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  1. Tiling for a Good Cause

    Tiling for a Good Cause

    At Tile Trader we feel it’s important for businesses to give something back to the community, so this autumn we’ve decided to give away up to £500 worth of tiles and accessories to help support one lucky community project. With minimum budget and often reliant on donations, many community spaces and facilities are all too often left untouched or neglected. We want to help inject life into a deserving community project or initiative using tiles – a material often used to revamp smaller spaces.

    Whether it’s the kitchen at your local drop in centre that needs a refresh or tired sports club toilets desperate for a makeover, enter our competition to be in with a chance of winning tiles and accessories to help make your community project dreams become reality. The tiles don’t have to be used for traditional purposes either – for example you could use them to create a feature such as a mural for a sensory garden. With our wide range of wall tiles, floor tiles and mosaics the possibilities are endless. 

    Anyone can nominate a deserving project or facility by visiting https://www.tiletrader.co.uk/tiling-for-a-good-cause. To nominate your space, just submit a short written entry describing how you would like the nominated space to be transformed with new tiles and your ideas to improve the space. Please also include a photograph or video to show us the existing space to update. 

    The prize will include brand new tiles and accompanying tiling materials worth up to £500. For full terms and conditions please click here.

    Nominations are open now and will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 15th November 2017. The entries will then be opened up for an online public vote between 12 noon Wednesday 15th November 2017 and 12 noon Wednesday 29th November 2017.

    Entries will be judged on the creativity of the written entry coupled with the online vote. The number of votes will be taken into consideration but will not be the deciding factor 

    A panel of expert judges – Karen Stylianides, editor for Grand Designs magazine, Michela Colling, style editor for Ideal Home magazine, and Cassie Fairy, home and interiors blogger and winner of the Tile Trader “Best Homes & Interiors blogger award” – will decide the overall winner which will be announced in November. 

    Stay up to date with the latest competition news by following Tile Trader on Twitter https://twitter.com/tile_trader and engage using the hashtag #TTgoodcause. 

    Good luck!

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  2. Get a fresh new look for less

    Now is the perfect time to refresh your home, whether it’s a quick lick of paint and a new tiled splashback or a full kitchen or bathroom renovation project. And with 30% off a selection of our favourite tiles, you can create a fresh new look without blowing your budget.

    For example, in our summer sale you could update your bathroom with a contemporary urban look using the Concrete range, which combines a 45x45cm porcelain floor tile with matching flat and structured 20x50cm wall tiles for a look that’s trend-led yet neutral enough to stand the test of time. With sale prices from just £1.02 per tile you could save over £100 on an average sized bathroom!

    From kitchen splashbacks to bathrooms and en suites, natural marble mosaics are great for adding a luxurious finishing touch. Create a beautiful premium look without the premium price tag with our selection of real marble mosaics from just £4.54 for a 30x30cm sheet. Featuring lots of natural shade and pattern variations for a unique look, they’re ideal for feature walls and splashbacks. Or if your budget can’t quite stretch to a full wall, why not cut a few sheets down to create borders between simple ceramic wall tiles such as our Hangar Pearl range, which is just £1.02 per tile in the summer sale. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to give your home a makeover.

    Glossy brick shaped tiles with a rustic, handmade appearance are very much on trend at the moment and are being used everywhere from classic kitchen splashbacks and bathroom walls to striking feature walls in dining rooms, cloakrooms and entrance halls. Get the look at a fraction of the price with our Country range, which now has 30% off. Available in a choice of 25x5cm or 50x5cm formats and a range of muted colours, it’s a great way to add style without breaking the bank, as prices start from as little as 25 pence per tile.

    The 30% discount is available for a limited time only, so don’t put off your project any longer. With the money you save on tiles you’ll be able to splash out a bit more on the finishing touches (or if you’re anything like me, you’ll put it towards a holiday!).

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  3. Tile Trader Article – Keep it simple (but not boring!) with white tiles

    Over recent years we’ve seen interior trends and tile designs becoming increasingly adventurous, with more and more customers choosing to make their home decor personal to them rather than a neutral blank canvas. But that doesn’t mean that the humble white tile has had its day.

