A Walk Around… Surface Design Show 2016

For interior stylists, designers and decorating enthusiasts, the Surface Design Show is a key date in the calendar. It’s a showcase of all the latest surface design trends. Whether you’re dealing with walls, floors, splashbacks or work tops, all the trendiest new looks and must-have materials are on display at the show. We took a trip to the Business Design Centre in Islington to take a walk away the show. In case you didn’t have a chance to visit this year, here are some of the products and displays that stood out the most…

A stunning optical illusion

Greeting you before you head into the hall was this fantastic piece of perceptual deception. It momentarily baffled myself and the others I was with.

Splitface / Reclaimed Wood

The theme I found most visually striking at the show was the abundance of splitface wood. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘split face’ or ‘split face tiles,’ it basically refers to strips of a hard material that are cut to different depths, heights and widths, and are fixed together to create a staggered, multi-level surface covering. Typically, up until now, slate was used to create the splitface look. See our splitface slate textured tiles for reference. However, now, wood seems to be taking its place. It’s a great way to reclaim old, disused wood, and it adds a natural, rustic quality to an interior wall space. See the wood effect tiles below, in a striking splitface arrange.


Reclaimed wooden splitface tiles



Geometric patterns and geometric tiles have been in style for a while now, and it doesn’t look as though they’re going anywhere. The geometric trend is definitely one of the most eye-catching; it can consist of any repeated pattern of shape, in any colour under the sun; so it offers a lot of scope. Here are a couple of geometric designs that really stood out at the show…


Geometric floor




Hexagons continue to be a prominent trend, it seems. Coined ‘Six Sided Style’ by Walls and Floors, hexagons allow you to piece together captivating honeycomb structures and surfaces. At the show, the hexagons mostly consisting of vastly different designs and colours; adding a varied, contrasting look. Hexagonal grey tiles with a stone effect design would be found next to bright emerald ones, quartz tiles, etc.





Living walls

Scores of people crowded around the ‘living wall’ displays. If the term ‘living wall’ sounds ambiguous, it isn’t. It means exactly that – a wall that is covered top to bottom in real, living, photosynthesising foliage. A clever irrigation system fitted to the wall will keeps dozens of hanging pockets of soil well hydrated; and from these pockets of soil grow the plants! This is, without a doubt, the most effective way of ‘bringing the outdoors in’. Personally, I love it. So much so, that I want to bring the look into my home. I’ll use it as the backdrop of the tropical scheme I’m creating in my living room. To achieve the effect for less, I’m going to start collecting artificial plants from the likes of IKEA. I’m going to cover my living room wall in MDF boards, paint them green, and I’ll start stapling my faux ferns into place!

Living wall plants

living wall foliage plants moss

So there you have it – my personal highlights from the Surface Design Show! I hope you’ve seen something that might tickle your inspirational chords, when it comes to choosing out a new surface covering!

Herringbone layout

When it came to a particular layout, I found that Herringbone was the most frequently used throughout the shown. Unsure what it is? See the Herringbone tiles below. Rectangular tiles are arranged into a zigzagging fish-spine design.

Herringbone tiles layout








Enter our Giveaway to Win a £50 Tile Voucher

Win a tile voucher

To help you unlock your dream home this season, we’re giving away a £50 voucher to spend on tiles! To enter the giveaway, simply fill out the form below.

*By providing an email address above we’ll add you to our mailing list to receive our newsletters which are full of interior design trends, fantastic giveaways and our latest unmissable offers. You can unsubscribe at any time.


Leave a Reply

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>