A Complete Guide to Tiles
Tiles are a fantastic way of updating the spaces throughout your home. They're long lasting, stylish, easy to install and easy to clean! Here's a complete guide, with everything you could ever need to know...
Traditionally, tiles have been limited to use in areas that get wet from time to time, such as the kitchen and bathroom, but this just isn't the case anymore.
Thanks to huge advancements in printing technology over the last few years (especially the introduction of gorgeous colourful patterned designs, realistic wood effects, and lifelike stone effects), tiles are now a perfectly acceptable choice for any area in the home and garden.
Whether you're refreshing a living room, hallway, dining area, bedroom, or even garden, you'll find the perfect design for the job!
Which tiles should I choose?
There are thousands of different designs, and mostly, you can choose whichever ones you want to create a look that's tailored to your own personal style. Depending on the room you're decorating, there are some things to look out for...
The bathroom is the space where we lock ourselves away at the end of a long day - our own personal sanctuary, where we can relax and unwind, and wash away any stresses or worries. Wood effect and stone effect designs are popular in a bathroom space, because they help to promote a soothing natural scheme. Having said that, metro bricks on the walls with pattern designs on the floor is also a bestselling combo.
If you're tiling a bathroom floor, it's worth noting that not all tiles have an anti slip surface. This doesn't mean they can't be used in the bathroom, because when you're stepping in and out of the bath or shower, you can pop a towel or bath mat down to help dry your feet before stepping onto the flooring. We always recommend ordering a sample tile to make sure you're happy that it's suitable for your requirements.
On the bathroom walls, you can pretty much choose what you like, but when it comes to the shower enclosure, where water is directly hitting the tiles, avoid natural slate split face tiles and mirror tiles.
Here's a closer look at tile ideas for this room: Bathroom tiles.
Often called the social hub of the home, the kitchen is a space of work and play where we cook up meals, share conversations over breakfast, and catch up with friends over coffee or wine. So it's important to keep the space looking fresh and stylish.
Splashbacks are the most common type of wall decoration in kitchen spaces. These are easily wipeable surfaces that stand behind any worktops, sinks or cookers. Tiles make for fantastic splashbacks - everything from brick shaped metros, through to patterned and mosaic designs.
On the floors, you can go for any design you like the look of. But if you've got a busy family home with pets and toddlers, it's a good idea to go for ceramic and porcelain options as they're more durable and scratch resistant.
For the latest looks and trends for the social hub of the home, click here: Kitchen tiles and ideas.
The hallway is often the first area that greets us when we arrive home (and the space that gives our guests their first impression of our humble abode). An increasingly popular hallway trend is the idea of creating a charming period look.
Victorian Quarry and Encaustic Effect Tiles are perfect for achieving this. They're also fairly hardy, which is pretty important for a busy hallway with lots of action.
We've created a guide to tiling the hallway, complete with tile trends: Hallway tiles and ideas.
The place where we rest our heads after a tiring a day - but also a place for breakfast in bed and lazy lay-ins at the weekends - the bedroom is a very personable space that should reflect our personalities.
There's no practical functions to consider, so you have some creative license when it comes to tiling the bedroom. Want a mosaic headboard? No problem! Fancy a chevron floor? Go for it! Want a split face feature wall? Be our guest! Fancy experimenting with hexagons for a honeycomb look? Go right ahead.
We've compiled a blog full of fab ideas for this sleepy space. Click here to give it a read: Bedroom tiles and ideas.
Above: Caramel Varnished Chevron
Dining room tiles
Whether we're tucking into dinner, talking over wine, or playing party games, the dining room is a wonderfully sociable space and, as such, it deserves to be given a stylish refresh as much as the rest of the house.
Feature walls are a great way of rejuvenating a dining area. Split face mosaics, hexagons, pattern tiles and mosaics are all popular ways of achieving one.
On the floors, use hard-wearing options, such as porcelain and ceramic, due to all the chair legs being dragged around. You want to avoid scratching. Stone effect, wood effect and pattern designs are all good choices.
For more tips and ideas, click here: Dining Room Tiles
Above: Galena Pattern
Living area tiles
Another highly social space - whether watching TV or films with the family in the evenings, or lounging around chatting with guests, the living room is an area we simply must keep looking smart and ready for action.
Again, feature walls work well in living areas. Think metro bricks, mosaics, textured split face mosaics, and patterned designs.
On the floors, if we're talking about a busy family home with pets and toddlers, it's probably a good idea to go for ceramic and porcelain tiles, which are nice and durable. But, if you've got a quieter household, natural stones are a beautiful choose for a living room floor.