    Classic white ceramic tiles are still the go-to choice for many people’s bathroom walls because they offer a clean, low maintenance finish that can easily be changed or updated by adding new bathroom accessories. A feature panel or border of mosaics can be used to add interest and stop an all white room looking too clinical.

    White ceramic wall tiles with a bevelled edge, such as our Metro or Frame ranges, are popular because they’re clean and neutral but the structured shape creates a pleasing added dimension. They can look especially effective when fixed in different layouts such as herringbone or paired with a contrasting grout colour.

    White tiles now come in many different shapes, sizes, textures and materials, making them anything but boring. For example our Starlight White Quartz tiles are made from natural quartz which is set with tiny pieces of mirrored glass that really glisten in the light, adding a luxurious feel to floors or walls in any room. If you like the sleekness of white quartz tiles but not the sparkle, then Super White polished porcelain tiles could be for you. Create a minimal look with these plain white wall and floor tiles that are incredibly hard wearing. Polished porcelain needs to be sealed before fixing but don’t worry, our handy calculator will work out exactly what sealer you should order for your chosen tiles. 

    For an on-trend look, why not use a white marble mosaic that combines different textures of stone, such as our hexagon or linear mosaics. The geometric shapes combined with a mixture of rough and smooth textures is very contemporary, yet the white colour palette keeps it subtle and timeless.

    With all things industrial being so fashionable at the moment, you might have seen lots of brick tiles (and wallpapers) around. A white reclaimed brick effect tile used on walls offers a nod to the trend without being too daring, and can give more of a Scandi look when paired with wood effect floor tiles. This look is great for kitchens but can also be extended into other spaces such as dining rooms or hallways. The same can be said of our Country range of rustic gloss wall tiles with a handmade appearance, which are available in white as well as subtle pastel shades. Their elongated 5x25cm ad 5x50cm formats make them ideal for creating kitchen splashbacks or feature walls with a vintage edge throughout the home.

    So as you can see, whilst bold geometrics, distressed woods and playful patterns are having their moment in the tile trend spotlight, the simple white tile should not be overlooked when planning your new design scheme. Why not order some samples today and see for yourself how creative you can be with white.

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  4. And the winner is.....

    We’re big fans of interiors blogs at Tile Trader, so in February we launched our search to find the nation’s best homes and interiors blogger. We asked you to vote for your favourite from a shortlist of bloggers and you didn’t disappoint – there were hundreds of votes cast before the deadline on 6th March.

    In second place with 78 votes was Charlotte O’Shea’s popular Rock my Style blog (http://rockmystyle.co.uk), but with a whopping 122 votes the winner was Cassie Fairy, whose My Thrifty Life blog (www.cassiefairy.com) offers readers ideas and inspiration on everything from DIY projects to money saving tips. 

    As well as winning a commemorative glass plaque, which now takes pride of place on her mantelpiece, Cassie also won a £200 donation to a homelessness charity in her local area of Suffolk. Cassie chose to boost the funds of The Bus Shelter – a brand new support service that is renovating a double decker bus to turn it into a safe space for rough sleepers to stay. As the charity’s motto says, ‘sleep is just the beginning’, and the bus will also offer advice, cooking and washing facilities and ongoing support. We’re delighted that as well as highlighting all the brilliant homes and interiors bloggers the UK has to offer, the Tile Trader Best Interiors Blog Awards has also been able to help such an interesting and inspirational charity project.

    Thank you to everyone who voted in the awards or joined the conversation on twitter (#TTBestInteriorsBlog). We hope you’ll continue to be inspired by homes and interiors blogs, including of course our own blog which will be updated again soon with lots more inspiration and advice about kitchen and bathroom tiles, wall tiles, floor tiles and mosaics.

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  5. Fresh new looks for the New Year

    Fresh new looks for the New Year

    Many people like to have a fresh start and make changes in January – getting fit, eating more healthily, planning to visit new countries. The New Year is also the perfect time to give your home a makeover, and even if you haven’t got the budget for a completely new kitchen or bathroom it’s amazing what a difference a change of tiles can make. Here we take a look at some of the biggest design trends for 2017 to provide some inspiration for the year ahead.

