WORDS Anya Kussler
We graduate from traditional tile style and delve deep into the depths of modern mosaics and maximalist interiors. With the re-birth of industrial living, the household tile in interior living is bigger and better than ever, with more than meets the eye at every small square or hexagonal brick.
Tessellated mosaics – in square, rectangular or hexagonal shapes and a plethora of designs – pack a punch when it comes to creating a statement. A more neutral, uniform tile choice – for example monochrome hexagonal tiles – will add oomph to a predominantly white, modern bathroom wall, or kitchen splash back.
A bolder choice is the Moroccan clay tiles that are currently making a welcome comeback to the interior design scene. Offering a refreshing change from minimalist modern styles, these hand-made clay tiles typically feature intricate geometric Arabian patterns and they work a treat in and on everything from kitchen floors and splash backs to bathroom walls and floors, showers, swimming pool areas, terrace floors, stairs and fireplaces.
Industrial chic never gets old! Think metallic tiles, such as copper and brass, to instil magical touches in a bathroom or kitchen, or distressed tiles with an uneven colour that add drama and a fashionably ‘aged’ look to a functional space. Up until now, blue, brown and rust shades in varying depths have proven popular, but the latest ranges are a little subtler, blending metallic shine with linear patterns (think brushed steel as a funky floor covering).
Tiles that replicate smooth cement create a sleek, elegant look that’s the perfect fit for many of our clean-lined contemporary homes. Low maintenance and affordable, their neutral aspect makes them easy to pair with any décor style in most living spaces, from lounges and kitchens through to bathrooms. Like Carrara tiles, they now come in large sizes (up to 1200mm x 1200mm), which significantly reduces the number of joins and creates a seamless look.
Italian marble adds a sense of luxury to bathrooms, fireplace surrounds, kitchen bench tops and splash backs. Marble is pricey though and also prone to staining when exposed to many materials, making it difficult to maintain.
Enter the Carrara imitation porcelain tile, offering the sophisticated look and feel of natural stone but at a much lower cost. What’s more, it doesn’t need sealing and the tiles are uniform in depth, allowing a cost-effective, thin-set installation.
White in colour and sporting distinctive fine, delicate grey veining, Carrara porcelain tiles are aesthetically pleasing and lend themselves to the larger tile formats that are currently de rigueur, especially on bathroom floors and walls, or floor areas in larger areas like entrance ways.
Textural tiles, conventionally used outdoors (in split stone for example) are now available in tile format for indoors. Highly affordable, textural tiles feature soft edges and subtler hues than their outdoor counterparts, and they have a three-dimensional rather than a flat feel.
There’s a broad spectrum of textures to choose from, including small metallic squared wall tiles, soft wavy textures, geometric shapes (ideal for giving older spaces some modern zing) or clean, linear tiles that have a stone-like effect. They look great on feature walls in kitchens and bathrooms, but also other areas of the home.
Hard to distinguish from the real thing, imitation brick cladding is another textural option – perfect for creating that groovy, timeless New York subway ambience. A top choice in this department is the matte white ‘aged look’ brick tile that’s ideal for general walls, but they’re also available in a wide range of bright, punchy colours to use on feature walls.
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