Home Styling – Versatile underfoot

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Choosing tiled flooring can have major design benefits, but there are decisions to get right. Here Jo Oliver of Stone & Ceramic Warehouse provides the robust case for porcelain

Flooring serves as the foundation for your interior design and can ultimately impact its overall success. It is likely to be the largest surface area in a property and so its selection is important in terms of both functionality and design. There are hundreds of hard flooring materials available in a wide choice of finishes – each with their own aesthetic qualities.

Porcelain tiles are manufactured in a wide range of realistic finishes, including marble, natural limestone, wood and concrete. They are also available in a variety of sizes; from traditional wooden planks to contemporary large-format slab tiles, they offer homeowners huge scope in terms of interior design. Thanks to advances in technology, digital printing has allowed porcelain tiles to be produced with a ‘natural’ variation from tile to tile making it possible to achieve the look you want with all the practical benefits of a hard-wearing material.

Laying the same style of flooring throughout a property will make the overall space appear much larger while creating a well-designed cohesive feel. Different finishes can also be selected to help define different areas. For example, a stone effect porcelain works beautifully from an entrance hall leading into a kitchen and dining area, and can be easily combined with another finish such as a wood effect in a living room. This will create clearly defined areas that work in unison with one another.

TILE TYPES

Wood effect porcelain floor tiles create a warm and welcoming feel and are suitable for both contemporary and traditional-style properties. We find that customers looking for wood effect tiles tend to choose warmer more realistic looking shades, rather than the cooler greys. This means they can achieve the look of real wood but with the practical scratch and stain proof benefits of porcelain. Wider and long planks are a popular choice as they make a room feel very spacious, for example long planks all laid pointing towards bi-fold doors will lead the eye outside and accentuate the room size. Alternatively, if laid across a narrow room they will make it feel wider, rather than long and thin. Herringbone and chevron tiles are on trend currently, and can be a great alternative to a patterned tile floor.

Large format porcelain slab tiles can achieve a practical and sleek look. Using oversized tiles in a small room or an open plan space tricks the eye into thinking that the area is much bigger than it really is, so can help to create a sense of scale. Thanks to their large surface area and fewer grout lines, using large-format tiles also results in a continuous, uninterrupted finish – a look that is proving very popular with homeowners. In a bathroom, choosing light coloured tiles such as a marble or pale stone effect will create a high-end look while enhancing the feeling of space as they reflect more light than darker colours.

Porcelain slabs have proved a popular choice for floors and walls over the last few years and we have seen an increasing number of clients using porcelain to create a seamless look in their kitchens and bathrooms. Using the same tiles on the walls, floor and even countertop will make the room appear much larger. It is also worth noting that the 12 mm & 20 mm porcelain need not be limited to kitchen worktops – it can also be used to great effect on tabletops, bathroom vanity units, and bath surrounds.

Pattered floor tiles are perfect for making a design statement, and choosing the right colour, pattern and style of floor tile for your space is important when making your selection. Traditional designs often feature muted tones with classic patterns that can create a nostalgic, vintage style feel. For more modern spaces, there are many contemporary designs available ranging from simple monochrome patterns to more eye-catching, colourful options. The key to pulling off this look is to let the tiles be the focus of the room. We’d recommend furnishing the rest of the space with complementary pieces and lighting to create a look that is full of character and artistic flair.

Often only thought of as internal tiles, porcelain can be used outside too. Bringing the outside in creates a feeling of space and works from a functional viewpoint for summer entertaining. Tiles are a great way to achieve a seamless link between the two spaces; laying a continuous floor that flows from the home into the garden will make the whole area feel much larger, even when the doors are closed. Porcelain fl oor tiles and pavers are ideal for this. Not only are they easy to maintain, but they are also very hard wearing and don’t stain.

Jo Oliver is director at Stone & Ceramic Warehouse