    Natural beauty

    Calming shades of green, white and cream are the perfect choice for creating a fresh new look that brings elements of nature into your home – why not try our Country tiles in Sage or Cream. Combining ceramic or porcelain tiles in soft shades with wood effect tiles can create a serene space in any room, whilst adding natural elements such as mosaics made from real stone or mother of pearl to your bathroom will really help to give it a tranquil, spa-like feel. Finish the look with plenty of plants in simple ceramic pots and accessories that feature natural motifs such as leaf prints.

    Industrial heritage

    Industrial was a key trend for 2016 that looks set to develop even further this year. In contrast to the natural trend, industrial has a more manmade aesthetic, featuring combinations of concrete, bare plaster, distressed paint effects and reclaimed wood. The aged and distressed feel softens the look and stops it being too harsh for use in the home. Why not recreate the look with our Kunny vintage wood effect tiles and Concrete grey floor tiles. Vintage style tiles such as Metro also feature in this trend, and they look especially effective when teamed with a contrasting grout colour.

    Tactile textures

    If you want to give your bathroom a clean, contemporary look but without it looking too plain then adding some structured décor tiles to your walls is the ideal solution. Designed to co-ordinate with matching flat tiles, our structured tiles can be used to create feature walls or borders that add some on-trend texture to your walls. They’re available in a range of subtle shades and patterns in contemporary elongated formats, such as our Icon 30x90cm geometric structure decors or Sutton 33x100cm linear decors. Natural stone split face tiles are another option for adding textural interest to your walls, and they’re great for creating a style statement on chimney breasts or in dining rooms or hallways, as well as the more traditional areas.

    Honeycomb

    The trend for hexagons used in interior design continues to go from strength to strength. You can get the look with our range of hexagon mosaics made from natural marble. For a subtle finish try our polished marble hexagon mosaics or tick several design trend boxes at once with our white marble hexagon mosaic, which features mixed textures and finishes for added interest. All our hexagon mosaics can be used on floors as well as walls, so they’re perfect for everything from wet room floors to kitchen splashbacks.

    For more design ideas and inspiration why not follow us on Pinterest, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you plan your new look.

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  6. Mosaics - how will you use yours?

    Mosaics - how will you use yours?

    Mosaics are incredibly versatile and can be used to bring any room to life, whether you’re looking for a subtle splash of colour, a contrasting texture or striking metallic accents. Made up of individual pieces of glass, stone or metal held together on a mesh backing, the choice of designs is huge and there are lots of ways you can use them.

    Full walls or splashbacks

    One of the most simple yet effective ways to use mosaics is to tile entire bathroom walls or kitchen splashbacks with them. Because the mesh backing can easily be cut to size they’re ideal for fitting into awkward spaces, such as around kitchen units or in alcoves. For a neutral finish natural stone mosaics in marble or travertine are the perfect choice, and they come in a wide range of shapes from small bricks to on-trend hexagons. Mosaics that combine different textures are very popular right now, like our White Marble Mix Finish Hexagon. Glass mosaics such as our Iridescent Diesel or Pearl Mosaics offer a luxurious finish that will add a real wow factor to walls in any room, whilst modular mosaics such as our Mercury Modular Mix are a popular choice for contemporary splashbacks.

    Feature floors

    Natural stone mosaics are suitable for floor as well as walls, and they’re ideal for bathrooms or wet rooms as the grout lines provide extra grip. Why not use marble or travertine mosaics to zone different areas of a room – for example on the floor and walls of the shower area in a wet room. Natural stone mosaics can also be used on hallway or conservatory floors to create a practical yet striking entrance, which works particularly well in a country cottage or period property. Please remember that natural stone mosaics should be sealed before and after fixing to ensure they retain their good looks.

