With our climate becoming ever more erratic, fashions in interior design are changing in accordance and this has led to an increased use of ceramic tiles. Both floor tiles and wall tiles are fired in ever increasing quantities for use in all rooms of the house. In the UK, they are mainly used for the bathroom, wet room, kitchen or utility room. This is because they are practical and probably offer the best protection against the amount of water that is likely to be around.
The UK are very hot on their interior design and home interiors are beginning to settle at two ends of a very large scale. On the one hand, we have a group of people hankering after the traditional, reverting back to country style interiors that are full of muted colours, warmth, fabrics and traditionally patterned ceramic tiles.
Many old kitchens would have a chequer-board pattern of floor tiles in natural tones which would have been set when the house was constructed and never altered, covered or changed in any way. The floors of old houses were made for a purpose and had to be practical, comfort and looks were of secondary concern yet people now want to go back to those ideals.
At the other end of the scale, we have the ultra modern fashionistas whose homes are nothing short of sleek, minimalist, in fact quite clinical in appearance. Yet, this suits the hectic lifestyle that goes with many of today’s younger people. Life is a constant round of work, kids and socialising that leaves little time for the maintenance of a fussy home.
To this end, kitchens and bathrooms are often covered with floor tiles and wall tiles to ensure every surface is smooth and easy to keep clean. Of course, this doesn’t mean they can’t be trendy. Stark blacks and whites in ceramic tiles are a hot favourite and will often be mixed for a dramatic effect. These tiles can now be made from glass, marble, stone or many other natural materials and come in every possible colour from the spectrum that you could ever dream of.
For those who are looking for something in between the two poles, ceramic tiles are still a very good idea. With the era of digital printing, ceramic tiles have been given a totally different lease of life. They are now available with patterns that hark back to days gone by – Victorian leaf patterns or swirls reminiscent of more ‘flowery’ interiors, yet all with the wipe-clean practical surface that we have come to love. These patterned tiles are rarely much more expensive than the plain ones because the printing on of the patterns is relatively easy compared with the different painting and firing that was needed to get colour and pattern into original tiles.
Of course, in the Mediterranean countries, ceramic tiles are a god send. They are used as floor tiles in all rooms of the house and do an excellent job of keeping the rooms cool. Ceramic floor tiles are used in lounges and bedrooms as well as wet rooms to ensure a cool surface beneath the feet. However, once warm in the winter, they are also pretty good at holding their heat.
So, it would seem, there is a style of tile and a possible application for every home, wherever it may be and whatever interior design you may favour.