youngblood creates beautiful interiors that envelop your personal taste and lifestyle, through great trust and collaboration. Amy and her design team strive to exceed expectations as you engage their services to improve and enhance your commercial or residential space. Their clients make them who they are. Allowing them into their lives results in beautifully transformed spaces using high end, technical design tools, a proven creative process, and project management; but most importantly, great vision, communication, and service.

3. Mosaic tile, especially accent bands

tiles for small bathrooms

(Image credit: Future)

A popular choice for tiling bathroom walls and even floors, however, it seems that mosaic tile has had its day. 'If you have a glass mosaic kitchen backsplash or accent bands in your shower, it might be time for a refresh,' suggests Conicella. Mosaic is unique and good looking, not to mention a brilliant way to incorporate color and pattern into a space, however, Bianca Ecklund, Designer + Creative Director, Bianca Ecklund Design, also stresses that we have come a long way from such a small format: 'Small mosaic tiles or glass tiles were a huge trend 12 years ago. Now is the time to be bold… go big, choose tiles with texture, size, or unique shape.'

Choose marble for a more luxury bathroom idea and enjoy unique veining, or go for brights, and something more dramatic to that effect.

Bianca Ecklund

Bianca Ecklund is the creator and principal designer behind Bianca Ecklund Design. Bianca oversees every project with a hands-on approach from concept to completion to ensure her clients feel comfortable through the entire process and are thrilled with the results. Bianca enjoys a wide range of interior and architectural styles. She believes “custom design is not a one size fits all”.

4. Overdone and muted colors

Bathroom tile ideas by Jake Curtis showing a colorful bathroom using contemporary furniture and pops of yellow

Lisboa 001 Panoramic wallpaper panel, Pierre Frey. Metropole Blue porcelain floor tiles, Mandarin Stone.

(Image credit: Future/Jake Curtis)

It seems that bold and bright wins the color game when it comes to tile, especially for a more colorful bathroom or kitchen space.

Conicella says that white and gray hexagon tiles have been exhausted, use them with caution: 'These can still work, but a little goes a long way.'

It appears that muted colors simply do not make a good design statement either: 'Unfortunately, many older homes we work on have very outed tile colors such as pastel pink,  light blue and teal,' shares Youngblood.

5. The Versailles layout


(Image credit: Melanie Brown / Future)

Though a Versailles layout lends itself to more traditional kitchen spaces, consider alternatives if you want a space that feels a little more curated and modern. 'Any tumbled marble or travertine installed on a diagonal should be retired,' suggests Conicella.

Marble can look beautiful in a modern bathroom space, and there are more beautiful options sure to make a fine replacement...


Why do my tiles look old?

It is not just the style and color of tile that you want to pay attention to, the formation is also important, as is the grouting style. Be wary of installing certain tile on a diagonal, but also of thick grout lines. 'Larger grout lines can also date your tile,' warns Conicella.

Make sure you clean tile grout regularly to keep them looking their best with perfect lines.

What tile styles are on trend for 2024?

2024 will be the year of the large format tile with refined detail. 'Tile has come such a long way and getting a clean, streamlined look with large tiles and small or minimal grout lines is ideal,' says Conicella.

'2024 is going to be a good year for tile. Lookout for larger format tiles, heavily veined marble, warm tones, printed ceramic tiles, and we’ll continue to see Zellige-style tiles installed in a variety of patterns for interest.'

When it comes to color and tile finish, think matt, as Curtis mentioned, and natural tones with distinct veining in the like of marble for a unique finish in every home. Ecklund notes that texture will be a defining factor of tile styles next year: 'We are seeing a lot of natural stone for 2024 - texture is key.'

That is not to say there will not be some eclectic options to set off modern kitchens and bathrooms. Youngblood tells us to keep a sharp eye out for interesting forms and hues: 'We are seeing a lot of new and unique shapes, even 3D tiles such as hexagons and pebble tiles with even bold, metallic colors.'

If you are questioning the tile in your kitchen or bathroom, the chances are your instinct is correct. 'You know you need a refresh when every home in the neighborhood has the same tile,' adds Ecklund. And if you have the same style as everyone on the street, why not be the first to change it up?

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Contributing Editor

Camille is the former deputy editor of Real Homes where she covered a broad range of topics, including house tours, small space design, and gardens. She studied English language and Italian at the University of Manchester and during a year abroad studying linguistics and history of art in Bologna, Italy she started documenting her adventures and observations in a blog. Camille is always creating and spends her downtime painting, taking photos, traveling, and writing short stories.