These days, you can forget about bland and boring plain white tiles. Whether you’re brightening up the bathroom, cleaning up the kitchen or choosing new flooring for your home, the possibilities and finishes are endless. If you like the natural look, you’ll be thrilled by the choice of slate, travertine, limestone and granite, or if colour is more your thing, you’ll be spoilt for choice with tiles in all shades of the rainbow.
But before you have fun picking out patterns and designs, you need to think about what type of tile is suitable for the area you are decorating:
You really can’t go wrong with a high quality ceramic tile. They are hard wearing, tough, and easy to look after, no matter what the surface. Suitable for walls, worktops and floors, they are perfect for bathrooms and kitchens as they are also water resistant.
Ceramic tiles might also be described as porcelain tiles, and the difference is how much water the tile absorbs. Porcelain tiles absorb water much more slowly and are far more suitable for bathrooms and wet rooms.
If you’re going to use ceramic tiles on the floor, do check that you’ve picked up tiles which are made for floor use. Wall tiles will be thinner and not robust enough to use on the floor, particularly not in high use areas.
Mosaic tiles are only either 1” x 1” or 2” x 2” and are mostly used for walls and backsplashes. For something a little different and very modern, try glass mosaic which will bring light into a darker room.
Quarry tiles are unglazed and you might want to choose to seal the surface to aid with cleaning. Perfect for flooring, these tiles are non-slip and highly durable.
Natural Stone Tiles
You might think only of traditional stone paving slabs when you think of natural stone tiles, but there is variety here, too.
If you really want to push the boat out, you could have marble countertops and tiles. You could even use marble for flooring but it’s best not to use it in the kitchen unless you take the time to seal it and maintain it regularly.
Limestone and travertine are other options for flooring, but they can be scratched and stained, so it’s best not to use either one in the kitchen or bathroom, or in areas which are high use.
Slate can give a beautiful finish and is naturally rough unless finished to be smooth, which makes it a good non-slip flooring which will work brilliantly in the kitchen and is durable enough for high use areas.
Granite can give a high-end finish to any kitchen, with its gorgeous veins and speckles, making each piece unique. Once polished, you’ve very little chance that it will get scratched and it is incredibly hard wearing.
While perhaps not what you’d immediately think of when you think of tiles, you can also buy cork, lino or vinyl tiles which are easy to fit and comfortable to walk on.
From the tiniest square mosaic tiles, to huge slabs of granite, tiles really do come in all shapes and sizes. Square and rectangular tiles are obviously the easiest to measure and fit, but if you use a professional tiler, there’s nothing to stop you going all out with circular tiles and geometric shapes, from diamonds to hexagons.
Go for something really unusual with shapes from a specialist maker. The limit here really is only your imagination, with fish, stars, ovals, arabesques and more.
If you're spending all that money redoing your floors, before you put the tiles down is the perfect time to consider whether underfloor heating might suit you.
While it does take a little longer to heat through, underfloor heating does have advantages over traditional radiators.
You’re not just relying on wall-mounted radiators only in certain parts of the room for your heat – the whole floor is your heater, so you’ll get even, consistent heat throughout the room.
And if you don’t need radiators any more, you’ve more room to plan furniture and art work without having to take radiators (which may not be particularly attractive) into account.
With such a wide variety of tiles and shapes available - not just for walls, but for floors, too, you can easily add a fresh new style to your home that’s original, creative, and fits your personality. The only problem you might have is how to pick only one look from all that choice!
Why not visit Appleby’s Tiles collections and explore the possibilities for your home?