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Burnt earth – sometimes woody, sometimes rocky, but always decorative

© Villeroy & Boch
© Villeroy & Boch

The tile is one of the oldest building and decoration elements. However, in recent decades it has gained a reputation for being cold or outmoded. Not anymore. With increasing variance in tile size and design, it is increasingly becoming the favourite of interior designers. With modern tiles they know how to use them to create both a warm country house style with wooden-look floor tiles and exclusive wall decorations in high glass, brick, and metal look. There are hardly any limits to the ideas of tile designers. There are ceramics with concrete and cement look for spacious lofts or outdoors, and tiles with a leather or textile impression, but not a wallpaper look, are suitable for extravagant wall design.

Tiles, with a market share of ten to twelve percent, are once again successfully competing with floor coverings like parquet, carpet or linoleum. While the tile in the bathroom increasingly retreats to core areas like the shower and leaves the walls to plaster, paint or wallpaper, and the floor is even sometimes covered with wood, it is clearly on the advance in the classic living area. Tiles with a wood look are often chosen for the kitchen and living room. Thanks to XXL sizes of up to 1.20 metre in edge length and authentic looking surfaces, these bring warmth and peace to the space. Current interior design styles like the vintage style can be combined exceptionally well with wood-look tiles. The advantages of tiles are obvious: besides easy cleaning, it is primarily their high degree of heat conductivity that is appreciated, which is why they are ideally suited for rooms with floor heating.

© Florim Ceramiche Spa
© Florim Ceramiche Spa

The offering of tile manufacturers is in the meantime so diverse and differentiated that prominent interior decorators recommend assigning priority to the overall impression of the room, and not to first select the furniture, fitments or sanitation objects. The supreme principle: less is more. This is because the tile industry is bursting with colours, 3D effects and decors, thanks to the most modern decoration techniques. Especially in the house and apartment, timelessness is of central importance.

In the urban interior design defined by the hectic urban context, it is primarily purism that is popular, because it radiates a great deal of peace. Derived from the loft culture, the rooms are becoming more spacious. The separation between living areas, kitchens and even bathrooms is dissolving. The formal language of furnishing elements is clear and straightforward. Decorating is usually economical and very conscious. White, black and grey are the preferred colours. The new trend toward the concrete look also suits this colour world.

© VIA
© VIA

If it doesn’t absolutely have to be burnt earth, there is also a complete series of alternatives available on the market that offer various, even mineral and metallic surfaces on mounting plates. One variant of tiles in concrete look is offered, for example, by aged exposed concrete areas of composite plates or in structured layers of modular tiles and planks in many authentic wood-look surfaces.

The trend toward tiles inspired by natural stone is being promoted by increasingly realistic looking veins, which is making a differentiation between tile and natural stones like granite, limestone or even marble increasingly difficult. While the trend for tiles with a natural stone look is sustained, the wealth of new patterns and pronounced decors speaks in favour of a new trend: more colour and especially more patterned. Many new collections are inspired by the traditional cement tiles of the Mediterranean region with their geometrical forms and cheerful colours. They are also realized in black and white or grey tones for modern living environments. Decorative tiles with floral or even severely graphic elements interpret classical styles in a modern way, thereby enabling original laying solutions that are reminiscent of rugs or paintings of past eras with their ornamentation.