Updating the tile in your home is a great way to add a unique visual and worldly punch to your décor as well as boost your home’s market value. From bathroom to kitchen, fireplace and beyond, there are many places in your home where a carefully selected tile can make the difference between humdrum style and creating a “wow” factor for your guests. Of course, with tile being the international style staple that it is, narrowing down your search for the perfect design might be a little easier said than done. If you’ve been searching for a tile to grace your bathroom or kitchen and have so far come up empty handed, it might be time to expand your horizons by exploring some of the styles made popular in foreign lands. It should be noted that the following list is by no means exhaustive; in fact, to keep things moving, we’ll examine a few of the most popular from each corner of the globe.
European Styles: Everyone knows that European style is the crème de la crème, but this continent is so jam-packed with such varying cultures and styles that choosing one to emulate can be very difficult.
French Tiles: When you think of French style, your thoughts may not turn immediately to the use of a hydraulic press; however, France has become widely known for producing what’s known as cement encaustic tile using, you guessed it, a hydraulic press. This manufacturing technique produces some truly beautiful, modern tiles that are as durable as they are visually striking.
Dutch Tiles: While traditional Dutch tiles do not employ as many colors as some of the other tile options on this list, they are nonetheless a truly beautiful and iconic option. Featuring a subtle color palette of soft blues and white, Dutch tiles are a testament to the success of Dutch potters who popularized Delft Earthenware.
Italian Tiles: Italy is often renowned for producing quality goods, and their tiles are often considered to be a cut above the rest. Reminiscent of the Roman Empire, Italian tile features a blend of shape and style the likes of which there is no comparison.
Portuguese Tiles: Portuguese tiles are made from tin-glazed ceramic and feature a style that harkens back to the thirteenth century. Widely known to include blue and white tones as well as yellows and greens, they’re also known to include geometric shapes as well as imagery.
India and the Middle East
Indian Tiles: Anyone familiar with Indian culture knows that colour plays a very important role.It should thus come as no surprise that Indian tiles weave a beautifully generous palette of colours into their intricate floral and mosaic designs. If you’re looking to be inspired by your tile selection, look no further than Indian tiles since these were amongst the first used as a way to decorate and bring elegance to a space.
Persian Tiles: Though perhaps not the first culture to use mosaic tiles, Persian artisans have long since perfected mosaic tiles. Homeowners looking to include mosaic tiles featuring highly intricate geometric patterns and bright colours should definitely seek out Persian tiles for their space.
Mexican Tiles: Made of high-quality clay, Talavera tiles stand out above the competition, and can be found on walls and floors throughout Mexico. Beautifully painted with elaborate designs, these tiles have traditionally been manufactured with a slightly concave shape, a feature that only enhances their uniqueness. These tiles also serve as a living history of Mexico, as their style is heavily influenced by the Spanish pottery produced during the European colonization of the country.
American Tiles: The most contemporary of the group, American-style tile emerged from the tile style made popular by the New York City subway system. What they lack in history they more than make up in versatility— subway tiles are quickly becoming the tile style of choice in many modern homes. Simply designed with clean lines, these tiles come in an array of different colours from traditional to pink, purple and beyond. A large palette of colours notwithstanding, simple white tiles continue to dominate this style.
Turkish Tiles: If you’re looking for something a little more elaborate and historically significant, Turkish ceramics are a fine option. Crafted using some of the oldest techniques in the world, Turkish tiles were a design staple that adorned everything from mosques, palaces and even tombs. These tiles are very ornate, beautifully painted, come in all sorts of geometric shapes and use a wide palette of colours. Given their historical value and their unmatched beauty, it’s no wonder that so many homeowners turn to Turkish tiles to create visual impact in their spaces.
Japanese Tiles: Though many of the design options that have emerged from Japan are centuries old, it’s the tiles that were first produced during the country’s Art Nouveau movement of the nineteenth century that are the most sought after. When considering Japanese inspired tiles, expect to encounter bold colours such as turquoise, reds, greens and even pinks.
With so many tile designs and ideas from all over the world, choosing a style to use can be daunting. The most important thing to remember is that it should complement your home’s aesthetic and should be a style that you like. If you need help looking for that perfect look, call your local tile supplier who can help you find the best look for your home.