    Borders and features 

    One of the most popular ways of using mosaics in bathrooms is to cut them into strips to create borders or feature panels between ceramic or porcelain wall tiles. This allows you to personalise your bathroom design without blowing your budget as just a few sheets can make a big difference. Linear mosaics such as our Glass & Stone Fusion mosaic are the ideal choice for borders or feature strips as they can be used either horizontally or vertically and their neutral tones will blend well with a variety of different tiles. For a bolder look, why not team a colourful or iridescent glass mosaic with plain wall tiles? 

    For a classic style, run a horizontal border around the full circumference of the walls just below mid height with ceramic or porcelain wall tiles above and below. For a more contemporary finish, use full sheets of mosaic to create eye catching feature panels, for example running vertically behind the sink or in the shower enclosure. Many modern bathrooms now have built in storage alcoves in the walls, which are the ideal place to add a touch of colour, shine or texture with a mosaic that co-ordinates with the overall colour scheme but adds a point of interest.

    Be creative!

    Mosaic tiles aren’t just for bathrooms or kitchens, any room can be transformed with them. You can even use mosaics to transform furniture and create something unique, such as a mosaic tiled table top, shelves or a vanity unit. Small square mosaics can also be used to tile curved walls or objects, making them even more versatile. The only limit is your imagination, but if you’re stuck for ideas sites such as Pinterest are a great place to look for inspiration. Have fun and make your room truly personal to you with our wide range of mosaics.

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  7. Whats the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    Whats the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    When you’re choosing wall or floor tiles for your home you will no doubt come across references to ceramic and porcelain, but you may not fully understand what they both mean. So this week I thought it would be helpful to try and answer one of the questions we’re most frequently asked – what is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tiles?

    Ceramic Tiles 

    Ceramic tile production is made up of many processes, but to put it simply, raw ingredients such as clay and sand are mixed together and pressed into the shape of a tile using extreme pressure. The tiles are then fired in a kiln at very high temperatures to create a plain base tile, also known as a bisque or biscuit. The biscuit is coated with glaze to give it its colour or pattern, then it’s fired again to set the glaze. The glaze coating on the finished tile makes the front surface waterproof, although the back of the ceramic tile is still porous which is why the gaps in between tiles have to be grouted to ensure no water can get through.

    Ceramic tiles come in lots of different shapes, sizes, patterns and finishes, from small glossy tiles with a bevelled edge like our Metro range, to large format 33x100cm wall tiles with a matte finish like our Sutton range. It is possible for a texture or structure to be pressed into the tile during the production process, which creates feature tiles with a 3D finish such as our Icon Grey decors or Java Wave wall tiles.

    Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for domestic interiors, particularly for bathroom and kitchen walls. Many ceramic tiles are also suitable for floors, particularly for low traffic areas. They’re easy to cut, install and maintain and offer excellent value for money.

    Porcelain Tiles 

    There are two different types of porcelain tiles – glazed porcelain and through bodied (also known as full bodied) porcelain.

    Glazed porcelain tiles are made in a similar way to ceramic tiles, but the ingredients contain finer porcelain clays and they’re often fired at higher temperatures. This makes porcelain tiles more dense and less porous than ceramic tiles, and they are therefore more hard wearing and suitable for both floors and walls in any room. As glazed porcelain tiles are glazed in the same way as ceramic tiles, the choice of colours, patterns and finishes is just as varied. They also come in larger formats such as 60x60cm, like our contemporary concrete effect Porto range of porcelain floor tiles.

    Through bodied porcelain tiles are made using a similar method but instead of having a glaze applied to the surface of the tile, the colour or pattern forms part of the body of the tile due to the mixture of ingredients. This makes them even more hard wearing than glazed tiles as there is no glaze to wear away, and in the unlikely event that a tile does become chipped, the visible tile underneath will be the same colour as the surface so it won’t be as noticeable. The choice of patterns is much more limited though, and they are often plain colours or gently speckled. Through bodied porcelain are often polished to give a very shiny surface, such as our Super Black and Super White polished porcelain tiles

    So which should I choose?

