One of my favourite parts of designing a home is choosing the right tiles. The right tiling can completely transform the entire feel of a room and home, and with the exciting new developments in ceramic, porcelain, glass and even plastic technology, any atmosphere can be created. Cosy, modernist, retro, Scandi chic, bold, dramatic, even sci-fi... anything and everything is possible.
Take bathroom tiles. Long gone are the days where you choose your standard little square tiles of one colour, and dot about a half dozen patterned tiles about for contrast. While small mosaic border tiles are still very popular around features such as baths, shower fittings, and above sinks, many people are choosing much larger tiles to completely cover their floors and walls. Giant stone tiles of any design have a calming, relaxing effect, and immediately turn your bathroom into a luxurious space. There's also the added bonus of giving you less grout to clean!
Marble vein threading patterns can also give your bathroom a touch of the grand, with a feel indistinguishable from real marble but at a fraction of the cost... while a grey slate effect or the (now very common) warm coloured natural sand stone tiles give your bathroom a timeless, classy canvas to which you can add any style of bathroom furniture and fittings.
The urban, industrial look is very on-trend right now too, and large concrete tiles can look fantastic in any size of bathroom or kitchen. We love the porcelain Melange concrete effect tiles (pictured above, left), with a natural uniqueness to each tile. Modern, calm, luxurious but with a touch of warmth, we've used them in a number of properties.
Think a little outside the box and you can create something really unique and eye-catching in the smallest of spaces - maybe mix and match patterned tiles you've found of the same colour for an off-beat shabby chic effect. Or use a patchwork quilt of completely different patterned tiles for a boho, charming, and completely original room.
If you really want that WOW factor, you can splash out on the relatively small space of the floor tiles, with a luxury wood, concrete, marble or designer tile, or mix and match different tile designs perhaps... then use the much cheaper standard Victorian WC tiles for the large wall space. The eye will be drawn to the statement tile, but for very little money. And for those who like the brightness of the simple white tile look, try grey grout, instead of the standard white. It will add a modern feel, while saving you a lot of time bleaching the stains out of the white grout!
The beauty of the WC is you can really go to town in such a small space whatever your budget. Large 60 x 60cm tiles are frequently the norm for modern bathrooms with a concrete or stone theme, but the latest tiles come in a huge 120cm height... meaning you can fill the whole bottom half of your walls with one tile - and no grout! - while you can go to town above it with whatever covering you like: calm paint colours, funky wallpaper, mirrored glass or even wooden paneling.
Underfloor heating pads are becoming increasingly popular too, and these go very well with the new porcelain wood-effect tiles being produced. The latest look incredibly close to the real thing, and even have the same feel, but unlike wood, they won't scratch, dent or fade... and teamed with heating mats underneath, will give you the ultimate in comfort in your kitchen, bathroom, or even bedroom and hall.
For the adventurous, seek out the newest tile designs now entering the market: metallic, textured tiles, look fantastic as kitchen splashbacks, or to make a little WC pack a punch! You can pick out little features of your home, such as fireplaces, windowsills, hearths, or alcoves, with Victorian reproduction patterns, reclaimed antique tiles, hand painted originals, or even glass.