10 Hot Summer Destinations & Tile Inspirations

It’s summer and your vacation is calling. Come globe trotting with us to beautiful vacation spots, home and abroad, that offer endless design and tile inspiration.

While sites like Travel.com offers suggestions of where to go with their article, the Top 10 Most Searched Summer Destinations, at Architectural Ceramics, we’ve come up with our own 10 cities, as well as tile collections inspired by each popular place.

The European Traveler

Barcelona, Spain

A view of Barcelona’s skyline from Park Güell, image via PMCA Online.

Barcelona, Spain is a city of contrast, where white sandy beaches meet the colorful tile work of Park Güell, and organic architecture like Gaudí’s Casa Milá or Sagrada Familia stand proudly above gridded city streets.

From high-end dining at Michelin star restaurants and shopping on Las Ramblas, to humble food tours that highlight where the locals stay, visitors can do it all.

AC’s Boho Collection, in the Tear shape and Emerald color, image via Architectural Ceramics.

And, from the Casa Batlló’s reptilian roof to the giant lizard in Park Güell, our Boho Collection‘s scale-like pattern and bright color palette are inspired by attractions in Barcelona. The dimensional ceramic tile is available in two main shapes, Elle and Tear.

Pictured above, is a commercial cafe space with an accent wall done in the Boho Collection’s Tear shape and the color Emerald. Below, are other single-color options, as well as a mixed pastel option.

AC’s Boho Collection in the Tear shape and Mix colorway, image via Architectural Ceramics.

To view the entire Boho Collection, or for more inspiration on how to use the dimensional ceramic tile in a commercial or residential space, download a Boho Collection Catalog here.

Lisbon, Portugal

In Lisbon, the buildings and streets are covered in tile, image via Find Us Lost.

Simply strolling the mosaic-tiled streets while eating a pastel de nata and taking in the sites like beautifully tiled buildings is a treat when vacationing in Lisbon.

AC’s Legend Collection in the Kuba pattern, image via Architectural Ceramics.

To achieve that same sweet feeling at home, look to the Kuba pattern from our Legend Collection. This hand-chopped and tumbled mosaic pairs two natural stones in black and beige tones, similar to those found in Lisbon.

For encaustic tiles like the ones on building facades throughout the city, explore our specialty hand-glazed and painted ceramic tile collections too.

London, England

Britain’s iconic Big Ben and red phone booth, image via Rehlat.

If riding the tube or catching a show in the West End is your cup of tea, then you’ll love taking in the sights of London, England. To take a bit of London design inspiration home with you, you might fancy using a spot of red, like what’s spotted throughout the city by way of its iconic red double-decker buses and phone booths.

AC’s Guava Collection in a commercial cafe space.

A natural red clay terra cotta tile, a machine-made ceramic, or a hand-made cement tile with a custom colorway — There is more than one way to incorporate red tile into a residential or commercial design.

Pictured above, is a commercial cafe space that used our Guava Collection. This unglazed porcelain tile is appropriate for wall and floor use. The range of bold color, will energize any design, like the city of London itself. Also included in the collection, are white and blue hues that may have you thinking of Britain’s Union Jack too.

For more details about our Guava Collection, download a Data Sheet here.

For a tile collection that’s inspired by the gears of a clock like Big Ben, check out our Gears Collection via our Gears Product Page or our blog, Switching Gears: AC’s Mosaic Tile Collection.

Paris, France

A rooftop view of Paris and the iconic Eiffel Tower, image via On The Luce.

Actress Audrey Hepburn said it best, “Paris is always a good idea.” A popular destination when romance is top priority, there are few things that top climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or taking in a 180 degree view of the city from the Sacré-Cœur Basilica at top of the 18th district in Montmartre.

For a tile with a certain je ne sais quoi, our Fontenay Camargue Collection features a French limestone named Vieux Monde, with a distinct look and Parisian feel. The honed and unfilled natural travertine tile is 16″ wide but varies in length. The result is an old world aesthetic that looks like it was pulled from an old French farmhouse itself.

To browse more limestone collections or other natural stone collections, use the Stone Product filter on our website.

Rome, Italy

Rome’s Colosseum, one of Italy’s most famous landmarks

As the saying goes, when in Rome…you’ll find monument after monument clad in marble. The Colosseum was once covered in white marble before Emperors commandeered it for use on their own palaces.

Rome is known as the Eternal City by the Romans because they felt that no matter what happened in the world, Rome would remain forever. It’s likely to remain a popular vacation destination. Likewise, for us, marble as a tile material is an eternally classic choice.

AC’s Thassos Collection, a polished white natural stone; image via Architectural Ceramics.

Whether your favorite marble is a common classic like Cararra (left), Calacatta Gold (right), Statuary, or Thassos (top), we have these natural stones and more.

Want to know what type of veining and variation to expect from your marble or other natural stone? Check out our blog: Expect the Unexpected from Tile Variation.

The All-American Traveler

Maui, Hawai’i

Pailoa Beach, the famous black-sand beach at Waianapanapa in Maui, image via Daniel Sullivan for Hawai’i Magazine.