    For domestic interiors it doesn’t matter too much, especially if you’re buying wall tiles, so the choice will be based more on which designs you prefer and what your budget is. If you’re buying floor tiles for high traffic areas such as a hallway or kitchen you may prefer to choose porcelain tiles as they’re more hardwearing, though for a bathroom where most of the traffic will be bare foot ceramic tiles are perfectly acceptable.

    I hope this helps to answer the common question of ceramic versus porcelain, but if you’d like any more help and advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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  8. Top Tips For Tiling Your Kitchen

    Top Tips For Tiling Your Kitchen

    Second only to bathrooms, the kitchen is one of the most popular places for using tiles. Because they’re hard wearing and easy to clean, tiles are the ideal choice for busy areas such as kitchen floors and walls that are likely to get splattered and splashed during cooking or washing up. However with more shapes, sizes and designs to choose from than ever before, tiles are no longer just a practical wall covering, they’re also an integral part of interior design and can have a dramatic effect on the overall look of your kitchen.

    Here are our top tips to help you choose the tiles that are just right for you. 

    Size doesn’t matter…

    At least not when it comes to choosing kitchen wall tiles anyway. Traditionally, kitchen wall tiles have come in smaller sizes such as 10x10 and 7.5x15cm. These are still popular today and have the advantage of fitting easily into small spaces, but they’re not the only options. Larger and more elongated rectangle formats have grown in popularity over recent years, and now we’re seeing sizes such as 5x20cm and even 5x50cm being used for kitchen walls and splashbacks. Larger plank formats such as 17.5x50cm are also popular, especially in wood effect designs, and can be used on kitchen walls and floors to create a real style statement.

    Traditional vs contemporary

    The lines between traditional and contemporary have been somewhat blurred as traditional style kitchens such as painted and framed shaker style doors have become one of the most contemporary styles around, no longer aimed only at country cottages. As there’s been an increase in classic kitchen styles being given a modern twist, so too has there been a rise in the popularity of traditional rustic brick shaped tiles such as our Country range. With a high gloss finish, muted colour palette and handmade appearance, these kitchen wall tiles are equally at home in traditional or modern kitchens and are right on trend.

    Similarly, our Metro tiles are perfect for kitchen walls and can be used in either a traditional or modern setting. For example, Metro tiles in Sage, Light Grey or Almond will perfectly complement classic country kitchens, or for more modern minimal kitchens, Metro Black, White or Teal will provide a dramatic finishing touch.

    Think about pattern

    Whilst patterned kitchen wall tiles are having their moment in the spotlight, they’re not for the feint hearted. If you want to create interest on your walls without committing to patterned tiles, why not opt for plain kitchen wall tiles but lay them in a more interesting pattern such as herringbone, as demonstrated with our Country White 5x25cm wall tiles. The herringbone pattern can be used with any tile that has one side at least double the length of the other, so it can work with 10x20cm Metro tiles too. Tiling elongated shapes in a random linear offset pattern, like the Country White 5x50cm wall tiles, will also give an interesting finish. Using a contrasting grout colour really helps to highlight the pattern and add a contemporary edge. 

    Consider mosaics

    Mosaic tiles are ideal for kitchen walls as the mesh backing can easily be cut to fit into small spaces or around awkward shapes. They come in a plethora of materials, shapes, sizes and colours, offering plenty of design options.

    Natural stone mosaics are always a popular choice for kitchens as their neutral colour palette works well with a wide range of kitchen styles, and if they’re installed correctly (don’t forget to seal them) they’ll retain their natural beauty for many years. Stone mosaics don’t have to be simple squares, why not try an on-trend hexagon shape in either a polished finish or a combination of different finishes, such as our Vanilla Cream Polished Marble Hexagon Mosaic or White Marble Mix Finish Hexagon Mosaic. If you want to add a splash of colour or a metallic accent, glass or mixed mosaics are the ideal choice. Why not browse our extensive collection of mosaics and be inspired.

