On The Tiles

Our love of tiles continues to grow as designers discover original ways to use them and manufacturers inspire us with new designs and finishes, says Georgina Blaskey

One of the reasons designers love tiles is their versatility. They can be used on almost any surface and in any room, they combine well with a variety of materials and can become a feature in their own right. Combining tiles with different floor finishes allows you to define spaces; using tiles with wood works especially well. One way is to tonally integrate the different floor surfaces, and another is to use hexagonal tiles and cut into wooden planks.

Using tiles floor-to-ceiling is becoming more popular. Interior designer Irene Gunter has done this with glossy white ones in a recent project. “I adore using tiles on kitchen walls from floor to ceiling, it has a very relaxed vibe and can create an incredibly hard-wearing environment for a young family with pets.” Interior designer Yoko Kloeden recently used glossy green tiles on a chimney breast in a sitting area, creating a contemporary take on a feature wall.

Our love of metro or subway tiles shows no sign of abating – if anything we are exploring new ways of using them. “While the classic shapes, oblong and Metro tiles, are still popular the difference is in how and where they are placed,” says Matt Pazder of Cast London, who have recently launched a new tile range. While we’ve seen herringbone and basket weave metro tile formations in bathrooms in recent years, now people are using them in the kitchen as a splashback, opting for reflective finishes and even pastel shades.

Another new way of tiling that is popular for bathrooms is a bespoke statement design. This playful approach uses a freestyle method to position the tiles in a deconstructed formation. It’s a great way of upping the style stakes in a small bathroom and can be more cost-effective than running tiles floor to-ceiling. This works best with hexagonal designs to create a fluctuating finish.

Materials traditionally associated with outdoor living, such as terracotta, are finding their way back into the home. “A timeless look perfect for classic and contemporary interior projects, this rustic surface solution has seen a huge surge in interest with consumers, designers and architects alike,” says Grazziella Wilson of Artisans of Devizes. A step up from lagstone, terracotta offers texture, warmth and durability. Sticking with an outdoor theme, using tiles on external walls is a welcome alternative to brickwork – it brings texture and pattern, and breaks up the monotony of an expanse of painted or pebbledash wall. In particular, tiles used to clad a new extension add character with an unexpected twist.

1. Decorative:
As soft pastels continue to gain popularity in the kitchen, the bathroom is another space that has embraced this colourway, but here it is in ornately patterned tiles to complement colourful bath tubs. The overall effect is uplifting and unashamedly feminine.

2. Zellige:
Zellige tiles (also known as Moroccan tiles, zellige terracotta tiles, and zilij) are unlike manufactured, uniform factory tiles – the handmade nature of zellige tiles results in imperfect, uneven shapes. Choose one colour but know it’ll come in a range of hues – and that is part of its charm

3. Banding:
Metro tiles are so versatile and lend themselves to many clever design techniques; one of the simplest is banding. Combined here with tongue and groove, it’s a strong, clean look.

4. Mismatched:
Tiles from the same range but in different patterns are mounted to create a sympathetic scheme that works together but has no repeat. The result is artistic but cohesive and very interesting

5. Saturated:
Glossy, deeply pigmented metro tiles in one colourway create a bold statement. If you’re going with a traditional brick stack, a saturated colour choice will keep it modern and the glossy finish echoes the trend for primary coloured lacquer which is hugely popular right now.

6. Tonal:
Using one colour in different finishes or patterns allows the characteristics of the stone to shine.
Different shapes and sizes on the walls and floor here tone in with one another.

7. Borders:
Small mosaic tiles are versatile enough for you to create whatever pattern you like on the floor, sometimes even spelling out words. A grown-up approach is this border, which adds a smart detail to a monochrome bathroom.

8. Texture:
So much in a bathroom is flat and linear, but a textured tile brings relief, it creates shadows and gives the eye something to rest on.

9. Geometric:
Geometric patterns are really on trend and help create a feature in their own right. They may be laid put in an orderly fashion but the pink here adds a playful element to the angular pattern.

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