You won’t need your passport to visit this top searched travel destination, but thanks to Hawaii’s lush landscape, rich sea life, numerous volcanoes, and black-sand beaches, you may feel like you’ve been transported to another world.

AC’s Basalt Collection, image via Architectural Ceramics.

Our Basalt Collection features tile made of volcanic rock. Pictured above, the 12″x12″ field tile was used on the diagonal as the bathroom’s shower and main floor. The fine-grained natural stone’s honed finish works well with the other matte black finishes throughout the space.

Erupting with options, the Basalt Collection, also includes additional large-format field tile sizes like 16″x24″, as well as smaller meshed-mosaics like a 1″x1″ stacked square and a 1″x1″ or 3″x3″ hexagon.

To read more about our Basalt Collection, or to see other matte black tile inspiration, visit our blog, A Growing Trend: Matte Black Tile is Back.

Miami, Florida

South Beach, the epicenter of Miami’s night life; image via Trip Advisor.

Considered off-season to North Americans during the summer, Miami still attracts visitors from Europe and South America trying to escape the winter months.

Keep cool during the day by taking a dip in the ocean. At night, it’s entertaining to take in the famed South Beach nightlife.

AC’s Surge Collection in the color Ocean, image via Architectural Ceramics.

Our Surge Collection mixes Miami’s day and night vibe, because of it’s calming and energetic range of color options. The glazed ceramic tile, pictured above in the color Ocean, looks like backlit glass.

To view the entire collection, download a Surge Datasheet here.

New York, New York

New York City’s vibrant Times Square, image via Kitano.

If you prefer Broadway to beaches, we know where to find you. The energy and sights of New York City’s concert jungle draw tourists from other parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world. A city that never sleeps, New York is urban, vibrant, and a must-see.

Our aptly named New York Collection, features a 12″x24″ large-format porcelain tile that because of high-definition printing, gives the look and feel of concrete.

For other porcelain collections that mimic concrete, use the Concrete Product filter on our website.

An art installation by Allison Eden in NYC, image via Eden Studios.

If concrete-look porcelain tile gives the feeling of NYC sidewalks underfoot, what about what’s overhead? Designer Allison Eden creates colorful and energetic custom glass murals that match the vibe of Times Square. No stranger to New York, Eden’s custom work is designed and assembled in Brooklyn.

For more inspiration, or to read more about Eden Studio and other AC tile vendors located here in the USA, read our blog, Made in the USA: AC’s Tile Lines Made in America.

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland; image by Jerry Driendl via Travel Channel.

A hop, skip and a jump away from the D.C. metropolitan area, Ocean City, Maryland is famed for its boardwalk, old-fashioned amusement rides, and of course Old Bay french fries.

AC’s Devotion Collection in the Echo pattern and custom color blend, image via Oceanside.

Our relationship with glass tile manufacturer, Oceanside, allows us to bring custom tilework from the west coast to the east coast. The Devotion Collection in the Echo pattern, echos the chevron pattern used on Ocean City’s wooden boardwalk. The sandy colors and reflective quality of the glass mosaic also remind us of Ocean City’s shoreline.

AC’s wood-look porcelain from our Wood Replica Collection in the color White Smoke, image via Architectural Ceramics.

Want a more literal reminder of the wooden boardwalk in Ocean City? Then look to one of our wood-look porcelain collections, appropriate for indoor and outdoor use. Use the Wood-Look Product filter on our website to browse over 30 collections like our Wood Replica Collection pictured above.

Want to know why some wood-look tiles are better than others? Visit our blog: Not All Wood-Look Tiles Are Created Equal.

A Trip to the South Pacific

Bora Bora

A honeymooner’s paradise, Bora Bora; image via Travel & Leisure.

Turquoise water, bright green peaks, and clear blue skies — It’s no wonder why the French Polynesian travel destination of Bora Bora draws crowds from near and far.

After serving, former President Barack Obama left the White House for the white sugar-sand beaches of Bora Bora. We can only guess what he and his family did during their stay: relax at the spa and on the beach, or stay active while hiking and snorkeling.

For tile inspired by the beach, look to two of our glass mosaic collections: Sugar and Shibui. Our Sugar Collection, pictured left, features sintered pressed glass in an oval-shaped mosaic available in five colorways. Our Shibui Collection, pictured right, is a hand-poured glass available in twelve patterns, thirteen colorways, and two finishes.

For more details on either glass mosaic collection, download a Sugar or Shibui Datasheet here.

AC’s Small Ogee pattern in a mix of hand-glazed colors, image via Pratt & Larson.

Want a water inspired look without relying on reflective glass? Try a wave-like ceramic tile pattern instead. Our Small Ogee in a hand-applied watercolor glaze allows you to recreate the bright ocean colors found off the coast of Bora Bora.


No matter where you travel, be it home or abroad, design and tile inspiration can come from anything: a favorite city, building or beach. Now instead of soaking up inspiration, we’re off to soak up the sun.

Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is always happy to help advise on tile design. Visit one of our DC, MD, or VA tile showrooms for a free tile design consultation.

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