For lots more ideas and advice around tiles in the living room, click here: Living Area Tiles.
If it's a fireplace you're decorating, go for ceramic, porcelain or Victorian quarry tiles, as these are highly heat resistant. Just make sure you use a heat resistant tile adhesive, otherwise they might come unstuck.
For lots of stylish ideas and tiling tips for your fireplace or wood burner, click here: Fireplace Tiles.
Wet room tiles
Wet rooms have never been so popular. If you're unsure what a wet room is, it's essentially a water proof bathroom, where the entire floor slopes towards a drain. So you can splash in the bath as much as you want, you can shower without a screen or tray, and you can run the tap on full blast when you're brushing your teeth!
Similarly to the bathroom, natural schemes tend to be popular in wet rooms. Think slate effect and marble effect designs.
In a wet room, you'll be standing on the tiles whilst you're showering. Therefore, the tiles you use on a wet room floor will need to have that extra bit of grip. Not to worry - there are lots of stylish anti slip designs to choose from. Ideally, go for a tile with an anti slip grade of R10 or more.
For those wall spaces, choose whichever designs you like, but avoid using mirrors or natural slate split face mosaics by the shower, where the water can hit them directly.
For more tiling ideas and tips, click here: Wet room tiles.
Above: Ador Marble Effect
If you're tackling a garden project, then we'd recommend using porcelain - particularly here in the UK, where we're prone to frosts in the wintertime. Ceramic can craze if exposed to frost, whereas porcelain is far hardier.
On the ground, if you're creating a garden path, try Victorian-look designs for that charming period kerb appeal! Alternatively, if it's a patio area you're creating, where you can lap up the sun with your friends, anti slip wood effects or concrete effects are a great option.
For those exterior wall spaces, how about a split face effect look? These textured tiles will instantly bring a wall to life.
For our complete guide of ideas and tips for tiling an outdoor space, click here: Outdoor Tiles.
Above: Planate Outdoor Slabs
Interior fashions change across time and tile trends adapt and evolve. Here at Walls and Floors, we have a dedicated team of buyers and designers who do hundreds of hours of research and travel the world's expos, to make sure our offering is up to date with the latest tile trends!
For a trend report click here: Tile trends.
Wall tiles: What's popular?
When it comes to popular wall tile styles, it usually comes back to classic brick and metro tiles, which is a timeless look. There are hundreds of colours and finishes, but flat matt bricks tend to be all over Instagram right now.
Traditional plain coloured square tiles have come back into style, too - but with one major new addition - a contrasting grout line! For example, if you were to use a white square tile, you'd use a dark grout, such as anthracite or black, to really make the tiles pop!
Hexagon tiles are another popular choice for wall tiles. They make for a fantastic kitchen splashback, or a charming full-wall display in a bathroom.
Above: Matt Hexagon Mosaics
A popular option for covering wall spaces since the Roman times, mosaic tiles are another favoured way of injecting some style into an interior area. There are so many to choose from - square, hexagonal, circular - ceramic, glass, metal - and they come on a mesh backing, so they're really easy to install.
If you love a really interesting, textured surface, but you're also a fan of the natural look, then you should consider inviting split face tiles into your home. They consist of strips of natural slate that are cut to different lengths and thicknesses, and fixed together to create a staggered, multi-levelled surface.
Large format options are another major trend for walls. Using larger designs on a wall helps to make the space feel roomier.
For our full selection of wall options, click here: Wall tiles.
Floor tiles: What's popular?
If you're tiling a floor area in your home, and you'd like to know what's popular, then we need to start with wood effects!
As we mentioned earlier, natural stone designs add a really nice, luxurious finish into a room. However, the price-tag and the maintenance isn't for everybody - that's where stone effect tiles come in handy! There are tonnes of extremely lifelike stone effect designs to choose from for your floor spaces.
Above: Reclaimed Wood Effect
Thanks to advancements in HD printing, wood effect tiles are more lifelike than ever before, and they're often even scored and grooved to give a woody texture. There are hundreds of shapes and colours to choose from; from planks of various lengths, through to intricate parquet effect designs.
Earlier on, we touched briefly on the marble trend, and how it's so popular thanks to its beautiful veining. Marble effect tiles are collectively the most popular imitation stone, and we have plenty of varieties: Black. White. Brown. Gold veining. Plank shaped. Hexagonal. Start exploring the selection today.
