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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Recently I’ve been looking back at when I first joined the tile industry many years ago and thinking about how much has changed since then. One of the things that struck me is just how much more choice there now is in terms of floor tile designs. Go back a decade and many people buying floor tiles would have opted for a 30x30cm square floor tile in a simple grey or beige stone effect, but now larger sizes and more adventurous designs and patterns are widely available and incredibly popular.
Natural stone effect tiles are still a favourite with many of our customers and as tile manufacturing technology has advanced to HD inkjet printing they are now more lifelike than ever before. For example our new Lucia Gris floor tile replicates the look of natural stone but in hard wearing, low maintenance ceramic. Many stone effect floor tiles are available with matching wall tiles, such as our Java range, which comes in four colour options, and features co-ordinating wall, floor and wave structured tiles.
One of the biggest developments over the last few years has been the growing popularity of wood effect tiles. Again, HD inkjet printing technology has really helped to make ceramic and porcelain tiles a viable alternative to real wood or laminate, as they can offer realistic woodgrain textures with shade and pattern variations that look just like the real thing. Plank shaped floor tiles come in a wide range of colours and finishes, from the classic look of our Niove or Drake wood effect ranges to the more rustic, industrial feel of the Kunny range which gives the appearance of vintage reclaimed wood flooring.
It’s not just wood effects that come in plank formats either. Marble replicas such as our Calcutta and Marmy floor tiles in a 20x114cm size will give any room a striking contemporary look, showing just how far floor tiles have come since the ubiquitous 30x30cm format.
There was a time when decorating your home was all about keeping it neutral, but over recent years people have become more adventurous with their interior design choices to make their home reflect their own personal style. Patterned floor tiles are one example of this – they’re the ideal way to add character to floors throughout the home, from hallways to bathrooms – and a simple Pinterest search for ‘floor tiles’ will show just how popular patterned floors have become. Look out for our Lafayette patterned floor tile range coming soon.
Whilst porcelain and ceramic are the most common materials for floor tiles thanks to their durability and practicality, natural stone tiles can be used to add a touch of natural beauty to kitchens, bathrooms, hallways, conservatories and even living rooms. Natural stone floor tiles are great for period properties, especially cottages, as their natural variations in shade, pattern and texture give them a rustic charm and sense of history, with each tile coming from a block of stone that was formed underground over thousands of years. Slate, Travertine and Marble are particularly popular for floor tiles. Natural stone mosaics can also be used as flooring and are a great choice for wetroom floors, as they can easily be sloped towards a drain and the grout lines provided added grip.
Quartz floor tiles are another popular choice that have been around for a while but show no signs of disappearing. Made from a combination of natural quartz and small pieces of mirrored glass set in resin, they can create a dramatic statement on floors throughout the home as they sparkle in the light. Available in black, white and grey colour options, they’re especially popular in kitchens where they can be used to co-ordinate with worktops.
It’s not just the variety of floor tiles available that’s changed over the years, it’s also the way floor tiles are being used. Tiled floors in bathrooms and kitchens are so commonplace now that it’s hard to believe that there was a time when people would have chosen carpet for their bathroom or kitchen. As the use of floor tiles in bathrooms and kitchens has become the norm, their use in other rooms has also increased. Because floor tiles are hard wearing and easy to clean they’re especially practical in rooms with heavy footfall or that link directly to the outside such as hallways and conservatories. And with advances in underfloor heating technology there’s now no reason why dining rooms, living rooms and even bedrooms can’t be tiled. Don’t forget that most floor tiles can also be used on walls, which opens up the design possibilities even further.
Whatever you’re searching for, I hope you enjoy looking through our wide range of floor tiles to find the one that’s just right for you. Don’t forget you can contact us through online chat, email or phone if you need any help or advice.
When it comes to choosing bathroom tiles, one of the questions we’re often asked is whether to use the same colour and style of tile throughout the whole room or to combine contrasting tiles, for example with a darker tile on the floor and lighter on the walls. The simple answer is that there’s no right or wrong when deciding whether to mix or match, it really comes down to your own personal taste. But to try and help, here we take a look at both options.
Mix it up
Combining different tiles within your bathroom can add interest to the design and allow you to create a more obvious style statement. One of the simplest ways to mix different tiles is to choose the same design but use different shades to add contrast. For example, you could choose our Hangar range of porcelain tiles and use the darker Grey colour on the floor and the lighter Pearl shade on the walls. Or even use a mix of both shades on the walls, perhaps with three walls in one colour and one feature wall in a different yet complementary shade. There are sometimes practical considerations when deciding whether to mix or match. For example in a busy family bathroom you may want to stick with simple white gloss tiles on your walls but use a darker tile, matt finish tile on the floor as it won’t show up dirt as much and provides a more slip-resistant finish.
For a subtle yet sophisticated mix and match bathroom design you could combine the same tile in different finishes. At Tile Trader we visit many international tiles and interiors trade shows, and this is a trend that we’ve really seen developing over the last couple of years. For example, combining the gloss and matt options of our Calcutta or Marmy elongated 20x114cm plank ranges would give your bathroom a stunning finish, reminiscent of a high end boutique hotel.
For even more contrast you could select tiles from completely different ranges to create your own unique look. For example you could give your bathroom a contemporary industrial feel by mixing distressed wood effect tiles, concrete effect tiles and white or cream Metro or Country tiles in a retro brick shape. You can even mix tiles in different materials. A natural stone split face feature wall in your bathroom will look really striking against a simple ceramic or porcelain tile. Just make sure you read the specification details of the tiles you’re selecting to check they’re suitable for floors, wet areas etc.
Mosaics offer even more options when it comes to mixing up colours, style and textures, and they’re a great way to create features or highlight different zones within your bathroom. A vertical strip of mosaics behind your sink, toilet or shower can really bring your bathroom to life.
