Backsplash tile — fantastic, affordable, new old stock vintage — from World of Tile

rooster tile vintageUpdate: World of Tile has now closed. I’ll leave this story up, for a while at least, to show some of the cool stuff they had.

World of Tile “withdrawal” symptoms: Has anyone else been having them? I have. So, I went back to my hundreds of photos from my two visits last summer and found some more great, New Old Stock (NOS) vintage tile and other WOT delights to spotlight this week. Let’s start with: Backsplash tiles — complete sets of decorative tiles that can be put together to form a backsplash for a stove and/or along the entire kitchen backsplash.

tile coffee tea I think that in today’s *mainstream* design world, these matchy matchy tile sets — which look to be from the 1970s or 1980s — would be considered too *sentimental*. But hey, I am working to stay one … or 10 … steps ahead of what’s *out* today that will be *in* tomorrow, once the requisite 50 years of perspective that it takes to decide what was *fabulous* versus *hideous* about the 70s or 80s (etc.) is behind us.

decorative tileIn general, I declare that sentimental, decorative 1970s and 1980s kitchen backsplashes — especially of the quality you see at World of Tile — are, can and will be big retro delights. Continue for more photos, along with thoughts about some of the designs I spotted still available from sale at World of Tile.

farm animals tilekitchen backsplash chickenFarm animals — especially cute chickens — will never go out of style. And again, let me emphasize: These are exceptionally well made tiles. They are artist pieces, and quite generally, they come at phenomenal prices — they are vintage NOS.

decorative backsplashThe one above, for a wet bar maybe?

decorative tile vintageThe designs in the tiles shown on the upper right wore sort of carved out and enameled with color within the carved out part. Lovely. The beige + yellow + red/orange + brown/black = gorgeous color combo.

vintage tile

Very sentimental. At first, I was not warming to these. But I stared and stared and ultimately though: Yes, if I had the right house! Like, a romantic revival Hansel & Gretel cottage… a storybook ranch with a knotty pine kitchen… a rustic cabin on a lake or in the woods. Oh my gosh, I need to design a mood board around these tiles!

vintage tile

Possibilities everywhere. As Jana wrote in response to one of my many, previous World of Tile stories:

World of Tile, World of Tile
Offers tile by the mile,
Now it has
elements of ’80?s style.
Lights, sconces, soap dishes
For the “’80?s phile”….
World of Tile, World of Tile,
The store that keeps on giving
Regardless of decade style!
World of Tile, World of Tile,
The store that still holds surprises
Regardless of decades of the style!
World of Tile, World of Tile,
We love you more,
Because of your
Never ending style.

Amen, Jana. Where to buy: World of Tile, Springfield, New Jersey

  1. BungalowBILL says:

    As a tile person I’d like to add that no one needs to commit to installing any of these vintage tile. If you like the design, buy it and frame it. You can have a whole farm of kitschy chickens hung in little frames. You can mount the still life panels on board, frame them, and still hang them over the sink or stove. Change them out with the seasons or your tastes and never have to worry about your personal “quirky” style affecting the resale value of your home. Tiles make for a perfect art form in these environments, impervious to water and grease. You don’t need to redo an entire kitchen to appreciate these vintage tiles.

  2. JKaye says:

    Bungalo Bill, that is exactly what I was going to say — don’t attach these tiles directly the wall, but apply them to some type of board which could be framed and hung in the kitchen, then could go with you if you move. For example, back in the 80s, a relative gave my mom a wooden tray from Mexico that has tiles glued to the flat surface. It probably holds 12 tiles, which are all matching, but a still life or collection of complementary tiles would look good on such a tray.

    1. Ak Lawrence says:

      If you have the tiles framed, you don’t even have to glue! The 1/4 lip of the frame will keep the tile in place next to the backing, that way you could always inset a tile or two into a fireplace surround or into a table of mix and match tiles down the road without having to try to take the backing off.

      But a great way to show off a tile is with a ‘floater frame’ this way the title is suspended inside a recessed frame, a few of these would look great going up a staircase!

  3. Ann-Marie Meyers says:

    Tiles are very fun to collect. Sometimes you really luck out, too. I just got one yesterday that I bought on ebay.fr. I searched for Vallauris, one of my favorite French ceramic regions, and got a double whammy, a Villeroy and Boch Vallauris tile!
    I am going to get someone to show me how to put pictures from my camera onto this stupid webternet thingy all you young kids are using these days so I can share my finds and redecorates.
    I think Bungalow Bill would like this tile, It’s pretty.

    1. Ann-Marie Meyers says:

      I am also going to figure out how I can swing a vacation from Texas to New Jersey. Anyone up for a road trip? We can all just drive along, picking each other up as we go, on a long swervy mid century caravan.

    1. Ann-Marie Meyers says:

      It happens to all of us. My poor Mustang Sally had the shock of her young life a last year when the “oldies” station played a song that was popular when she was in middle school.
      She said, “Mom! That was the 90’s!”
      I smiled and said, “Yeah, isn’t nostalgia something.”

      I didn’t know her bedroom door could slam that hard.

  4. Lisa says:

    I live about 20 minutes away from World of Tile. When you walk in there, you just look around and go “Am I in a time warp?” LOL! There are some real treasures in there…

  5. Joyce says:

    I am seeking some tiles that had hand painted grey/blue flowers on white background. There is no “contact” button for me to click onto this web site. Can anyone help me?

    1. Kate says:

      Hi Joyce, we do not sell anything here. If you are interested in the tile shown in this story, you’ll have to contact World of Tile directly. Their contact information is listed on their website. Good luck!

  6. Lisa says:

    Pam Kueber is correct. Tile World is no longer at their location in Springfield, NJ. I happened to drive by there a few weeks ago and their doors are closed. Whether or not they have opened elsewhere, or perhaps have an online presence now, I do not know. Very sad…

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