Living Etc - - DESIGN / PROJECT -

Claire O’brien, head of de­sign at Bri­tish Ce­ramic Tile, ex­plores the po­ten­tial of pat­terned tiles

* Play­ful place­ments and quirky com­bi­na­tions of pat­tern are on the hori­zon – it’s not about the mo­tif it­self, but how you use it, and you don’t have to stick with one de­sign. Mix­ing tiles can have a re­ally unique ef­fect – for ex­am­ple, geo­met­ric tiles along­side dra­matic stone ef­fects, but housed within a sim­i­lar colour pal­ette.

* Clever zon­ing is para­mount. Wall-to-floor pat­tern in a wet room is stun­ning, but an area of calm is also needed. Go for a small fea­ture area of pat­tern on the wall, then con­tinue across the full ex­panse of the floor. If you lust after an in­tri­cately pat­terned floor, com­ple­ment the look with plain wall tiles. The

im­pact can be lost if ev­ery sur­face is cov­ered in pat­terned tiles.

* Em­brace your cre­ativ­ity to give fa­mil­iar looks a new lease of life, us­ing plain tiles in dif­fer­ent shades to build your own de­signs. Riff on a che­quered pat­tern by dif­fus­ing down from a black tile through to grey and then off white.

* Glass inkjet is the next print­ing tech­nique. New tech­nol­ogy now al­lows man­u­fac­tur­ers to add printed pat­terns to glass tiles and splash­backs. Ex­pect to see some in­ter­est­ing glass de­signs very soon.

* Use grout to add a colour pop. Not only does it en­hance the shape of the tiles, it’s also a cost-ef­fec­tive way to trans­form a plain pat­tern. Me­tal­lic grouts are very much of the mo­ment.

* Tex­tured fin­ishes on tiles are key. Whether matt or gloss, they add depth for max­i­mum im­pact. Think raised prints,

stone and brick ef­fects, tiles with wave de­signs and gen­tle un­du­lat­ing rip­ples. Sur­faces that were tra­di­tion­ally smooth are now tex­tured for vis­ual in­trigue with a tac­tile qual­ity.

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