Patterned designs are also a major flooring trend! It started a few years back with colourful Moroccan and Mediterranean patchworks. Now, the pattern trend has shifted slightly to period and vintage influences - such as encaustic effect designs. Explore our variety of pattern tiles, and create an eye-catching statement floor in your home.
Thanks to the popular industrial trend, where elements and themes from factory and warehouse spaces have been welcomed into domestic settings, concrete effect tiles are also an incredibly sought after flooring option. Looking just like a concrete floor, they make for a perfect industrial base for your scheme.
For thousands of stylish flooring options, try our floor tiles collection.
Speak to a Personal Tile Stylist
If this guide hasn't helped you find what you're looking for, why not get some suggestions over the phone, from one of our experts? We're happy to give you a free consultation! Click here to call or book
The Tile Finder
If you'd rather not speak to someone on the phone, then why not try our handy online Tile Finder tool? In 3 easy steps, it'll serve up some fabulous suggestions for your tiling project, which we're sure you'll love! Click here to try it.
Above: Nyans Indigo Wood Effect
Should I do the tiling myself, or hire a professional?
It's completely up to you if you tackle the tiling project yourself, or if you bring in a professional tiler to undertake the job...
Hiring a tiler
If you're not a confident DIYer, then you should probably contact a tiler to do the work for you. Here's how to hire a professional tradesperson.
DIY tiling: How to tile
On the other hand, if you're a natural born DIYer, then you may as well give tiling a go, and you could always start with a room that will be lesser-seen, such as a water closet; a testing ground.
Above: Oak Suar Wood Effect
Tiles can be made from a variety of different materials, which potentially might be a bit confusing if you're a first time tile buyer. Here, we'll give you a brief low-down on each tile type...
What's the difference between ceramic and porcelain?
The two most common tile materials are ceramic and porcelain. But what's the difference between them?
Well, they're both made from clay and are fired in a kiln. However, the clay used to make porcelain is more purified and refined, and it's fired with higher pressure at a greater temperature, which results in a much denser and hardier material than ceramic.
Porcelain is frost proof, whereas ceramic isn't - so if you're tiling an outdoor space in the UK, where we often get frosts throughout the winter, it's definitely advisable to use porcelain over ceramic.
Above: Hoxley Pistachio
Most wall options are made from ceramic, such as classic metro designs. Lately, though, more durable ceramic floor options are being released.
It's a very popular material among tile manufacturers, and it's used in thousands of designs; from bricks and traditional squares on walls, through to stone effects, patterns and wood effects for floors. In domestic settings, it's pretty much okay for use throughout the house.
Click here to explore our selection: Ceramic Tiles
Generally regarded as the hardiest material in the tiling world, and frost proof (which makes it ideal for use outdoors in the UK), porcelain is the main material used for manufacturing floor tiles.
It's scratch resistant, long lasting, and comes in an incredible multitude of styles; from hexagons and wood look planks, through to marble effects and mosaics.
Click here to browse the collection: Porcelain Tiles.
Above: Titanic Wave Alabaster
Synonymous with luxury, natural stone is perfect for injecting some high-end style into a home. It tends to cost a little more than its ceramic and porcelain imitations, and it often requires sealing, but there really is nothing quite like having a room that is tiled with natural stone.
Why? Because it's a look that is completely unique to your home - every single tile is completely unique in its riven surface, its veining, or its mottle. There is no other tile identical to it, anywhere else in the world; its bespoke to your home.
Various types of natural stone are used in the tile industry, but marble tiles are by far the biggest trend currently; thanks to their gorgeous veining. Largely sourced from the world-renowned quarries of Italy and Spain, natural marble designs are taking the world of interior design by storm; appearing in luxury homes, and the trendiest restaurants and hotels.
Slate tiles are also a popular natural stone option. They've often alive with a beautiful riven surface! Common colourways include grey and a rustic mix of reds and browns.
One of the least common materials in the tiling industry, glass is used solely for wall options, due to its tender nature.
The benefits of using glass is that it offers a luxury finish, and it's also very easy to wipe clean. It also has green credentials, in that glass bottles etc can be recycled into tiles. In fact, we have a few mosaic ranges that are made from 98% recycled glass.
For our full selection, click here: Glass tiles.
The perfect floor option for a traditionalist, quarry designs are often referred to as 'baked earth'. They're typically red or brown in colour, which makes them perfect for create a warm rustic look in your home.
Quarry designs are ideal for introducing the popular farmhouse look into a bathroom, kitchen or hallway, due to their pared-back, earthy, rural vibe!
To check out our selection, click here: Quarry Tiles.
Above: Aragon Red Quarry
That concludes our guide! Click here to browse our huge selection.