Make it match
If you prefer to play it safe and keep all your bathroom tiles co-ordinated, we have plenty of ranges to choose from which can either be used on both the walls and floor, or that offer matching wall tiles and floor tiles in different sizes. And remember, safe doesn’t mean boring. Using the same tile design throughout your entire bathroom can give a really stunning premium look. It can also help to make small spaces appear bigger, especially if you choose a light coloured tile with a gloss finish.
Natural stone effect tiles are one of the most popular styles for using throughout the bathroom. Our Java range comes in a choice of different stone effect patterns that look just like real stone but offer all the practical benefits of porcelain and ceramic tiles. By combining the gloss ceramic wall tiles with matching satin finish porcelain floor tiles you can create a fully co-ordinated look but with the added safety of having a satin finish on the floor rather than gloss.
Even when you choose to tile your bathroom with just one design, you can still add interest with contrasting textures. For example our Java, Tones and Hangar ranges all feature co-ordinating structured wall tiles. Printed with the same design as the flat wall tiles but with a structured finish, they’re ideal for creating contemporary borders or feature walls.
As you can see there are almost endless possibilities and both options have their benefits. For inspiration, home interiors magazines and Pinterest are always a good place to start. Find images of other people’s bathrooms that are in tune with your own personal style and take note of whether they’ve used the same tile throughout or combined different styles. Although the amount of options may seem daunting at first you’ll soon get a feel for which style you prefer. Then once you’ve got a style in mind and have found tiles that could fit the bill, it’s always wise to order samples so you can have a look at how the different combinations work in real life. Good luck with choosing your bathroom tiles, and if you’d like any advice we’re always here to help – just send us an email, give us a call or use our live chat facility and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
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.
Metro tiles are one of our most popular ranges and it’s not hard to see why. They offer a contemporary style with a retro twist and add a practical yet stylish finishing touch to kitchen and bathroom walls.
Inspired by the traditional ceramic wall tiles used in underground stations in London, New York and Paris, Metro tiles are also sometimes referred to as subway tiles. The classic style has a bevelled edge, giving it a pleasing 3D finish which catches the light. Our Metro tiles are available in a wide range of colours, from timeless white, black and cream to contemporary grey, plum teal and sage. To create a real style statement, why not mix more than one colour in the same room?
If you like the small format look but would prefer something a little more rustic, then our Country range could be the one for you. Suitable for both kitchens and bathrooms and available in a choice of sizes and subtle shades, they offer a similar feel to Metro tiles but with a rustic handmade appearance.
The small 10x20cm format of Metro tiles makes them perfect for kitchen splashbacks, but they look just as good in bathrooms too. Their simple, versatile style means that they can be used to create either modern or traditional interior designs depending on your personal taste. For example, sage Metro tiles perfectly complement a classic country kitchen with painted timber doors and cream or wooden worktops, whilst pairing white Metro tiles with distressed wood or concrete effect floor tiles gives a contemporary industrial feel.
The possibilities of which floor tile to use with Metro are almost endless as they co-ordinate with everything from classic natural travertine or limestone floor tiles, to wood effect porcelain, to high gloss polished porcelain. To help you choose your favourite combination, why not order a few samples to select from in the comfort of your own home?
The traditional way to fix Metro tiles is in a brick bond style, but there are lots of other options to choose from if you want to create something more daring. The herringbone layout is a key tiling trend for 2016 that works perfectly with Metro tiles, either laid horizontally/vertically or diagonally. Another current trend is for using a contrasting grout colour to make a feature of the joints – for example using grey grout with white Metro tiles adds a contemporary twist and looks especially striking when teamed with grey floor tiles.
Offering a surface that’s simple to install, hard wearing and easy to clean, as well as being incredibly versatile and stylish, it’s not surprising that Metro tiles are a perennial favourite with our customers. If it’s a style that captures your imagination, have a look through our extensive range to see how Metro tiles could work in your home.
With more designs to choose from than ever before, wood effect tiles are a huge interior design trend for 2016 and beyond. Thanks to advances in high definition inkjet tile printing, wood effect tiles offer the look and feel of real wood but with all the practical benefits of ceramic and porcelain. For example, wood and laminate flooring often aren’t recommended for use in wet areas as the wood may warp, but all our wood effect tiles are ideal for use in bathrooms, wet rooms or kitchens as the glaze on the tile makes them waterproof once the joints are grouted, with no need for sealing. They are also incredibly easy to clean, hard wearing and can stand up to things such as high heels, which can sometimes damage real wood.
Wood effect tiles are perfect for replicating the appearance of wood flooring, but they look equally effective when used on walls. They’re not just limited to bathrooms and kitchens either – for a contemporary Scandinavian look why not try creating a wood effect feature wall on your chimney breast, in your dining room, or even behind your bed.
We have a variety of colours, designs and sizes of wood effect tiles to choose from and they can be combined with other tiles to create different looks depending on your taste. For example, teaming our distressed wood effect Kunny range with classic Metro tiles gives a modern industrial look that’s very contemporary, whilst our Niove range offers a more timeless finish in a choice of three wood effect shades, including a light grey which is one of the most popular colours in interiors right now.
There are lots of different layouts you could try with wood effect tiles. To replicate classic wood plank flooring, fix the tiles end to end with each row slightly offset from the previous one. If your room is narrow, for example in a galley kitchen, using the plank tiles horizontally across the width of the room can make it appear wider. For a look that combines traditional and contemporary, fix the tiles in a diagonal herringbone layout on either walls or floors.
Tiles that offer the look of wood with the practical benefits of ceramic and porcelain are incredibly versatile, and are a design trend that looks set to stay. How will you use yours?