If you’re a fan of patterned tile that draws the eye, this is your lucky year! One of the emerging design trends for 2016 is colorful, cool encaustic tile. This type of varied, kaleidoscopic ceramic tile used for flooring or backsplashes is made from a multicolored clay design inlaid on a background color. While the majority of these tiles are two tone, the design process that produces an encaustic allows for as many as six colors.
The intricate pattern of the clay is formed first by a die that resembles a cookie cutter, which gets filled by a mixture of natural pigments, Portland cement, and marble dust. In the second step of the tile-making process, the background mixture of solid grey concrete is poured around the finished inlay pattern to form a square.
Encaustic tiles aren’t a new trend – they’ve been used for centuries and were referred to as “inlaid” tiles during the medieval period. They were primarily used in religious settings to adorn ornate churches, and then moved into decorating palatial homes. They enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in America in the late 1800s, but fell out of use in new construction after the Great Depression. Some New York City brownstones still have these type of tiles in the entryway or foyer! Encaustic tiles can be found all over the world, but were most plentiful in England, where the greatest number of the tiles were produced. The tiles are known for their longevity – because the design is ¼ inch thick, the tiles will last for years without wearing down. The below medieval tiles are from Cleeve Abbey in England.
The encaustic tile of 2016 comes in a range of styles and prices. Because of they way they’re made, the tiles are quite heavy – the average 8×8 inch tile can weigh in around three pounds. Many are made by designers who produce them in small batches or by custom order, which can add to the price, but their widening popularity means it’s getting more and more likely your local tile or flooring store has a selection, or can order them for you.
The possibilities for decorating with encaustic tiles are endless, and with so many varieties and styles, will fit with any design scheme! Below, this modern, southwestern take on a zig zag pattern works for living room, kitchen, or foyer.
Don’t limit your imagination to the indoors. Outdoor spaces like the veranda below receive just the right pop of color with these blue patterned tiles. Encaustics are great for spaces that have neutral walls with muted design schemes, so the tiles can really shine!
When it comes to bathrooms, larger encaustic tiles featuring wide patterns can make a small space look bigger, like in this vintage Spanish inspired room featured on House Nerd.
As you can see, encaustics aren’t just a fad – they’ve been around for centuries, and their timeless beauty will improve the look, and value, of any home. So why not choose encaustics in your next renovation project?
Every Massachusetts exterior painting and interior painting project is different, and unlike other MA interior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Need help choosing paint colors? We can do that with an expert eye. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843