The last “Day in the Life Of” post I shared was wayyyy back in February. I figured it was time for a new one and it would be fun to bring you all along on the Coverings trade show journey I just got home from last week. It was held in Orlando, Florida and it was really an inspiring show. This post is packed with lots of tile & stone inspiration, upcoming trends in the industry, and a glimpse of what design blog trips are actually like. Click through to read all about it!
I kind of hate the word “influencer” because I consider myself a designer and not someone with much persuasion power (haha!), but influencer- or design blog trips, as I like to call them, are really a special treat! Each time I’m invited on a design trip, I come home super inspired. This time around, it was no different. The stone & tile industry is anything but boring and I was impressed by new products in each showroom (technology has come a long way). I made friends from all over the country, laughed a lot, ate plenty of delicious food, and took away a bunch of design ideas.
First of all, these sweet souls were my fam for the week… you’re probably familiar with some of them already. From left to right & top row to bottom… Larson, Kirsten, John, Crystal, Milton, Holly, and Amber. It’s always fun to meet new like-minded people and this was really the best group. Aside from Kirsten who went on the designer retreat to San Francisco with me last year, I hadn’t met anyone else prior to the show. We all got along splendidly, had way too much fun, and I truly had the best time hanging with these talented designers.
Coverings is a global show, so there were tile & stone manufacturers exhibiting from around the world. In fact, the it’s SO big, there are 9(!) miles of tile & stone to explore. The show is broken up into three main areas: Ceramics of Italy, Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and Tile of Spain. Each of those pavilions have hundreds of exhibitors displaying tile and stone (attendees can view the latest products, trends, and installation tools from the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers). My favorite was probably the Italian pavilion. I thought the showroom designs were perfectly sophisticated and minimal- like Bien, shown above. They make porcelain tile that looks just like marble. Would you believe me if I told you the below image is not real marble? It’s actually printed ceramic.
I also wanted to share some trends I noticed at the show. One big takeaway was geometric & patterned tile. I loved the hand painted number below… it had a coastal vibe with that color palette. Speaking of color, there was a ton of terra cotta, blue, and green tile.
There was also a lot of textural tile. I really love the handmade trend and tile that looks and feels more organic! I noticed a bunch of that.
We’re actually planning to add textural tile to our house for our next big project (there’s another not-so-subtle room hint for you). The tile shown below is very similar to what I selected! Isn’t it gorgeous?
One thing I was really attracted to and excited to see more of, was exterior application tile. I’m digging the paver patio trend and there was a bunch of products on display that are designed to live outside. From driveways, to paver patios, and products that integrate into landscaping (love that grass outline), I was enamored with all of them.
In between showrooms and pavilion tours, I made my way to the puppy booth! YES- you read that right… there were puppies. Tile Council of North America (TCNA), creates a space with tiled dog houses as an initiation to raise money for charity- puppies were on location for cuddling every single day. It was basically my dream come true. Here’s a not-so-styled shot of me soaking up puppy kisses and talking with my dog voice. Ha! Kirsten caught me in a moment.
Back to the trends and interesting show vignettes… another thing I really enjoyed seeing was color blocked stone & tile! Why hadn’t I thought of that?! If you remember my hallway, you already known I’m a color blocking fanatic.
I also noted a TON of tile that looks like wood… and technology has certainly evolved. It was incredibly realistic and is obviously much more durable and easier to maintain than actual wood. My very favorite was this pattern shown below. Isn’t that stunning?
Each showroom had something unique to offer and really opened my eyes to the possibility of where tile & stone can live. The surfaces and options are truly endless.
Below, this geometric floor tile was among my favorites from the show. Ironically, it is made by the same company we bought our guest bathroom tile from! Given Lowe’s is one of their retailers, I’m hoping we’ll see this on the shelves there soon. Beautiful tile is really becoming more accessible.
Each evening, our little group would gather for dinner and drinks. I’m not kidding when I say this might be my favorite design trip group ever… these are just GOOD people. We all had a great time learning from each other, sharing design inspiration, business tips, and laughing together. That’s honestly my favorite part about these little getaways- meeting new people and making friends.
On this particular night, we were having delicious Cuban food and John basically saved my life as I was about to shove a forkful of paella into my mouth before he swatted it away. Haha! We had just chatted about food allergies and I had no idea the dish had shrimp mixed into it (shellfish is a no-go for me, unfortunately). I digress, I’ll definitely be cheering my new friends on and following their journey.
As for Coverings, the 2020 show is going to be held in New Orleans (fun), if anyone is interested in attending or exhibiting (here is the link)! Giant thank you to Becca and Sharp Communications for coordinating and inviting me along this time around. It was really a wonderful experience and I’m feeling creatively recharged.
I know I’m going to get a ton of questions about tile and stone sources shown here, and unfortunately I don’t have all of the answers or links. Lots of products are just for the show and I’m unsure as to when they’ll hit the market. Some of them are available in the US and some of them aren’t. It’s really trick to link everything, so this post is strictly inspiration and a peek into life & work. Hopefully you guys understand!
Did you find anything particularly cool or inspiring? Questions, comments? I really love this part of my job. Hit me with comments below!