The attraction of having ceramic tiled floors in not only the bathroom and kitchen, where the moisture and stain resistant properties make them so practical, but in the main living areas of a home too, has become widespread. Phenomenally hard-wearing, easy to wash clean with a mop and available in ever-popular and convincingly realistic stone and wood effects, ceramic tiles work well, regardless of the age or style of your home.
Here we take a look at the current trends in floor tiles and pick out a few fashionable ideas you may like to consider.
Highly textured, slate-look porcelain tiles, such as the new Livingstone range, create a striking back-drop to a contemporary décor scheme. Livingstone features strong veining in a natural random patina, working well with fashionable, aged brass and iconic Scandinavian wooden furniture, and lends itself to an entrance hall.
Wood floors are a part of our heritage and never really go out of fashion. Ceramic tiles which replicate real wood, such as Wood-Ker and Memories, combine the natural appeal and subtle tones with the practicality of ceramic. The geometric designs of parquet wood flooring is making a come-back, natural floorboards appeal to those seeking a Scandinavian look, whilst polished oak proves timeless teamed with a contemporary rug.
Ever larger tiles
The uncluttered appeal of large format tiles is recognised with many of the new stone design tile collections, such as Sands, which emulates a Lake District slate and is available in a variable tile sizes up to 758 x 453mm. With few dividing grout lines to interrupt the natural patina of the floor or distract the eye, rooms can appear spacious, with clean lines and elegantly cool.
AWN Pugin (1812-1852) was an architect of repute in the 19th century and is acclaimed today, particularly for his churches. His passion was decorative gothic architecture, which he believed was the Christian form, and his style influence can be seen today in many of our church buildings, including the ornate encaustic and geometric tiled floors.
The Church of St. Thomas in Fulham is one such church. Built in 1848 by Pugin, the main sanctuary and hallways featured gothic inspired encaustic designs originally made by Craven Dunnill & Co and Minton Ltd. Some 160 years later Craven Dunnill Jackfield was commissioned to make a new sanctuary tiled floor featuring an Opus Sectile pattern – the tiles were hand-made using similar techniques to 1848, to match the original colours and reflect the original decorative style.
Up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne the Cathedral Church of St. Mary’s, another Pugin creation, has undergone major restoration in recent years. The entire tiled floor, including sanctuary, main aisle and two chapels, has been replaced with a highly decorative Pugin styled encaustic and geometric design. The Cathedral’s Architects created the design using traditional encaustic patterns from Craven Dunnill Jackfield’s archive catalogue – a rich design source for many a church restoration project.
Jackfield then translated the Architect’s designs into detailed CAD floor plans, carefully positioning the repeating patterns and each tile in relation to pillars, steps and other architectural features. They then hand produced the 11,835 encaustics and 36,862 hand-cut geometric tiles, in 70 different designs. Each tile is therefore unique, which means they vary in size and thickness – just like the original Victorian tiles.
Today, Craven Dunnill Jackfield is the only remaining manufacturer in the UK capable of making traditional encaustic tiles and has won several awards for its work on church and historical building restoration projects.
Exposed wood in the home is once again fashionable, favoured by many for its mellow, natural tones and textures. The “wood look” is now also emulated in other materials, including ceramics and plastics, extending its applications throughout the house into lighting, blinds and tiles.
The new, wood styled ceramic floor tiles look so realistic, they are easily mistaken for real wood; additionally, they are moisture and stain resistant and will not scuff or mark, despite heavy footfall and are ideal for underfloor heating.
In recent years, there have been major developments in printing ceramic tiles, and new technology has meant that a design such as a wood-grain can be replicated with all the random nuances of the original, natural material. Memories and Wood-Ker are two of the best examples in the marketplace: Memories resembles reclaimed timber floorboards, whilst Wood-Ker replicates the detailed shading of a sawn, natural timber plank, both available in a choice of hues and made from porcelain.
It is therefore possible to mix and match real wood with wood-look tiles within a home – choosing the practicality of tiles in rooms such as bathrooms, kitchens, utilities, conservatories and halls. Select the right range and you can also extend your wood-effect tiles out onto your patio, using a range such as Wood-Ker: the external tile has a slip resistant rating of R11 and provides a frost and fade resistant option.
Traditionally, mosaics were found in their millions lining swimming pools. However, today there is a fabulous choice of colours, materials, shapes and sizes, making mosaic tiles the perfect way to add eye-catching decorative detail to the home, on both walls and floors.
Our range includes hundreds of different mosaics and new designs are constantly being added. From the iridescent Murano Glass and Bronzelux ranges to exotic mother of pearl finish and the industrial-look Metalux range – mosaics make a fashionable stylish addition to bathrooms and kitchens.
A recent design trend is to create a unique, feature wall, providing contrast with surrounding plain field tiles. Likewise, their small size means mosaics are a practical solution for tiling tight or irregular shaped spaces, such as splashbacks or behind cookers.
They are also invaluable as a decorative detail within a plain tiled floor or defining a zone within a room, such as a wet room area within a bathroom. Many ranges are suitable for both the floor and the walls, creating a co-ordinated effect. However, if you plan to do this, do make sure you choose a range which is suitable for both – not all are. The textured surface of mosaics, created by the regular grout line, is also a useful anti-slip feature in wet areas such as showers and bathrooms.
And of course, mosaics are still used in and around swimming pools, but they need no longer be simply blue.
If you are looking to stamp your own style on your new bathroom or add an original decorative touch to your kitchen, then a feature tile wall will appeal. They make an attractive focal point to a room and need not be costly. Here are a few ideas, which you may like to adapt:
Contrast colours within a range
Create a pattern using a variety of colours from the same range and using the same sized tile. These Weekend Struttura wall tiles have an intresting, interwoven texture and come in a wide choice of colours, to create a contemporary feel.
Picture tile panels
Inserting a tiled picture panel into a blank canvas of plain, white field tiles has classical elegance and is simple to do. This Nuvole Lotus Flower design is achieved with a panel of three tiles.
The featured Heron Luxglass mosaics, in the central panel behind the basin, are supplied ready-made with the intriguing diagonal design and come as 300 x 300mm netted sheets – a quick way to introduce a designer feature.
Be brave with colour
A touch of colour strategically placed can add an exciting decorative element to a room, without being over-powering. Here, the vibrant red of Prisma is shown off to good effect by the contrasting white, enamel basin and reflected in the coloured towel. But overdo it!