Ceramic tiles have been handmade and painted for thousands of years with the first examples of these luscious tiles present in Egypt and dating back as far as 4000BC. Tiles were also used by the Ancient Greeks, Assyrians and Babylonians to decorate sacred sites and temples with simpler designs also present in the Ancient Greek homes of wealthier citizens. The use of tiles didn’t become popular in Europe until the Middle Ages, when they first took off in Spain and eventually spread all across Europe. Being a costly material to create and purchase, they were once again most commonly used in the homes of the wealthy while also being used as a decorative feature in buildings of faith and royalty.
Over the years, the process of creating these stunning tiles has remained the same, with Artisans respecting the traditional tile-making techniques of the past to create a truly authentic finish that can be used in a wide variety of applications. Both classical styles and more modern or contemporary designs continue to be immensely popular in both residential and commercial projects with unique and exciting options available in each category to help you create the perfect design scheme in your project.
Classic Ceramic Styles
Classic ceramic tiles are handmade using a combination of natural clay, sand and water. The tiles are shaped and then baked in a kiln to create a dense and dry product. Any glazes are usually applied prior to the baking process, creating a surface finish that will be impervious to moisture and thus protecting the body of the tile from damage. These glazed tiles can be used in wet areas (such as the bathroom for example) and are usually best suited for wall application due their slippery glazed finish, making them an excellent choice as a feature wall in the home.
Unglazed ceramic tiles on the other hand, do not include this protective layer making them a porous material that will require sealing in order to protect it from staining or water damage. Unglazed ceramic tiles can be used as a floor finish as they will usually offer more grip than their glossier glazed counterparts, making them ideal for covered outdoor patios or verandahs, creating a stunning feature thanks to their bold and dynamic colouring.
Caption: Classic or traditional handmade ceramic tiles often feature a sleek glaze to protect the tile itself from water and staining. Glazed tiles will not require sealing as the glaze itself acts as a protective barrier. Classic designs as shown in this example tend to use ornate patterns and bright colours that often hold cultural significance depending on their country of origin.
Classic ceramic tile patterns range from ornate and intricate designs using bold and bright colours to simple monochromatic geometric styles. These designs can often have cultural significance depending on their origin with different styles holding deep symbolic meaning. These styles offer the perfect choice for period style homes and can be used as a feature element in just about any space, from the bathroom to the kitchen, creating a bright and vivid burst of colour and pattern in your design project.
Contemporary Ceramic Tiles
Modern or contemporary ceramic tiles are still made using the same traditional techniques, allowing for a completely unique and personal touch in any design project that can only be achieved with the use of a handmade product. Aside from recreating classic designs, modern styles also include a range of new and exciting shapes, colours and patterns to enable the creation of many different looks in your next project.
As with all handmade products, you can expect a higher purchase price so this factor may not always be within reach for specific projects. Contemporary designs include a range of more cost effective options that will offer the unique look of a handmade product at a lower cost with products being machine made to offer the look of a hand crafted tile without the price tag.
Caption: Many collections of contemporary ceramic tiles are specifically designed to look as if they are handmade, featuring all the organic lines and soft textures of a hand crafted product. These modern designs offer a stunning reinterpretation of classic styles such as these elongated subway tiles that create the perfect modern look in any design.
Contemporary styled ceramic tiles offer a vast range of options to choose from, including simple square and rectangular shapes to more ornate designs such as the fish scale or paddle design. They can even include decorative etchings to recreate the look of traditional materials such as pressed tin panels while offering a more cost effective and low maintenance alternative for your project. Three dimensional effects can also be achieved using modern tile designs with the surface featuring raised areas to form a unique pattern that can be especially effective when paired with feature lighting that will accentuate the light and shadows of the tile’s surface, making for a truly show stopping feature wall.
Caption: Effortlessly combining classical stylings with a more contemporary colour palette and modern design, ceramic tiles can also be used to recreate the look of a pressed tin panel. These tiles can be used to create a stunning feature wall or kitchen splashback while eliminating the need for additional care and powder coating required to protect against rusting, as is the case with a traditional pressed tin feature panel.
You will find a vast range of incredible options available when it comes to selecting ceramic tiles, from classical styles that feature traditional patterns and colours to more contemporary options that not only revisit favourite designs from the past but also offer new and exciting variations and options in a myriad of different shapes and colours to create the perfect look in your next design project. Ceramic tiles offer an excellent low maintenance finish for any project and with so many exciting and stylish options to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect fit for your needs, budget and unique style.