    Don’t forget the floor

    Whilst kitchen wall tiles can be used to create a real style statement, don’t overlook the impact your kitchen floor tiles can have on the overall finish of the room. As with wall tiles, although classic square floor tiles in sizes such as 33x33cm remain a practical and popular choice, the trend for larger sizes continues onto the floor. Larger floor tiles such as 45x45cm or even 60x60cm will give your kitchen floor a seamless look as there will be fewer grout lines. Elongated plank shaped tiles such as 17.5x50cm or 20x114cm are also ideal for kitchen floors and they can be laid in a variety of different ways. In a larger space a herringbone or diagonal pattern will give a striking look, whilst in a narrow space laying the tiles so the longest side of the tile runs in the same direction as the shortest side of the room will make the kitchen appear wider.

    Glazed porcelain tiles are hard wearing, simple to install and easy to clean, and they come in a huge choice of patterns. Stone effect tiles will give a classic, neutral look, whilst for a more contemporary urban finish concrete or distressed wood effect tiles are incredibly popular. For a sleek, high end finish our Polished Porcelain or sparkling Quartz tiles are the ideal choice, and they’ll look great with glossy black or white worktops.

    The choice is yours!

    You’ll probably spend quite a bit of time choosing your kitchen units and worktops, so it makes sense to put thought into your tiles too. There are no set rules when it comes to which tiles will work with which style of kitchen, or even which wall tiles and floor tiles look good together - it really comes down to your own personal taste. Sites such as Pinterest or home interiors magazines are a great place to start for inspiration, and ordering samples of tiles to look at in your home is always a good idea. If you’d like any advice or samples please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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  9. Rustic Tiles

    Rustic Tiles

    If you want your home to look fresh and contemporary but not necessarily sleek and minimal then why not consider using rustic ceramic wall tiles with a handmade appearance to create a lived in, homely feel? Anything with a retro or vintage feel is big news in interior design at the moment, along with items that look hand crafted, so these tiles tick both boxes and will ensure your kitchen or bathroom is on-trend.

    With a rich glossy finish and gently undulating surface, our Country range replicates hand crafted artisan tiles and the 10mm thickness gives a real feel of quality. As they’re ceramic they’re easy to install and maintain and give walls a practical, easy to clean finish. The most traditional size for this type of tile is a 7.5x15cm brick format, which remains a firm favourite, but as the style has seen a resurgence in popularity over recent years new elongated formats have also been added, such as 25x5cm or even 50x5cm.

    Rustic gloss wall tiles are more versatile than they may initially seem. Their small format makes them ideal for kitchen splashbacks and they perfectly complement classic country and painted Shaker style kitchens, however they can also be used to give more modern and minimal kitchens a contemporary vintage twist. Paired with reclaimed wood and concrete (or wood and concrete effect tiles of course), they can be styled to create the industrial look that is so popular at the moment. For a softer, more homely style combine them with wooden accessories and splashes of pastel colours.

    Not just for kitchens, rustic tiles also look stunning on bathroom walls. They can be used behind a sink to create a simple splashback, tiled part way up the wall with a painted area above, or even used floor to ceiling. They look equally effective whether they’re used with a traditional freestanding claw foot bath or a more modern suite. Dining rooms, hallways and even living rooms can be dressed up with our Country range of tiles.

    White and cream are the most common colours for this style of tile, but we’re increasingly seeing other hues being introduced too. Grey is one of the hottest interior colours of 2016 and this style of tile really lends itself to either light or dark shades of grey. Other colours such as sage and duck egg also work well in this style, especially when they’re muted with slightly grey undertones. A contrasting grout colour can help to accentuate the rustic finish, for example using dark grey grout with white tiles creates a striking feature. It’s also very practical for kitchen walls as darker grout won’t show dirt as much as white grout. 

    Brick shaped tiles are classically laid in a landscape brick bond pattern, where each tile is offset half the width of the tile above. However this isn’t the only option for this type of tile – other layout patterns such as herringbone, portrait or even diagonal will look just as effective and can transform a classic tile into a contemporary design statement. For more inspiration on how to use these popular and versatile tiles why not have a look at our Tile Trends – Rustic Country Pinterest board and start planning your own dream kitchen or bathroom.

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