Trending – Penny Tile

Usually when I post about a design element I believe is trending it’s because I’m seeing it more and more in magazines and other design forums. However, in this case I decided to write about one of my favorite looks more because I’m seeing an increased interest in it from my clients.

Penny rounds, and their design sibling “hex tile”, have been around for over a century, as anyone who has been in the lobby of the old apartment building, or the bathroom in an older home would know. Recently there has been a revival in interest for penny rounds, whether for reasons of nostalgia or the fact that just so darn cheerful looking. The great thing is, they can also be very sustainable. Here are some of my favorite looks:

image via Apartment Therapy


I’ll start out with, Savoy, a pretty ceramic version with over 20% recycled content from Ann Sacks.


Daltile makes a simple, classic version in porcelain. In this image you can really see the versatility of a tile with such a small scale.  Great for curved surfaces!

Ann Sacks also makes a beautiful version in matte glass.  I’ve seen this installed and it is just luminous!

One of my all-time favorite materials is cork, and it just happens to make some of the best penny tile of all. Cut from discarded wine corks, these tiles are sustainable in so many ways.  I’ve installed this before, and it really does work as well as they say. Believe it or not, it’s put in just like any other tile, grout and all. Just seal it with a few coats of water-based urethane and you have yourself a durable flooring that can even be used in a shower.

image via Apartment Therapy


Of course if you want to be literal about it, you could actually make penny rounds out of pennies, as was done at New York’s Standard Hotel. Penny rounds usually come pre-spaced on mesh sheets, but I have to imagine some poor installers had to actually lay these out individually.

image via Apartment Therapy


Penny tile not doing it for you? How about nickel tile? Talk about one-upsmanship, this installation is more of a five-upmanship.

Penny Rounds are definitely a fun look, as well as a nice nod to the past, but do keep in mind that the smaller the tile, the greater quantity of grout will make up your floors surface. If you have grout issues, and many people do, this look may not be for you.

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